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    Default How do you pump for various pressures

    I would like to know how you guys set the pump panel for various pressure needs. For example, the 2.5" line we use with a smooth bore requires 100psi at the pump, the one 1.5" line requires 190psi at the pump. Myself, I would set the main discharge pressure at 190 and then gate the 2.5" line down to 100psi.

    However, I have one old time engineer who swears up and down that this is wrong. He claims that it will damage the valve rapidly and that all ball valves need to be either fully open or closed. He splits the difference in pressure, so in this example, he would set the pressure at like 145. To me this seems absolutely dangerous for the guys on the end of either line. The really bad part is that he trains most of the people on how to pump the engines.

    Please give some input.

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    I would absolutely agree with the way that you are doing it and not what he has to say.

    The way that he is saying, if you are running a 250 lay of 1.5" to a combination nozzle and are up on the third floor, you are not going to have the required 100psi on the nozzle. This means poor spray pattern, reduced flow rate, and possibly limp hose - read possible kinks. The new guy on the smooth bore that weight 165 with full PPE is now going to go for a ride.

    Our training when we got our Hale was to set your pressure to the highest and "throttle back" the other outlets. Now if you have some extra money laying around, you could add pressure relief valves to a couple discharges that you use for master streams or smooth bore nozzles.

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    Do what I do to the old guys that give me the "thats the way we have always done it" or the "it will damage it" speech...

    Tell them to show you in the manufacturer's literature where it states it will damage the valve.

    Then ask him to show you mathamatically how 145 is enough pressure for the smaller line, which brings me to my next point....

    190 sounds awfully high. What is the makeup of the line? I have always pumped two hundred feet (the standard for around here) of 1.75" line with a fog nozzle at 160 or so...If it has a smoothbore, it only gets 100.....
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster668 View Post
    I would like to know how you guys set the pump panel for various pressure needs. For example, the 2.5" line we use with a smooth bore requires 100psi at the pump, the one 1.5" line requires 190psi at the pump. Myself, I would set the main discharge pressure at 190 and then gate the 2.5" line down to 100psi.

    However, I have one old time engineer who swears up and down that this is wrong. He claims that it will damage the valve rapidly and that all ball valves need to be either fully open or closed. He splits the difference in pressure, so in this example, he would set the pressure at like 145. To me this seems absolutely dangerous for the guys on the end of either line. The really bad part is that he trains most of the people on how to pump the engines.

    Please give some input.
    You're right, he's wrong, end of story. While ball valves do wear out, failure to properly gate discharges will lead to someone being short on water on one end and having too much pressure on the other. Sounds to me like an excuse to not really understand how to work a pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    190 sounds awfully high. What is the makeup of the line? I have always pumped two hundred feet (the standard for around here) of 1.75" line with a fog nozzle at 160 or so...If it has a smoothbore, it only gets 100.....
    This is a 250ft. preconnect of 1.5" with either a 7/8" tip flowing 150gpm at 45psi nozzle pressure, or a 150gpm at 50psi constant gallonage fog nozzle. There is a lot of FL in a 250ft. 1.5" hose flowing 150gpm. But it keeps us from needing to upgrade to 1 3/4" to achieve our 150gpm goal. Our department doesn't have much money, and 1 3/4" hose would be a tough sell.

    Does anyone know of an article or anything talking specifically about using ball valves in partially open states? I would like to show some people that they shouldn't just blindly follow this old timer. But if it's his word against mine, he usually wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster668 View Post
    But if it's his word against mine, he usually wins.
    Make HIM produce the written proof.
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    The palce to call is either Arkon or Elhart. Either one should be able to help you. Look at your truck and see which valves are on it and call that company. Also as all these guys have said the old timer is wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster668 View Post
    Does anyone know of an article or anything talking specifically about using ball valves in partially open states? I would like to show some people that they shouldn't just blindly follow this old timer. But if it's his word against mine, he usually wins.
    Without my office bookshelf I can't quote pages, but gating valves is textbook in any pumping manual when you have more than one line out. I have never heard of splitting the difference. The fact that he can get more than one or two people to listen to this guy, says that maybe an outside trainer is in order for pumping? I'm truly flabbergasted that anyone would beleive this, it's 2010.

