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  1. #1
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    Default Morning checks

    One of the engineers on our dept. feels he needs to put the pumps into gear and run them for 30-45 minutes every morning that he is on shift. He runs the pressure up to about 50 psi so its not that much but does anyone know if this could potentially cause problems down the road. We've already had to replace several discharge valves on a couple of the engines, is this practice of 'deadheading' the pump causing the valves to wear out?

    And yes the pump is circulating the water while running.


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    If you want factual info about your particular pumps, dig out the operator's manual and see what they recommend for regular checks.

    With that having been said, I don't see why it would be necessary to run a pump that long, but I also don't see what it would hurt beyond standard wear and tear so long as the water's circulating. I can't imagine 50 psi (I'm guessing that's near idle) would generate enough heat in circulating water to cause a problem.

    Our typical daily check consists of putting it in gear, running the primer for at least 10-15 seconds, and checking the governor/pressure relief valve. The pump is usually only running 10 minutes or so.

    Weekly is more intense, and includes a flush, exercising all of the valves (which may be a bigger cause of you having to replace valves if they're in the same position for a long time), checking intakes for debris, and basically everything else Hale/Waterous recommends (which are very similar) for the pump that's being tested. Our fleet maintenance guy takes care of the more intense stuff beyond that.

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    Default Pump "Floor Test"

    PUMP “FLOOR” TEST

    1. Drain pump and be sure all valves and drains are closed.
    2. Operate primer for 30 seconds and note the vacuum on the compound gauge (record this in the form). You do not run the pump for this test (unless it is an old hale with a primer operated by the drive line).
    3. After 10 minutes, record the residual vacuum from the compound gauge. The vacuum should not change more than 10 inches of Hg in the 10 minutes.
    4. Start the engine and place the pump in gear. Note any difficulties encountered in the remarks column. Record the MPH indicated on the speedometer at idle. Note the oil pressure & voltage before exiting the cab.
    5. Open the tank to pump line and establish a prime, open the tank fill and make sure all air has been purged from the pump. Some Watrous pumps on CF Macks do not have the tank fill plumbed from the second stage but have the line tapped into the first stage volute. If this is the case, you must run a 1 1/2" line from a discharge back into the tank fill opening. If a 2 stage pump, cycle the transfer valve. Your SOP most likely calls for it to be in ‘Pressure” so close the tank fill and take the rpm up to 1,000 rpm making sure that the relief valve set point is above this pressure. Record the pressure on the master discharge gauge. Throttle down to idle, and place the transfer valve in the “volume” and return the throttle to 1,000 rpm. Record this pressure and compare it with the pressure recorded in the “Pressure” mode. It should be about ½. If it was 140 psi in “pressure” it should be about 70 psi in “volume”. Problems with the transfer valve or the check valve will show up if you compare your readings to previous test records.
    6. Crack the tank fill to circulate some water and then exercise the relief valve. Turn the rpm back up to your normal operating pressures and cycle the relief valve (if so equipped) from above your set point down through the lowest pressure you can achieve and back to your normal set point. Note any unusual occurrences as well as the minimum pressure when the relief is fully opened. If using a Watrous relief, turn it off and throttle up slightly to be sure it is fully closed.
    7. Check the pressure governor (if so equipped) by bringing the pressure to the desired set point with the tank fill cracked. Next, open the tank fill and observe the rpm increase. Reclose the tank fill and observe the rpm return to the original set pressure. With certain electronic relief valves, check the cavitation safety feature by opening the tank fill while closing the tank-to-pump causing the pump to cavitate. This should cause the governor to go to idle. Recheck the set point as specified in the operators manual and make sure it corresponds to your SOP requirements.
    8. Return all valves to their normal positions and drain the pump if required. Place all cab controls in their normal position. After draining, you might want to operate the primer for a few seconds to provide lubrication and prevent sticking.
    9. Compare all your observations with the previous recorded data, and report anything unusual to the proper officer.

    I agree fully with catch22... Read the pump manual front to back.

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    Does your department not have a truck check policy and check sheets that says what is to be done daily/weekly/monthly? If not, then there needs to be one in place.

