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  1. #1
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    Default Vacuum Tankers/Tenders

    Vacuum Tankers/Tenders

    I am looking at getting ready to make a proposal to our fire chief to allow me to pursue grant funding for a vacuum tender for AFG this upcoming year. I have a few questions, though.

    Has anyone put a supply hose bed on a vacuum tender before, either on the top or on the sides? We use 3" for supply. We dont need much, just about 500 feet or so, but 1000 would be great.

    Can you discharge faster from vacuums vs. 10" gravity dumps?

    Are they worth the huge expense?

    How fast can you fill?


  2. #2
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    I can't help too much as we don't have a vacuum tanker, but a dept a few towns away does. It is a 3000 gal unit and they claim that it fills in about 3 min.

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    They do fill fast. And can fill from a more distant source depending on how much suction line carried) than a pumper at draft (so preplan/prep).

    But I question the overall "system" cost.

    1. Run a series of 3000gal vac tankers @$225000ea)
    or

    2. Operate a standard tanker shuttle with a $165000gal multipurpose pumper (from mutual aid FD who is already responding) at the draft site filling a series of 3000gal tankers (@$175000). Or if you're creative use a dedicated fill site pump and much less cost and sent the pumper to the fire.

    Unless you have lots of vac tankers you still will need a fill site pumper.

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    Default Vacuum Tankers

    I stumbled across this video on Facebook. It is a sales pitch but has useful information about vacuum tankers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkz2mTN7jE4

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    That's funny because I saw this video before E-One bought the water master line and the engines in the first twenty seconds were Ferrara now they mysteriously change to E-One but the rest of the video is the same...

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    Talking Editing

    Whats the video editing equivalent of Photoshop?

  7. #7
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    I use PowerDirector 8 Ultra.

    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."

  8. #8
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    drakescrossing,

    We have been running a 3,500 gallon from Water Master for about 5 years now and I see us replacing our conventional tankers with vacuums as they are rotated out.

    We can fill at 1,000 gpm and actually fill faster from draft than a hydrant. Discharge rate is about the same with the last gallons coming out as fast as the first. Elevation will affect fill rate from a draft but overall the vacuum tanker is pretty forgiving.

    For our department it is worth the cost. We run 272 square miles of Suburban/Rural in our district and some areas have lots of water sources and some areas have very few. A two man crew can get water from pretty much any source, including a shallow ditch with standing water, and significantly shorten the distance of the tanker shuttle.

    Instead of traveling to a hydrant we can get water with the vacuum from anywhere, at time significantly decreasing the shuttle distance and increasing the gpm the tanker delivers. I can't stress this enough.
    Instead of tying up an engine and crew at the fill site we can sent that apparatus and personnel to the scene. Yes they cost $225,000 + but you also aren't using a $400,000 engine and extra people just to fill tankers.

    When first hearing about a vacuum tanker I was skeptical but I really believe they are worth the expense and can be a huge asset if you don't try to run them as a conventional tanker. At our state fire school we supplied our tanker to be used with 9 other tankers in a water supply class. The first year the instructor wanted it to run to the same fill site and operate as the conventional tankers. By that I mean to an engine that was filling tankers in the shuttle. As a result the vacuum didn't even start to show its capabilities. The next year, same apparatus set up, only the vacuum had it's own fill site. At the fill hydrant a dump tank was set up that the vacuum filled from and then the dump tank refilled while the water was shuttled. As a result the vacuum was delivering water faster over the same distance as conventional tankers using a two man crew. For every 1-2 conventional that dumped, the vacuum dumped.

    You can look at Water Masters site or Firovac's site and get some information on why vacuum tankers make sense for some departments. I would highly recommend that you have a demonstration put on by either the manufacture or someone that runs a vacuum tanker in their fleet. I really think it will open your eyes and rethink the viability of conventional tankers.

    As with the hose bed. On the right side of our tanker we have the dump tank, the left side has 3 20' sections of hard suction. I'm sure a builder would be able to work with you to put a hose bed above the hard suction if you really wanted to carry it but that's something you'll have to talk to the builder about.

    Let me know if you have questions.
    Good luck,
    Walt.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Delivery rate is different, Conventional tanker is 100-150 gpm on an ISO haul.Vaccumn tanker delivers at AROUND 275-325 with 290-300 avg. T.C.

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    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Rescue101 is correct. It all depends on how well your operation is set up and how much you practice it. In a shuttle we did under pretty much ideal conditions we got 350 gpm out of ours.

    Regarding ISO, they also give you credit for the entire load because the tank is sealed and none can slosh out in transit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    Regarding ISO, they also give you credit for the entire load because the tank is sealed and none can slosh out in transit.
    Interesting reasoning. Our local ISO rep says the tank size is prorated as when you get to the last portion the dump rate is slower, like taking a wiz! And somewhat like an 'ole feller taking a wiz, the truck takes off before it's finished, leaving a puddle behind

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    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    RFDACM02, this was something we learned when we did our ISO review a couple years ago. You are right about the trickle effect when you get towards the end. It still occurs in a vacuum tanker but the majority of the water is delivered faster because it is unloaded under pressure. Towards the end the reduced amount of water flies farther instead of trickling like it does in a conventional tanker.