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    Would you want to be on the nozzle end of a line that's supposed to be at 190 psi when it's flowing at 75% of that FROM THE PANEL? Imagine what it's like 250 feet down the line and up a floor or two. Personally, I think his method is putting the people on the end of the line in danger with an inconsistent or inadequate water supply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    You're right, he's wrong, end of story.
    Precisely. Your way of doing it is what's being taught to pump operators across the US.

    And wait for him to produce the literature/facts that says your way is wrong.
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    @ blaster668, send your Old Time Engineer my way. I'll show him a few things to really rattle his cage.

    As with everybody else, you're right, and he is dead wrong. There is nothing wrong with gating back the ball valves to the psi that you need. Ball valves take very little punishment, if any. You're flowing water, not gravel.

    I'm not privy to the manuals that you guys have, but I am sure in some sort of fashion, that your pump panel book, engineer book, or similar, discusses the fact of gating back your discharge(s) when you need high psi on one line, and lower psi for another.

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    The only reason that I can think of has nothing to do with damaging the valves. Most valves, left in a partially open position, will pull themselves closed, or push themselves fully open. But that's why their operating rods or levers have locking mechanisms.

    Push pull rods usually are turned 1/4 turn to lock them into position. Older Hale levers locked when you turned the knobs to the right. Some Akron valves had a spring mechanism that kept them at whatever position they were put in. There are others, too.

    The point is, the purpose of the locking mechanism is to allow the valve to be opened to any desired position and locked in place.

    Blaster, I don't much care how old your old timer is. I'm older!

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    I agree with everyone saying you're doing it right.

    Politely tell him to run his pump panel the way he wants, you'll run yours the way you want. Then let everything that flows from his mouth go in one ear and out the other.

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    I have to echo everyone else, this guy is flat out wrong and you are absolutely right. His method makes sure NO ONE has the correct or safe operating pressure. Some lines will be under pumped and dangerous to operate against fire, others will be over pumped and dangerous for people to handle. You're method ensures proper pressure and flows.

    Ask him this, whats more important getting a little extra time out of a ball valve (assuming he's even right) or making sure your firefighters are able to safely fight the fire with the correct amount of water?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster668 View Post
    Please give some input.
    He doesn't know what he's talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaster668 View Post

    Does anyone know of an article or anything talking specifically about using ball valves in partially open states? I would like to show some people that they shouldn't just blindly follow this old timer. But if it's his word against mine, he usually wins.
    I'd start with IFSTA's Pumping Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook, second edition. Look in chapter 8, pg 185 and chapter 10, pgs 288-289. Like the others have said, he doesn't know what he is talking about.

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    Your method is the way that I was taught and the way our textbook explained it.

    I havn't see anyone average the pressures, but I did have one pump operator that just set everything at the highest pressure. Being on the 2 1/2 being pumped at 1 3/4 pressures sure kicked our *****.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    Your method is the way that I was taught and the way our textbook explained it.

    I havn't see anyone average the pressures, but I did have one pump operator that just set everything at the highest pressure. Being on the 2 1/2 being pumped at 1 3/4 pressures sure kicked our *****.
    That's when you have a little coming to jesus meeting with him when you get back to the station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBFD25 View Post
    Politely tell him to run his pump panel the way he wants, you'll run yours the way you want.
    I would ask to get some further training done at your station, and make sure this guy is there. If he were on the pump, and you were on the line, would you feel good about doing work in a structure fire?

    Everyone on here is correct, splitting the difference doesn't make any sense. Even if it does wear out a ball valve faster when you gate it down, it's worth it. Improper pressures don't do anyone on the fireground any good. People getting hurt out of necessity is one thing, people getting hurt from lack of knowledge is another.
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