1. #1
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    Default Basic pump operation..what is your routine?

    I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I have been in the biz for 10 years + and never actually run a pump on a scene. I have done it a few times in training and just messing around with the trucks, but never on a live scene. I want to better understand the basics of this so that if I ever am caught in a situation where I need to run it I will be able to do it. I think I have it mostly figured out, but I want to be sure so please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. truck - air brakes on, in neutral, engage pump to half way position. let sit for a few seconds and then go all the way to fully engaged. put truck back in drive.

    2. panel - if truck is not hooked up to a hydrant, engage tank to pump lever. figure out which line has been pulled, and open that valve (slowly). run throttle up to whatever psi is needed for a given line pulled.

    3. Be sure relief valve is set, (usually slightly higher than psi of line or lines)?

    4. If truck will be sitting for any period of time with pump engaged, open up a valve (or crack it) so that water can circulate through the pump and keep it cool.

    Now, what I am not clear on is what needs to be done when I get a water supply. Do I shut the tank to pump valve off? If I understand this correctly, I need to be sure my tank is full before I kill that valve, just in case I lose my water supply for any reason...Just not clear on procedure to do so.

    On the panel of one of our engines I was studying last night, we have two small guages in an area by theirself. One is water temp, and the other is oil temp. Is the water temp guage here for the engine's coolant temp, or is it talking about the temp of the water running in and around the pump??

    Please feel free to post up your routine

  2. #2
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    This would probably get a better response in the Engineers forum.

    1. truck - air brakes on, in neutral, engage pump to half way position. let sit for a few seconds and then go all the way to fully engaged. put truck back in drive.

    This is OK as far as it went, however here are a couple more points you might want to perform. a. Before leaving the cab, check to see if the OK to pump light is on. b. Most older and some newer midship pumps show about 12 to 20 mph on the speedometer with the pump engaged. PTO pumps and some newer engine computers block the signal to the speedometer so it might not register anything. You will need to check your particular rig to make sure. Don't leave the cab if the speedometer isn't showing the correct speed at idle. You also could be in the wrong gear with a manual transmission. If it doesn't show the correct things, drop it out of pump, bump the shift into drive and back to neutral and try the pump shift again. c. Throw a chock as soon as you exit the cab.

    2. panel - if truck is not hooked up to a hydrant, engage tank to pump lever. figure out which line has been pulled, and open that valve (slowly). run throttle up to whatever psi is needed for a given line pulled.

    a. If equipped with a pressure governor, set it to RPM mode at about 800 to 1,000 rpm.
    b. Operate the primer until the pressure rises, and throttle up to say 1,000 rpm, while you continue to operate the primer. Now it is time to charge the appropriate line, but keep one hand near the primer when opening the valve for the attack line. Many times you will get another slug of air when the initial flow fills the first line. If pressure drops, grab the primer and prime until the pressure comes back to normal. Once you have a hard prime, then crack the TANK FILL to make water circulate through the pump, and throttle up to the desired preconnect pressure.

    3. Be sure relief valve is set, (usually slightly higher than psi of line or lines)?

    If equipped with a pressure governor set it at the desired pressure. If you loose water, hit the idle button and bring the rpm back and start repriming until it holds.
    A Hale relief should be set higher than the desired preconnect pressure and slowly reduced until the pressure drops. Then bring it back up and slightly increase the throttle to keep the correct pressure.
    A Watrous relief can be turned off and the pilot pressure raised above the desired set pressure, before turning the relief valve on. Set it just like you did the Hale. If the "Football" knob was at zero, 30 half turns should get it above most preconnect operating pressures. (200 psi +) Then turn the on - off switch to on.

