EMERGENCY SHOWER SYSTEM
An emergency shower system for attachment to a water pipe located behind a wall and a valve mounted to the pipe. The system includes a frame mounted to the wall around the valve, a panel connected to the frame for covering an opening in the wall to expose the valve, the panel having an opening, a plate mounted to the panel to close the panel opening and a handle mounted to the plate. The system also includes a linkage pivotally connected to the plate and to the valve, such that vertical movement of the handle and plate are translated to rotational movement by the linkage so as to operate the valve. There are no openings apparent in the front of the shower system. The handle only moves vertically and at a constant distance of about one and a half inches from the wall. An eye/face wash station may be included with the shower. The eye/face wash station includes a pull down tray with two spray nozzles. The nozzles are connected to another valve which is opened by the rotation of the pull down tray.
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/278,603, filed Apr. 4, 2006, which is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/777,924, filed Feb. 11, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,082,627, issued Aug. 1, 2006, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an emergency shower system and more particularly, to an emergency shower system that is easy to operate and to safely integrate into an appropriate environment, such as a laboratory, a school or a municipal, commercial or industrial facility.
2. Description of the Related Art
Emergency showers are often used in industry, laboratory and academic environments where researchers, students and workers may be exposed to hazardous materials and/or conditions.
It is important that such emergency showers be easily operated in an emergency situation, where for example, a user may not have use of his/her eyes. The showers must also operate effectively once activated even though they may be seldom used. Further, the shower mechanism must be designed with safety in mind so that there is little likelihood that the structural components of the shower will cause injury at any time and, particularly, during usage.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,768,721 illustrates an example of an existing emergency shower. The patent discloses an emergency shower installed in a recessed area in a wall behind which water pipes are located. A valve mounted to the water pipes is operated by a pivoting handle. The installation covers most but not all of the wall recess into which the shower control mechanism is mounted. The handle is required to move along a path and this necessitates a slot. This slot provides an opening into the recess where the handle mechanism operates and through which water may enter. This water may collect in the recess and behind the wall so that, over a period of time, the collected water may cause damage to the fascia and other structural components of the shower installation and, also, presents a potential for mildew and/or mold problems.
Furthermore, the slot disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,768,721 presents an opening in the front face of the device described there which invites the intentional or unintentional deposit of debris, particularly when the shower device is located in an open environment, such as those presented in a laboratory, a school or a municipal, commercial or industrial facility and the like. Thus, over time, sufficient debris or extraneous objects may be introduced into the recess through the slot opening to prevent complete rotation of the operating handle and, thus, block effective operation of the emergency shower valve during an emergency situation.
Another drawback of a pivoting handle as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,768,721 is that by its nature the handle moves in an arc which is contrary to current safety practices. Furthermore this arced motion varies the distance that the handle extends outwardly from the adjacent wall. This outward movement may interfere with operation of the handle should a stressed or panicked user not recognize that the handle will first move toward him/her and then away when the handle is rotated from a shower-off to a shower-on position.BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The difficulties encountered with previous devices have been overcome by the present invention. What is described here is an emergency shower system which is operable with a fluid delivery apparatus, a shower dispenser connected to the fluid delivery apparatus, a valve connected to the fluid delivery apparatus for controlling the flow of fluid through the fluid delivery apparatus, the system including frame, a panel connected to the frame, the panel having an opening therein, a plate slidably mounted behind the panel for closing the opening in the panel, a handle connected to the plate for moving the plate relative to the covering panel, and a linkage connecting the plate to the valve for operating the shower, the plate and panel covering the linkage and valve.
In a preferred embodiment, the control valve is positioned behind a wall and is accessible through an opening in the wall; the plate is mounted for slidable movement in a substantially linear plane essentially parallel to the wall.
There are a number of advantages, features and objects achieved with the present invention which are believed not to be available in earlier related devices. For example, an object of the present invention is to provide an emergency shower system that is advantageously easy to operate and is safe in its environment after installation. Another object of the present invention is to provide an emergency shower system with an operating handle that extends a minimal distance from an adjoining wall. A further advantage of the present invention is that the emergency shower system has no front facing opening or slot into which water can be introduced that could cause a potential for mildew formation over time.
Another advantage derived from the elimination of the front facing opening or slot in the emergency shower system of the present invention is that no debris can be introduced though the covering panel which could cause interference with movement of the operating handle. In other words, the system mechanism is fully enclosed.