    Unfortunately I'm not able to get to my reference material for a while so I'm working off of memory. Not sure of the percentage but for the sake of discussion I'm going to use 10% for illustration. I believe a 2,000 gallon conventional tanker is given credit for 1,800 gallons because ISO's theory is that 200 gallons (10%) is lost as the apparatus slows and turns through the overflow pipes in the fill tower. This is the water you see on the road behind a tanker. A vacuum tanker is closed so it can create negative and positive pressure so it would get credit for the entire 2,000 gallons.
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  13. #13
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    QUOTE=RFDACM02;1124407]Interesting reasoning. Our local ISO rep says the tank size is prorated as when you get to the last portion the dump rate is slower, like taking a wiz! And somewhat like an 'ole feller taking a wiz, the truck takes off before it's finished, leaving a puddle behind[/QUOTE]

    NOT with a vaccumn tanker. They can offload under pressure. We demo'ed a Watermaster here a short time ago against an E-one conventional the same size from our neighbors. NO comparison. Dump and fill rates approach 2.5X the conventional's rate, size for size(3300-3500 gal). Plus there is NO slosh or spillover onto the road. They load at roughly 1000 gpm depending on lift,we were at about 10' vertical. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 12-18-2009 at 07:19 PM.

  14. #14
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    NOT with a vaccumn tanker. They can offload under pressure. We demo'ed a Watermaster here a short time ago against an E-one conventional the same size from our neighbors. NO comparison. Dump and fill rates approach 2.5X the conventional's rate, size for size(3000 gal). Plus there is NO slosh or spillover onto the road. They load at roughly 1000 gpm depending on lift,we were at about 10' vertical. T.C.[/QUOTE]

    Did you have the 3500 gal demo that greenwood was showing around last month? Very impressive truck. A little too big for our roads , but it certainly can move the water.

  15. #15
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    That would be the one. Sebago(next door)has a 3300 gal. conventional tanker on a similar chassis so it made for a good test match. Very close to what we're looking for,I want 500 less water and 140-170 more Hp. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    NOT with a vaccumn tanker. They can offload under pressure. We demo'ed a Watermaster here a short time ago against an E-one conventional the same size from our neighbors. NO comparison. Dump and fill rates approach 2.5X the conventional's rate, size for size(3300-3500 gal). Plus there is NO slosh or spillover onto the road. They load at roughly 1000 gpm depending on lift,we were at about 10' vertical. T.C.
    Pretty interesting. We don't have a single vacuum tanker in the county and I'm not sure how far the closest is. Makes sense when you apply basic logic, but I'm not sure ISO uses that?

  17. #17
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    Due to fleet reduction and distance for our MA tankers, the ONLY way we see our maintaining the 250 for our outside districts for the ISO drill is with a vaccum unit. Therefore,that is the direction we're taking. The Vaccum unit will allow us to keep a flow going while we wait for the support units to get in.The demo unit we tried was the convincer. We knew on paper it worked but to see it actually happen,well...........It will open your eyes. T.C.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Due to fleet reduction and distance for our MA tankers, the ONLY way we see our maintaining the 250 for our outside districts for the ISO drill is with a vaccum unit. Therefore,that is the direction we're taking. The Vaccum unit will allow us to keep a flow going while we wait for the support units to get in.The demo unit we tried was the convincer. We knew on paper it worked but to see it actually happen,well...........It will open your eyes. T.C.
    When they were down our way we took it to a shallow pond [ less than 12" depth] over in the harbor. Plenty of surface area just not a good place to set up a normal draft from, floating strainer kept sucking up the pond lilies. With the vacuum truck they managed to fill in about 2min 40 seconds and discharged even faster. The fact that they can suck water out of just about any where makes them a big plus.

  19. #19
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    Default Vacuum vs conventional

    We have a 4000gal vacuum (EAM Siphon) which will refill in 3 1/2 minutes off of vacuum, dump as fast. It will refill almost as fast from a hydrant, (about 3:50). It also has a 1000gpm Hale PTO pump which can supply and vacuum water at the same time. It runs circles around any conventional tanker/tender. 100% ISO credit in shuttle.

    Easier to operate, less manpower needed, and price comparable to any conventional apparatus. They are not a one size fits all solution, however, they are worth considering especially if you have a lot of surface water.
    Lead me not into temptation.... I'm able to find it myself!!!

  20. #20
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    does anyone have the suction hose preconnected to the inlet so that they can just drop the suction into the source? I am just wondering how people utilize their vacs.

    additionally, do you have to take extra care with sucking from streams due to sediment?

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