Listen to this article now
Even as the fires in the Amazon captivate the world, Bolivia is now reported to be burning at almost the same extreme level. At the time this article was written, there are currently 1,607 active wildfires in the U.S. alone. The majority of these are along the Pacific coast where California recently experienced its deadliest fire to date. But what if there was a fire blanket that could help stop wildfires? Bridgehill CEO Frank Brubakken is making it his goal to do so.
Bridgehill Fire Blanket
You may have seen videos circulating online about a fire blanket that instantly puts out car fires. This is the Bridgehill Fire Blanket and their combined videos accumulated 35 million views in just three weeks.
Frank Brubakken first came up with the idea for the fire blanket when the historic village of Laerdal, Norway fell prey to a fire in 2014. Laerdal held some of the most well-preserved wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century until they were completely destroyed. In total, more than 20 building were lost, and with them a piece of Norwegian history.
Frank is a building engineer with a long background in real estate development. For many years, he also worked as a national manager for Sand, helping build it into one of the most successful high-end fashion brands in Norway. Determined to find a solution to the wildfire epidemic, Frank took his love of brand innovation to develop a fire blanket with cutting-edge technology.
“I spent 1800 hours on Google and talking on phones with leading companies who deal with fabrics that can handle extreme heats. I finally discovered the answer when speaking with NASA.”Frank Brubakken
Frank had a prototype blanket made that was similar to ones used by NASA for inflatable heat shields in space. After testing the blanket to its limits, he modified the fabric composites to be more resistant towards fire. After new tests where he and his team set fire to 15 houses, Frank received confirmation that the blankets could have saved many buildings from burning in the Laerdal fire. It was then he knew the fire blanket was something he needed to develop further.
Putting Out Car Fires
After creating a fire blanket that blocked 96% of heat, Frank turned his attention to the rising issue of fires in electric vehicles. Typically, these fires are caused by lithium batteries and cannot be safely extinguished with water. Often times, these cars are just left to burn. As a result of his tenacity, Frank studied up by reading everything ever written about lithium and fire since the 1970s.
By developing the fire blanket, Frank discovered not only how to isolate the fire in electric cars, but also a way to extinguish it. What makes Bridgehill so unique is that it’s the first company to do so. The blanket isolates fires in 20 seconds and can withstand up to 1,000 degrees. Frank secured a patent for this technology, making it the only safe way to extinguish fires in electric cars and fork lifts.
With the rise of electric cars on the market, this is particularly significant. According to NPR, in March 60% of new cars in Norway were electric, setting a record high. This is due to the fact that Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and implements incentives for electric cars. Almost all of Norway’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power plants, which is cleaner than electricity powered by coal or natural gas.
With a push for a greener Earth on many people’s minds, it’s only a matter of time before electric cars become ubiquitous worldwide. According to Green Car Reports, the U.S. has the world’s second highest electric car population, China being #1. While Norway appears at #4 on the list, the country is still the largest per capita at 3.3%. As consumers continue purchasing electric vehicles, both they and emergency services need to adopt safer methods in case of fires.
Ending Wildfires and Going International
Earlier this year, Frank Brubakken and his team announced their plans to take the fire blanket internationally. Currently, Bridgehill is represented by distributors in 15 countries, among them being Darley—one of the oldest fire and emergency services in the U.S. Through its distributors, the reusable blanket will be available in places that are not easily accessible to fire trucks, such as warehouses, parking lots, and tunnels.
However, what Frank looks forward to most is launching pop up solutions for wildfires next spring. The Bridgehill team has been testing fire sails for years and, according to Frank, the results have been both impressive and effective. The sails work by creating a barrier around burning parts of a forest to protect the rest from catching fire. With Bridgehill’s proven success blocking fire from spreading in cars and communities, we can hope that they will also prevent wildfire disasters similar to the Amazon in the future.
“It’s highly important to be truly trusted in what we deliver. Whatever we do, we do it the very best way possible. There are no compromises. Being a leading brand with cutting-edge technology is built into Bridgehill’s DNA as a company.”Frank Brubakken
How do you think the Bridgehill Fire Blanket will benefit our future? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.