Other features and advantages of the present invention include the provision of an emergency shower system which is simple, reliable and relatively inexpensive.
A complete understanding of the present invention and other objects, advantages and features thereof will be gained from a consideration of the present specification which provides a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using the invention, set forth in such full, clear concise and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same in compliance with Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph). Furthermore, the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings provided herein represents examples of the invention in compliance with Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph), but the invention itself is defined only by the attached claims.
While the present invention is open to various modifications and alternative constructions, the preferred embodiments illustrating the best mode contemplated by the inventors of carrying out their invention are shown in the various figures of the drawing and will be described herein in detail, pursuant to Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph). It is understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular embodiments, forms or examples which are disclosed herein. To the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalent structures and methods, and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims, pursuant to Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (second paragraph).
Referring now to
It is to be understood that the system may also include the valve and shower head. Usually the water pipes are a preexisting part of a building structure. However, the system may include an entire installation including water pipes, a wall and an opening formed in the wall.
The shower head 16 is shown flush with the ceiling 18 although it should be recognized that within the scope of the present invention, the shower dispenser head 16 may extend outwardly from the wall 14 or extend downwardly from the ceiling 18 if so desired. The shower head 16 is directly connected to the water pipes 12.
The pipes extend from a source 34, usually a potable water supply such as a municipal water main, which is brought in from under a building structure and then extended behind the wall 14 to connect to the shower head. Beneath the shower head is a floor 36 which may have an arrangement for a drain (not shown).
The valve 20 is positioned behind the wall and is connected in line with the pipes. The valve is operable to prevent the passage of water when the shower is in an “off” or “closed” mode and allows the passage of water when the shower is in an “on” or “open” mode. Mounted around the valve and adjoining pipes is the frame 22 which is inserted into the opening 24 in the wall 14 and is attached to the wall by any suitable fasteners. The cover panel 26 is mounted to the frame 22 and mounted to the panel is a pictograph 40 illustrating how the handle 30 is to be operated. Beneath the pictograph is a rectangular opening 42 which provides access to the plate 28. The handle 30 allows a user to slide the plate relative to the panel and thereby operate the shower system.
An important feature of the emergency shower system 10 is that there is no opening available to allow the introduction of water or debris through the wall opening which could cause mildew formation or could interfere with the effective functioning of the valve 20 or the linkage 32. The frame 22, the panel 26 and the plate 28 effectively block all access through the wall opening. More particularly, there is no slot or other opening as in the above mentioned patent.
This construction overcomes the serious drawback presented by the handle slot, whereby water or other liquid could enter the recess and present a mildew forming condition or an object or some other form of debris could be stuck into the slot and prevent operation of the emergency shower assembly. As may be best seen in
Referring now to the detail illustrated in
The handle 30 may be attached to the plate 28 in any convenient fashion, such as with the use of fasteners (not shown).
The valve 20 may be of a standard ball type with a stem 80 projecting in an outwardly horizontal direction. A suitable valve is made by Conbraco Industries, Inc. of Matthews, N.C. and sold under the APOLLO brand, Model 70-105-01.
Pivotally mounted to the plate 28 is the linkage 32. The linkage includes a first or front link 82 and an L-shaped or rear link 84. A pair of openings 86, 88 are located at the end portions of the front link 82. The rear link 84 has a vertical arm portion 90 and a horizontal arm portion 92, each with an opening 94, 96 at end portions thereof. The lower opening 88 of the front link 82 allows the front link to be pivotally connected to the plate, which also has an opening 98, with a fastener 100. The upper opening 86 of the front link 82 allows the front link to be pivotally connected to the vertical arm portion 90 of the rear link 84 with a fastener 102 through the opening 94. The horizontal arm portion 92 of the rear link 84 is mounted to the stem 80 of the ball valve by having the stem inserted into the opening 96 and retained there by a fastener 104. It may now be appreciated that vertical movement of the plate causes rotational movement of the ball valve stem by way of the linkage. In this way, a light force on the handle of the plate is magnified by the linkage to rotate the valve stem.
When the handle is in its upper position, the links 82, 84 are shown generally in the position illustrated in
The ball valve is designed so that when the valve stem 80 is horizontally oriented, the valve blocks or closes the pipes to the passage of any water. However, when the valve stem is rotated, a passage is opened through the valve for the water in the pipes to flow to the shower head.