    Bringing a pressurized supply on line is easily accomplished if you do not make any fast moves with the valves. The operation is aided by the fact that MOST tank-to-pump lines have a built-in check valve that prevents back filling the tank through the tank-to-pump piping. Slowly open the intake from the pressurized supply, leaving the tank-to-pump open and the tank fill cracked. You will need to reduce the throttle as you open the intake, because the incoming pressure can now do some of the work for the engine. By lowering the throttle setting, but maintaining the desired discharge pressure, continue to completely open the hydrant/pressurized supply. Slowly open the tank fill, but be sure to maintain the proper pressure on the attack line(s). When the tank is full, you can either operate directly from the hydrant supply (if the crew is flowing water) or close the supply line and go back to running a cracked tank fill to keep water circulating while the crew is mopping up.

    If you are going to draft from a stream or pond, leave the transmission in neutral untill all the hook-ups are made, and then place the transmission in the proper gear when you are ready to prime.
    I know that I have missed some points, but the expertise on here will fill in the blanks in a timely manner.

  3. #3
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    My personal routine once I have arrived on scene (and the routine I teach my volunteers):

    1. Shift to N
    2. Apply parking brake
    3. Shift pump gear to PUMP (without stopping in between. The puase is not needed.)
    4. Shift transmission to D
    5. Check for Pump Engaged indicator light.
    6. Check for OK to Pump indicator light.
    7. Upon exiting cab place both wheel chocks in front and rear of rear tires. Leave a compartment door cracked at this time.
    8. Pull tank to pump valve.
    9. Crack tank fill/recirculate valve.
    10. Once desired discharge is identified and ready, open the valve for that discharge.
    11. Place pressure governor in PSI and throttle up to desired pressure.
    12. Final setting is to be made once air is bled from the line and under full water flow.

    NOTE: when using the deck gun for a "blitz attack" with tank water, swap steps 10 and 11. In this case you want the engine throttled up before the valve is opened to minimize any water loss from the engine to the fire.

    When swapping to a water source, do all of the above PLUS:

    12. Switch the pressure governor to RPM mode.
    13. Open desired intake (once charged from source and bled of air) slowly.
    14. Once supply has been established, swap back to PSI and continue normal routine.
    15. Leave tank to pump valve OPEN. NOTE: all of our front line trucks are new enough to have flapper valves in the tank to pump line. Meaning, when using an external source, the tank to pump line will automatically be shut by the incomming pressure. If the source was to be lost, the valve will open giving the pump a supply from the tank automatically. If you shut your tank to pump valve you will have to remember to re open it in the event of a source failure. Older trucks without a flapper valve (or newer ones with malfunctioning ones) will need the tank to pump valve closed when a supply is established to keep from robbing water from the incomming source.
    16. Leave tank fill valve cracked. Unless you watch your gauges like a hawkthe entire time you won't know when your guys on the lines shut down. Leaving the valve cracked ensures that no matter what goes on down stream you will always have water flowing in the pump.

    That is our basic operation. We only change into RPM mode for three reasons:
    1. Bringing on an external water source.
    2. Relay pumping to another engine
    3. Drafting from a static source.

    Very rarely should you have to use the electric primer to prime a pump that is supplied with tank water. Most of the time the tank water will do the priming for you in the event you lose prime for some reason.

    Hope that helped a bit. Good discussion!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMachine View Post
    Now, what I am not clear on is what needs to be done when I get a water supply. Do I shut the tank to pump valve off? If I understand this correctly, I need to be sure my tank is full before I kill that valve, just in case I lose my water supply for any reason...Just not clear on procedure to do so.
    You're close - but there are actually 2 valves between the pump & tank (generally)

    One is the "Tank to Pump" that you're already familiar with. This is connecting the Tank to the INTAKE side of the pump - thus water will flow from tank TO pump.

    The second is a "Tank Fill" (or similar nomenclature) and this connects the pump discharge manifold back to the tank.

    The basic procedure would be to close the Tank to Pump as soon as you have established a water supply be it Pressurized (Hydrant, relay, etc) or from draft. Next you would slowly open the tank fill valve to allow water to flow back into the tank.

    This is where you need to be careful as you can actually steal water from the attack lines.