    As both Catch and Kuh said you need to do what the owner's manual says. I don't mean just the pumps but every piece of equipment that is on the truck. The people that made it knows best.

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    Kuh-
    how often does your dept. perform the "floor" test on each apparatus? We have never done this before but it looks like something we need to start doing on a weekly basis anyway. I will have to dig up the manuels and see what it says for regular checks.

    We have two Hale single stage and one waterous duel stage pump on the dept. Our newest pump is a Hale 1250 GPM with the TPM governor, this truck is a 2000 KME. The other Hale is 1500 GPM (1996) with a simple handwheel relief valve. The waterous is a 1250 (1984) with the typical waterous relief valve.

    I appreciate all the info.

    thanks.

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    engineeremtp: We are a volunteer company that meets every Monday. The floor tests are routinely done the second and 4th Mondays. The first is rescue drill and the 3rd is the monthly meeting. It is a pretty easy thing to do any time that you have down time at a fire, drill, or just hanging around. Any time we have had a working structure, I like to run the test after everything has been returned to service. It is not a substitute for the annual test, but by comparing records over time it is pretty easy to discover problems. I would get a bound notebook for each engine (not looseleaf) and use the first page to write instructions on how to perform the tests. Start with the 3rd or 4th page and make an outline of how you want the information recorded and on what lines on the page. By keeping the data in the exact place on the page it is easy to flip through looking at one line and comparing say pressure at 1000 rpm for months or years very quickly.
    Exercising the relief valves is an important function, as well as running the transfer valves back and forth. With a volunteer department, and low working structure volume, it is easy to have engines sitting a month with no pump action. This is a very bad situation because s*** happens and you look very bad when you pull up and can't get water. The reason we initiated these procedures was a problem with improperly shutting down a Watrous relief. If you take a Watrous and turn down the relief pilot to zero with the switch in the on position, The main relief valve will be fully opened. If the D/O then gets in the cab and takes the pump out of gear, the valve will remain in the fully opened position. Parking the rig in the bay with the pump wet will cause all the rust and gunk to filter down to the lowest parts of the pump. (The relief is on the bottom.) After a week or so the o-rings in the slide valve will stick to the side wall of the valve. With a Hale it is not a problem because the valve closes with the flow of the water, but the Watrous must close aganst the normal water flow. You need to build about 100 psi to break the rust and slime loose, but with the relief fully opened, the best you can expect is about 80 psi. When this happens sometimes you can get the pump flowing out an open discharge and slam the valve shut causing water hammer to break the o-rings loose.
    You don't want to be facing a full blown attached garage fire with the throttle wide open and only about 60 psi of discharge pressure. You get some "harsh" words from the nozzle guys and the Chief.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Does your department not have a truck check policy and check sheets that says what is to be done daily/weekly/monthly? If not, then there needs to be one in place.

    As both Catch and Kuh said you need to do what the owner's manual says. I don't mean just the pumps but every piece of equipment that is on the truck. The people that made it knows best.
    Our trucks are checked every morning at shift change: lights, SCBA's, radios, etc. They are run through their paces every Wednesday: pumps and small equipment.

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    Thursday is our tool and equipment day. Although we check and maintain tools and equipment on a daily basis, this is the day that we do the heavy-duty cleaning and maintenance.

    With regards to the pump on our engines, this is when we "soap" the pump. One of the last things we do after our "Thursday" checks is to pour a bottle of Ivory soap into the booster tank. After a few minutes, we engage the pump and perform a daily check, i.e. transfer valve, primer, and relief valve. After that is complete, we disengage the pump and back the apparatus into the station.

    After the vehicle is parked and the motor is turned off, we work all of the valve for about 10 - 15 minutes. I've seen valves that were very difficult to open and close get to where they could be easily operated with one hand with minimal effort. This typically occurs after a few Thursdays.

    On word of caution: Since you now have a booster tank full of soap and soap suds, ensure that water is flowing from the overfill when you are refilling the booster tank. Bubbles will be misread as water when the gauge is measuring the water level. If you see water mixed with soap suds coming from the overfill when hooked to a plug, you have a visual indication that the tank has water and not just soap bubbles.

