Water Shuttle Operations

Topic: Water Shuttle Operations Teaching and Learning Domain: Cognitive Time Required: 2 hours Materials: Appropriate visuals and chalkboard or easel pad References: IFSTA Pumping Apparatus Driver/Operator (1st ed.), Chapter 14...

        q. Dump site pumper driver or jet siphon pumper driver monitor level of water in each tank and

            adjust siphon lines accordingly

  26. Dump site officer monitor ground conditions around dump site as operations proceed

        a. Inevitable that significant amount of water spilled in area

        b. During freezing conditions, ice form

        c. If road not paved, may begin to become soft

        d. May be necessary to relocate dump site

  27. If all portable tanks become empty during operation, dump site pumper may continue to support

        fireground operations using water in onboard water tank

        a. When becomes necessary, firefighters in hazardous positions withdrawn as loss of water to

            attack lines imminent

        b. Once portable tanks refilled, normal operations resume

        c. Driver of dump site pumper should refill apparatus water tank as soon as possible

  28. Once need for continuous water supply no longer present, dump site operation disbanded

        a. Before disassembling operation, good idea to make sure that attack apparatus and dump site

           pumper have topped off onboard water tanks

        b. Once apparatus tanks full, all drafting and water transfer equipment disassembled, cleaned, and


       c. Portable tank drains opened to allow remaining water to drain out

       d. If lot of sediment or debris left in tank(s), rinse out before stowing on apparatus

  29. Any tankers staged in preparation for dumping returned to service or used in any manner IC

        deems appropriate



A. For almost as long concept of using apparatus with large tanks to supply water for fire fighting been around, so has debate over size tanker most efficient for application

  1. Jurisdictions believe more water tank can carry the better

  2. Jurisdictions favor smaller apparatus that can load, unload, and travel back and forth in more

       expedient manner than can larger apparatus

B. No general rule of thumb or correct answer to question of what size tanker best

  1. Tanker performance based on number of factors including loading and unloading

  2. Possible that large, underpowered tanker not able to supply water as well as smaller, well-designed


C. Possible to assign gpm figure that each tanker capable of supplying over variety of distances

  1. Done by analyzing filling time, dumping time, and travel time between dump and fill sites for each


  2. Information used in pre-incident planning to determine how many tankers required to provide

      desired flow rate for target hazard

  3. Used by IC or water supply officer at fire for which no pre-incident plan available but desired flow

      rate determined at scene

D. Two basic methods for developing flow rating for individual tankers

  1. First relies solely on actual testing of each tanker under realistic water shuttle conditions

  2. Begin with tanker parked in proper position to dump load into portable tank

  3. Start clock when dump valve opened

  4. Keep clock running as tanker leaves dump site, drives to fill site, and returns to dump site

  5. Clock stopped when tanker’s dump valve back in proper position to dump next load

  6. By dividing amount of water tanker dumped by time round trip took, gpm flow rating assigned to

      tanker for shuttle of particular distance time, vehicle condition, drive-train capabilities, and tank size

      a. For example, suppose dump site and fill site located one mile apart

      b. 3,000 gallon tanker able to make round trip in 12 minutes

      c. Most tankers only actually dump 90 percent of load before heading off to be refilled

      d. Flow rating for tanker, over 1 mile shuttle distance, calculated as follows:

                                  GPM = Tank Size—10%

                                                    Trip Time