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  1. #1
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    Default LDH Hose Reels/Vacuum Tankers (Also In Wildland Forum)

    (I was advised to post this topic in this section as well.)

    I'm looking to put together a new long-term plan to replace/up-grade equipment in my department. Part one involves improving our water supply capabilities with an eye toward improving ISO. My goal is to move our rural area to an 8B class or better.

    We have NO public water supplies to work with and are short on personnel, so efficiency is paramount. We have to haul every drop of water we use, be it wildland or structure fire. Our primary structural rig is a 2500 gallon/1000 gpm pumper/tanker. It IS equipped with a deck gun.

    Do any of you have experience with either the LDH reel trucks or the vacuum tanker that are available now? If so, what are the pros and cons of each. On the reel trucks, what is the practical limit on 5 or 6 inch hose in length of lay and how much is practical to be carried on such a truck. On the vacuum truck, would one be better served with a large fire pump (1000-1500 gpm) instead of the vacuum unit or in addition to it?

    Thanks for any help that can be provided. I haven't been able to find a lot of info on the 'net about these.


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    Burlington City, NJ has a 5" Reel (1200') on a 1986 Pierce Arrow pumper.

    Typically, it won't lay around corners well at all.

    You have to keep the couplings at the outer edges of the reel and the hose in the middle or else it won't all fit and jams around the floor under it.

    Normally, after everyone else packs their traditional hose beds, we all go help them finish picking up.

    That engine is due to be retired real soon. They have a FFA engine on order... and guess what... no reel.
    FTM-PTB DTRT

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

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    I had the chance to look at a truck from Firovac this weekend. This truck was impressive as it really was just a big primer pump on a huge tank. I believe they told me that filling the 2,000 gallon tank took a bit less than 2 minutes. It is set up to suck from any water source... and it had a ton of hard suction on it to get you over to a water source (pond, stream etc.). I never really looked at them much until this past weekend, but they were nice.
    http://www.firovac.com/

  4. #4
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    Here is an old thread on reel trucks. Maybe worth looking at.

    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...light=ldh+reel (LDH Reel Practical?)

  5. #5
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    The reel trucks were all the rage back in the 80's here in CT. We had one and have since replaced it with a traditional pumper.
    Cons
    - They do not like to lay out around corrners at all
    -They require more manpower at the beggingin of the call our unit could be powered off or free wheeled, and in free wheel it would pull on the corners
    -if it is not used the hose will sag on the reel creating an egg shap hose load
    -takes more space for the reel than if you flat packed it
    - more trainning
    - more thing to break and not work

    I have found that a large flat packed hose bed is easier to pack can hold more hose, and is much cheeper than the reels.

    Are they nice to pick up the hose? at times but that can be dangerouse too with a moving truck ect.

    my advise is a large flate pack hose bed and forget the reel.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorboyVFD View Post
    (I was advised to post this topic in this section as well.)

    I'm looking to put together a new long-term plan to replace/up-grade equipment in my department. Part one involves improving our water supply capabilities with an eye toward improving ISO. My goal is to move our rural area to an 8B class or better.

    We have NO public water supplies to work with and are short on personnel, so efficiency is paramount. We have to haul every drop of water we use, be it wildland or structure fire. Our primary structural rig is a 2500 gallon/1000 gpm pumper/tanker. It IS equipped with a deck gun.

    Do any of you have experience with either the LDH reel trucks or the vacuum tanker that are available now? If so, what are the pros and cons of each. On the reel trucks, what is the practical limit on 5 or 6 inch hose in length of lay and how much is practical to be carried on such a truck. On the vacuum truck, would one be better served with a large fire pump (1000-1500 gpm) instead of the vacuum unit or in addition to it?

    Thanks for any help that can be provided. I haven't been able to find a lot of info on the 'net about these.
    What are the water handling requirements for 8B in TX? If like Missouri, they are pretty
    minimal.

    You don't use that deck gun much do you? Terrible water hog, and in the rural world
    not used much at all. ISO is not going to give you a bit of credit for it unless you can
    supply water to it, and you are going to have to see a LOT of water to satisfy them.

    How far apart are your existing water sources?

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    Reels - Still using ours with no complaints. Originally had 4000 feet of 5" on it now at closer to 4300 feet of 5" . We don't have any issues with it sagging over time but we do work pretty hard when putting it on to keep it very tight. For us 2 guys lay it out without much issue, we tie the hose off or loop it around a fixed object , the operator powers the hose off as the truck moves ahead for about 200 feet , then the hose has enough weight on the ground we can go to free wheel and lay it at a pretty good speed - 15-20 MPH. When we come to a corner its just like starting over we power off enough to have some weight on the ground and then its back to free wheel. Our reel is equipped with a hydraulic fluid system that puts some restriction on the fluid when in the free wheel mode , prevents a back lash like on your fishing pole
    No doubt reloading is work, but I don't know if our guys would agree that its more work then flat loading on the hose bed, hard to compare 4000 on the reel to 1200 on the hose bed.
    As far as tactically ours is dedicated to water supply only - 1250 front mount, 48 feet hard suction dual intakes, dual floating and Ice strainers, etc.. No confusion as to what its function is.
    SBLGFD

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    ChiefDog, thanks for the link. Some very useful info there.