    An added benefit of having soap in your booster tank is that is breaks the surface tension of the water. It's kinda like having foam.
    rjtoc2

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    ***The above post (s) is/are MY opinion and do/does not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of neither my employer nor my IAFF Local.***

    Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, and make counter accusations.

    A lack of planning on your behalf does NOT create an emergency on my behalf.

    When all is said and done, alot more is said than done

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    Quote Originally Posted by engineeremtp
    One of the engineers on our dept. feels he needs to put the pumps into gear and run them for 30-45 minutes every morning that he is on shift. He runs the pressure up to about 50 psi so its not that much but does anyone know if this could potentially cause problems down the road. We've already had to replace several discharge valves on a couple of the engines, is this practice of 'deadheading' the pump causing the valves to wear out?

    And yes the pump is circulating the water while running.
    My guys (for lack of a better term) do this daily, on a paid dept. They may not take 30-45 minutes, but they are close. If your guy is taking that long, hopefully he is doing more than recirculating water. Since you didn't say what all he was doing while running the pump, it will be hard to say if he's doing it right or wrong.

    But to answer your question on if he is damaging the discharge valves, more than likely, he isn't. If he is recirculating, he really isn't "deadheading" the pump. More like pressurizing it at 50-75psi. What he does with that, can create, or fix problems.

    He can create problems with the discharge valves if he is opening and closing them without the drain valve open. If he keeps them closed, rust and other debris can and will tear up the discharge valve seals. With the drain valve(s) open, the rust and debris will wash out. This should be done with all discharges, either weekly (Volly), or daily (paid). This will also let you know if you have a discharge gauge problem or not. Someone IS paying attention to the gauges....right.

    Kuh is also dead on, on what to do daily or weekly. The only thing I can recommend, is that on a waterous pressure relief valve, is to take out the screen and wash it under good faucet pressure. As well, back flush it weekly with the screen removed.

    As noted above, the use of Ivory soap is huge in keeping things well lubricated and free. How often depends on how often you use your pump. Once a month should be the minimum.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    From a larger career department view, WHY start the rig and run the pumps on a daily basis?

    It the rig starts at 8 AM and the pump works then, why wouldn’t it work at 10:30 AM when you make a working job? The last shift’s operator should tell their relief if there was any problems from the last shift. If so a mechanic should be called to check this out.

    We years ago started everything at 8AM even did a radio check every day! Times have changed from the older apparatus to what the departments are using now.

    The lights should always be checked daily along with fuel, oil, radiator levels. A quick look underneath will let the operator know if anything may have came loose and hanging down. Checking all the tools, appliances, EMS gear and SCBA are to be sure everything is accounted for and is in its correct location is good too.

    Usually Saturday mornings, the rigs are pulled out on the ramp as the apparatus floor is scrubbed and washed out. While there, all gasoline power tools and equipment is ran for 10 mintues and the pumps and tanks are flushed out and refilled.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer
    From a larger career department view, WHY start the rig and run the pumps on a daily basis?
    If you need a reason WHY you should, then you shouldn't be operating the pump. If your an officer on the pump, then you should be making sure your operator is.

    You're responsible for making sure your equipment works....... DAILY.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    @ CaptOldTimer....We do ours the same way you described. We still have a radio check every day @0730. I work for a fairly large dept and this seems to work for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    The last shift’s operator should tell their relief if there was any problems from the last shift.
    In a perfect world, this would solve any problem. We all know, however, that we have all types of folks in our ranks. We have super-stars, turds, and all those in between. This is especially true in large career departments as folks typically have the opportunity to "hide" in a large organization.

    I, along with whatever crew I am working with, check out our assigned vehicle and equipment daily and after each use, i.e. SCBA, tools, and etc. It provides me and my crew with training and peace of mind.

    I'd also agree that the issue of someone not passing along vital information about apparatus or equipment readiness should be dealt with immediately but the fireground or emergency scene is not the place for someone to discover it OR have one of your firefighters say "oh yeah... I forgot to tell you, Joe told me this morning at relief time that the XXX was not working..."
    rjtoc2

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    ***The above post (s) is/are MY opinion and do/does not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of neither my employer nor my IAFF Local.***

    Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, and make counter accusations.

