Engine Company Ops - Water Supply

Obtaining and maintaining a reliable water source is key on the fireground.

It should be noted that a 50-foot length of 3 ? inch hose (3 inch butts) can be used as an alternative to the other types of hydrant connections. Most companies will fold and place the 3-? inch supply hose in a compartment below the pump panel on either side of the apparatus. One end of the hose will have attached to it a 4-? inch x 3 inch hydrant connection; the other end will be either attached to the gated inlet or be set up with for a quick connection to the gated inlet.

Technique Tip #3

The gated inlet located below the chauffeur side of the pump panel, should have attached to it a 3 inch x 3-inch gated inlet a double 3"male as an option. This set up will afford the chauffeur with the flexibility of using the either the male or female end of the 3-? inch hose to connect to the gated inlet.

Some rural departments carry as much as 3,000' of 5" supply line. While this will give you the option of laying into a hydrant before reaching the fire it also has its draw backs. Remember the longer the stretch the more you will reduce your water flow. Also, I remember watching a video of a pumper stretching its supply line into the fire block but unknown to the operator he had run out of supply hose two blocks back and was proceeding into the block with no supply hose. Just one more thing to think about early in the morning...

As a rule when supplying a standpipe system you should:

  1. Always supply the system using at least a 3 ?" supply line.
  2. Whenever possible use two different pumpers at two independent siamese connections to supply the standpipe system.
  3. One pumper should be used to supply the standpipe system for each hose line in use. Ex. Two hose lines in use then two pumpers should be used to supply the system.

Final note! Never assume a hydrant is serviceable. The hydrant must always be tested before engaging the pumps. This will allow you to proceed to another hydrant without having to disengage the pumps if hydrant is found to be defective.

Stay Safe and keep asking questions. You can learn something new everyday.

BC John Keenan FDNY


John Keenan is a 33 year veteran of the FDNY and currently holds the position of Battalion Chief 15 in the Bronx. Chief Keenan is a frequent lecture and instructor on fire service topics with a specific interest in Engine Company Operations. You may contact Chief Keenan at FDPD@AOL.com