    LVFD, part of my goal is to make at least a Class 8B. My main goal is to improve our water supply capabilities. ISO is a useful tool to use for insurance purposes, but I don't want to build a department based on it.

    Water sources here depend mainly on rainfall. In a wet year there are plenty of stock tanks (ponds) that could be used as water sources. Right now water is pretty hard to find due to dry conditions. We do have a river running through the response area, but only two public roads cross it for miles. Also, almost all the public roads in the area are unpaved bladed roads, so weight becomes a factor. You couldn't take a semi-tanker down most of these roads to a structure fire in wet weather.

    As for the deck gun, yes it's a water-hog, but our little department has the only deck pipe in the entire county. Even the combination department in the county seat doesn't have one any more. We have four (soon to be five) open-pit mining operations in our response area with tall screen towers. Being able to put a deck gun to use could prove to be a valuable asset somewhere down the road. There is loads of water there, but getting it to the pumper could prove problematic at times.

    One part of my plan I have been actively working on is locating at least two 30,000 gallon cisterns in our community. One at the fire station, one on the other end of the community. That will improve coverage for the residents there, but we have lots of homes located in isolated areas. Getting water to them is a headache.

    If you want to get an idea of the area, go to Google Maps and type in zip code 76887. That's my area. Limited water supply, narrow un-paved roads, limited personnel, and large response area are all issues I'm trying to address. Not to mention a real lack of funding. The only way any of this will happen is with lots of grant money.

  9. #9
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    poorboy: Sounds like your biggest issue is developing a reliable water source and a way of transporting it to distant fire scenes. A Reel truck won't help you much in that regard.

    Talk with NEIOWA about getting govt surplus fuel/water bladders through FEEP and your state forester. He is the surplus guru.
    Then you could set them up for standby water sources at multiple locations around your coverage area. .
    A vacuum tanker will haul more water per minute from small sources, than a conventional water supply truck , but they do get big and very heavy once you go over 2500 gallons. They can offload at the same rate they fill by reversing the vacuum pump and pressurizing the tank.
    They can suck water through a long lay of hose to allow you to get access to small streams /stock tanks or farm ponds with minimal manpower required.

    Getting you ISO rating down will require you to maintain the rated flow for a set time period, which requires either shorter distances to your water supply or lots of tankers to move it over the longer distances. Seems like getting more storage tanks set up as dry hydrants would be your lowest cost option.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by laddertruckgoes View Post
    Burlington City, NJ has a 5" Reel (1200') on a 1986 Pierce Arrow pumper.

    Typically, it won't lay around corners well at all.

    You have to keep the couplings at the outer edges of the reel and the hose in the middle or else it won't all fit and jams around the floor under it.

    Normally, after everyone else packs their traditional hose beds, we all go help them finish picking up.

    That engine is due to be retired real soon. They have a FFA engine on order... and guess what... no reel.
    We have one we built. Separate Engine drives the reel.2600' of 5". Lay around corners or anything else you want to do as the Reel is powered in BOTH directions. Two man operation. Very handy and efficient. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 08-25-2010 at 09:15 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93Cobra View Post
    I had the chance to look at a truck from Firovac this weekend. This truck was impressive as it really was just a big primer pump on a huge tank. I believe they told me that filling the 2,000 gallon tank took a bit less than 2 minutes. It is set up to suck from any water source... and it had a ton of hard suction on it to get you over to a water source (pond, stream etc.). I never really looked at them much until this past weekend, but they were nice.
    http://www.firovac.com/
    NOT a primer pump. COMMERCIAL vaccumn pump that can build pressure as well. Fills and dumps FASTER than a conventional tanker. T.C.

  12. #12
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Think Septic pumper truck! Thats all they are with a few refinements.
    If they can suck the slunk out of a septic tank they can handle any kind of water , even the thick pond water we have. I've seen them fill out of a roadside ditch with only a few inches of water in them.
    They work by creating a large vacuum in the pressure vessel sucking the fluid in. To unload you pressurize the tank and blow the fluids out at the same rate.

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    After looking on Google Earth, I don't envy your water supply situation at all!

    Here are some of my thoughts. For an ISO rating below 9, you have the 8B rating and anything below. In Missouri, an 8B basically needs 4,000 gallons of water on wheels, an engine company, and a minimum of 4 people on every fire. For anything below that, you're going to have to flow 250 gpm constantly for 2 hours. That's 30,000 gallons of water.

    Your static water supplies also have requirements. If I remember right, they have to be rated by a hydrologist or engineer for a 50 (maybe 100, this is the part I can't remember) drought. From the way it sounds, you're going to have problems there.

    As far as the reel trucks, I'm sure they have their purpose, but I don't see much utility in one for your situation. If you had water supplies scattered about and within a close enough distance you could lay the line and relay (remember, LDH does have some friction loss), it'd be something to look into. However, I don't see where you'd have the water supply.