    A lack of planning on your behalf does NOT create an emergency on my behalf.

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    check the lights daily but not the pump? You can manage with a few lights out, but if that pump craps out when you need it people can and have been injured and killed.

    Daily checks might not guarantee the pump will work throughout the entire shift, but if the pump stops working and somebody gets burned at least I know I checked it.

    Why check the SCBA when you come in in the morning if the off going shift tells me everything was ok last time he checked? nothing should have changed since then
    Last edited by nameless; 08-24-2009 at 05:48 PM.

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    I was really hoping for a rebuttal from "CaptOldTimer". But since I didn't get one, here's the deal on running the pump daily.

    2-3 yrs ago an engine was first due to a 2 alarm fire in the wee early morning hours. When done, they went home. They did some clean up work, and then tried to get some sleep. They didn't make another run.

    Next shift comes in, and they chatted about the fire. After the previous shift leaves, the FAE does his morning checks. He found that he cannot get it into pump gear with the air shift, but could manually. So he calls "The Shop". I got the call, to see what is up.

    Somewhere, somehow, on the way back to the station, something broke the fitting off the air line to the transfer case. It ended up being an easy fix.

    I've got other horror/war stories for those that don't believe in "daily" checks. My biggest ones, are on brake checks.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  16. #16
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    Years back when I started this profession, we ran everything, every morning. The engine were started, pumps engaged, flowed water, rotary saws and the generators ran. The trucks radio was checked with a roll call each and every morning. This was the tradition of the department and the fire service in the late 1950’s and into the 1970’s.


    On one fine day an order came forth from the fire chief, stopping all running of the apparatus, pumps and stopping the radio check. The radio check went from every day to once a week on Monday morning at 0900 hours.

    This was from the advice from the master mechanic and auto shop that engines, mufflers and other parts were being abused by running them for only 10 to 15 minutes. They also advised that if they were going to be started, that the rig must be taken out on the district and driven over the time span of 30 or more minutes, thus allowing the fluids to run through all of the engine, transmission and the muffler would heat up so there wouldn’t be any moisture left by running the truck(s) for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Pumps now day are more reliable than those we used in yesterday. If you start up the rig to check it, it must be taken out on the ramp. This is so that the apparatus floor and fire house does not become gassed by diesel fumes, running for more than the time to pull it out of the apparatus floor. Even with exhaust fans removing some of the fumes. No we don't have the hanging hoses to connect to the tail pipes.

    I said in the first post concerning this that the department is a Mid-Atlantic urban fire department. In 1960’s totals runs from 28 companies composed of approximately 10,000 per year. Apparatus for the most part was of the 1948 vintage and some were of the 1950’s. As the 1960’s came in so do newer apparatus and later up into the 1990’s all old rigs had been replaced. Now with the busiest company out of 23, making around 4000 runs per year and the department going over 80,000 plus runs a year. Rigs are out of the house everyday and usually the pumps are ran several times per duty shift.

    In the past, the engines were gasoline and pumps were Hale. Some days the valves on the older rigs would stick and required daily inspection and lubrication with white lithium grease on the ball valves. The relief valve would require a lot of maintenance. The rotary saw and generators used back then was about half reliable and had to be started each day and ran so hopefully they would work when needed.

    When I was a firefighter I followed the rules of the department, my company and of those of my officers. As a company officer I followed the rules of the department and of those of my superior officers. I always had my drivers make sure the truck had at least 3/4 tank of fuel, all the lights operated and on Saturdays everything was ran from saws, generators, PPV’s ejectors, portable lights, and anything else that we carried. Engine members made sure of a full booster tank and fuel levels were of ¾ or better every day. BTW all SCBA’s, EMS equipment, portable radios, hand lights were physically checked by the member assigned as driver every morning.

    If any department wants to run their apparatus daily that is good for them, but in my old department we followed the rules and didn’t and we still took calls whenever they came in without any problems.

    There are going to exceptions to the rule by the whatchamacallit will break when you least expect it to. A tire can go down easy if a nail or piece of steel in picked up during the road trip. Lights can burn out. A radiator can leak of not properly maintain. Windshield can crack from a rock hitting it while on the road.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input..... Much appreciated.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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