Manipulating the handle 30 is very convenient and requires little force and movement to turn the shower to “on”. There is little friction in the linkage system and the links are long enough to provide sufficient torque to the valve stem 80 so that rotation is simple and easy. It is to be noted that the handle moves parallel to the panel and does not swing outwardly in an arc as is the situation with some shower devices.
The handle is sufficiently large to be easily gripped by a user and extends only about one and a half inches from the wall so that the handle does not interfere with the normal operation of a laboratory or manufacturing plant, such as when someone walks past the wall where the emergency shower system is installed. Hence, the emergency shower system may be mounted in a hallway. It is also noted that the handle and linkage are simple, reliable and relatively inexpensive.
It is to be understood that a fluid other than water may flow through the pipes, or water may be mixed with chemicals, if desired.
In operation of the emergency shower system of the present invention, an individual who, for example, has accidentally encountered an emergency situation such as a hazardous substance spill or leak and the like, immediately goes to the emergency shower system installation and while positioned under the showerhead pulls the shower operating handle downwardly. This short, vertical, downward motion is translated by the linkage to rotational motion so as to rotate the ball valve from a closed position to an open position, thereby allowing water to flow from the source through the pipes to the showerhead. To cause the shower to go from “on” to “off”, a user merely lifts the handle back to its original, upper position.
The above specification describes in detail one preferred embodiment of the present invention. In an alternative preferred embodiment, as illustrated in
In greater detail, the cover panel 126 of the shower station is mounted to the frame 120 by screw fasteners 158 on the right side of the system, and the optional eye/face wash station 138 is mounted to the frame for rotatable movement on the left side of the system. The supply pipe 152 is connected to the valve 150 which is rotated from a closed position to an open position when the tray 140 is rotated from its up, folded position as shown in
Specifically, operation of the eye/face wash station of the emergency shower system is activated by moving the fray from its up position to its down position. During this maneuver of rotating the tray approximately ninety degrees, the valve 150, illustrated as a ball valve, goes from a closed position to an open position where water is delivered to the pair of nozzles 144, 146 which are ideally situated to wash a user's eyes and face and thereby dilute and wash away hazardous chemicals. To turn the water off on the left side of the system, the fray is lifted from the horizontal, down position to the vertical, up position during which the second valve moves from an open position to a closed position.
The plate 128 of the shower system is attached to pivot a front link 160 by a fastener 162 and the front link is pivotally attached to a rear link 164 by a fastener 166. The rear link is attached to a valve stem 168 by a fastener 170. Vertical movement of the plate 128 by a downward pull of the handle 130, rotates the links and opens the valve 124. This causes water to flow in the pipes 122 behind the wall 14 to a shower dispenser head 172 suspended below the ceiling 18.
The above specification describes in detail preferred embodiments of the present invention. Other examples, embodiments, modifications and variations will, under both the literal claim language and the doctrine of equivalents, come within the scope of the invention defined by the appended claims. For example, whether the showerhead is located as shown or flush with the ceiling or the wall or in some other disposition is considered an equivalent as are different handle shapes or dimensions, or shapes and dimensions of the linkage. The type of valve used may be changed to an equivalent structure. The fluid in the pipes may be water, a chemical or a mix of both. Still other alternatives will also be equivalent as will many new technologies. There is no desire or intention here to limit in any way the application of the doctrine of equivalents nor to limit or restrict the scope of the invention.
1. An emergency shower system to be connected to a fluid source, the flow of fluid being controlled by a valve in said system, said system comprising:
- a linkage adapted to be connected to said valve for operating said valve, the linkage comprising a first arm adapted to be connected to said valve for operating said valve, and a second arm pivotally connected at one end to the first arm; and
- a plate having an inner surface and an outer surface, the plate connected to the other end of the second arm such that the plate is a predetermined distance from the valve and for moving said linkage for operating the valve while maintaining the predetermined distance of the plate from the valve during movement.
2. The system as claimed in claim 1 including:
- a handle connected to said plate for moving said plate in a vertical direction; and
- wherein said handle extends away from said outer surface of the plate.
3. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plate, the first arm and the second arm move in respective substantially parallel planes for operating the valve.
International Classification: A47K 3/00 (20060101);