    The next option is tankers. While the vacuum tankers sure seem like a nice idea, I'm not completely sold yet. I can certainly see the utility if your'e drafting from static water sources (which we're limited on) with limited manpower, but you still have to have the manpower to set it up.

    We tend to put our fill locations on a hydrant in town and have an engine pumping to fill our tankers. You can put a lot more water in if you have a hydrant good enough and an engine hooked to it. For example, we have a 45 psi hydrant that looses very little pressure while filling our tankers; maybe 10 psi. If we hook it to an engine and boost the pressure (and gpm) going out to 80 psi or so, we can fill considerably faster.

    Have a good look at your water supply options and learn about your district. FEMA/USFA has an online class about water supply. Another good reference is "Your Next ISO Rating by Larry Stephens (www.isoslayer.com, you can get it for free). Develop some ideas, taking EVERY option into consideration, and develop a plan. Consider mutual aid, private water haulers that are willing to help, or any other "outside of the box" solution you can think of (including the water bladders mentioned above!).

    See what other departments are doing and steal ideas that'll work for you; there's no point in reinventing the wheel. One thing we did was add a military surplus 6,000 gallon tanker to our fleet. It's slow, it's heavy, and only certain guys are allowed to drive it (no sirens, and lights are only for on scene), but more than once it's provided that extra little bit of water we wouldn't have had. I've seen departments that'll use a 2-ton truck with a stake bed and sides and loaded it with LDH in leiu of a reel truck (a hose tender I think they called it), departments that have put utility beds on brush trucks along with a bigger pump and some hose to make "quick attacks" to fit down tight roads/drives (or if you have the money, look at a quick attack), and a ton of other creative solutions. We got a quick attack for fires like that, and just got a CAFS skid unit for our brush truck for even more options (both grants) for those fires that we can't get our big trucks to.

    If you're looking at grants, you need to have that plan in place. Also, make sure to visit the grants forums. I've got a water supply grant I'd be happy to share with you (LDH, TurboDrafts, hard suction, strainers, etc). A lot of guys are more than happy to help a fellow firefighter out, actually, and there's a lot of good projects out there.

    Oh, and don't knock the monitor. In the right situation, a blitz attack with a monitor can make a helluva knockdown! We've used it a number of times and shocked mutual aid companies coming in. We've increased that capabilities recently with adding blitz monitors, new nozzles, etc off another grant project (another I'd be happy to share).

  14. #14
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    Being fairly ignorant on most of this, I was just lurking until something popped into my head.

    Isn't Texas the only state that gives additional ISO credit for having a CAFS unit? Perhaps having a CAFS unit with a substantial water tank could help lower your rating and do so more affordably than some of the other ideas being tossed about...
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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    You may want to check into the Water Master vacuum tanker now built by E-One. I think there is a "you tube" video also on this.

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    Here is another suggestion.

    I have been on a department with a reel truck, and while they do lay out well in a straight line, they do have problems with curves, which can be overcome, to some extent, with training.

    However, I might suggest a FWD 1 ton pickup with LDD on the rear and a high volume portable pump mounted on the front. The FWD will allow you to access water off the road and lay a line to the street.

    I have seen several departments go this route with some very good success.

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    I once saw on a website (I think it was called something like "ISO Slayer") an old Lowe's delivery truck modified to carry a mile or two of LDH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireRescue61 View Post
    I once saw on a website (I think it was called something like "ISO Slayer") an old Lowe's delivery truck modified to carry a mile or two of LDH.
    The problem the OP poorboy has is large distance and no real water sources. A mile or two of LDH won't solve his problem of moving water many miles in his territory. He needs to develop more water sources or to install blivit tanks around his coverage area to shorten the water shuttle haul distances.
    One way would be to scrounge up some 10-20,000 gallon used fiberglass tanks and bury them in the ground with a dry hydrant on them as a static source, or cheaper yet would be govt surplus fuel/ water blivets above ground in a containment to store water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    The problem the OP poorboy has is large distance and no real water sources. A mile or two of LDH won't solve his problem of moving water many miles in his territory. He needs to develop more water sources or to install blivit tanks around his coverage area to shorten the water shuttle haul distances.
    One way would be to scrounge up some 10-20,000 gallon used fiberglass tanks and bury them in the ground with a dry hydrant on them as a static source, or cheaper yet would be govt surplus fuel/ water blivets above ground in a containment to store water.
    I'm sure it doesn't get Maine cold there, but how cold does it get and for how long at a time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    , or cheaper yet would be govt surplus fuel/ water blivets above ground in a containment to store water.
    Getting under a tarp or other a couple inches of dirt over a blivet to protect from UV will substantially increase their life expectancy. Below grade and covered would reduce the potential of the "idiot with a 12ga" issue. No need for a berm around a water bivet.

    I suggested blivets in another of this guy's threads. No more cost effective solution to water storage. And in Tx should be able to pickup from DOD surplus every week.

    Blivets have worked well for us. I'd be very interested if anyone else has tried them since our May 07 Fire Chief article.

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