    I was much like yourself - spent most of my time on the nozzle end of the hose, had enough basic knowledge to get water flowing, even had a couple college courses in hydraulics & fluid dynamics; but I really learned how to pump recently after taking a "Driver/Operator - Pumper" class (don't know why I waited so long - thought I knew it all I guess )

    I would HIGHLY recommend finding one in your area to take. Even if you can't take the class then try finding the books (IFSTA, etc) and at least read them & practice on your own.

    Good luck & never stop learning.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 07-28-2011 at 09:33 AM. Reason: typos - failure to proofread
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
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    1. Shift to N
    2. Apply parking brake
    3. Shift pump gear to PUMP (without stopping in between. The puase is not needed.)
    4. Shift transmission to D
    5. Check for Pump Engaged indicator light.
    6. Check for OK to Pump indicator light.
    7. Pull tank to pump valve.
    8. Crack tank fill/recirculate valve.
    9. Place a hose clamp on the supply line
    10. Once desired discharge is identified and ready, open the valve for that discharge.
    11. Place pressure governor in PSI and throttle up to desired pressure.
    12. Connect supply line to desired intake and release clamp
    13. Bleed air from supply line once charged and slowly open intake valve
    14. Close tank to pump valve
    15. Once tank has been topped off, close tank fill valve (during summer operations, I may leave this cracked to keep water circulating as mentioned by GTRider)

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    Couple of non technical words of advice...

    Practice, practice...repeat. You'll get better the more you do it.

    Stay calm... walk through your steps, often times you can't "hurry up". Some of these steps will not go quicker.

    If you get to the end of the process and you don't have water. Hit the primer for about 5 seconds... still no water? Go back and go through each step again.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Thank yall for the great advice. It is good to know the routines of other operators, just to see what kind of advice may be out there.

    The thing is, I don't drive. I never have really had a desire to drive, so I let some of the other guys do it. Usually the guy driving will be running the pump, but these are things that everybody needs to know, just in case we are short handed. I don't ever want to be in the situation where I am asked to pump and I have to repsond with "I don't know how".

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMachine View Post
    Thank yall for the great advice. It is good to know the routines of other operators, just to see what kind of advice may be out there.

    The thing is, I don't drive. I never have really had a desire to drive, so I let some of the other guys do it. Usually the guy driving will be running the pump, but these are things that everybody needs to know, just in case we are short handed. I don't ever want to be in the situation where I am asked to pump and I have to repsond with "I don't know how".
    Have you expressed these concerns with the guys on your shift? Around here most stations have their own hydrant, and that is really all it takes to go out in the parking lot and train on this stuff.
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    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Default positioning

    No one mentioned positioning. Where you place the engine is important to the operation as well. It could be to leave room for the truck or any other tactical reason.

    1. position
    2. air brake
    3. engage pump
    4. wheel chock
    5. make sure proper line is being deployed (clear hose bed)
    6. chase kinks to the door
    7. charge line to proper pressure or hook up water supply.
    8. refill tank, close tank to pump
    9. ground ladders if truck has not arrived yet

    I personnally leave my tank fill cracked when I check the wagon in the morning. It does two things; circulates water and starts to fill my tank when I get a water supply. Know your apparatus. When you engage the pump you should hear it and see the speedometer increase. Lights burnout, don't depend on them. Your main discharge gauge should show pressure also. Practice, practice, practice.
    PGFD

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    Quote Originally Posted by allpro View Post
    When you engage the pump you should hear it and see the speedometer increase. Lights burnout, don't depend on them. Your main discharge gauge should show pressure also. Practice, practice, practice.
    Our latest pumpers are coming through without the manual pump engage handles... that was the surest way to see if you were in pump. That handle would move about 1/2 inch.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Our latest pumpers are coming through without the manual pump engage handles... that was the surest way to see if you were in pump. That handle would move about 1/2 inch.
    It is all about the spec. Manual over ride handles should be standard though.
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    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    So it sounds like your good as long as all the fires you pump only require one line.
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    So it sounds like your good as long as all the fires you pump only require one line.
    He said basic. I figured we would start at the bottom and work our way up.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    It is all about the spec. Manual over ride handles should be standard though.
    Agreed....

    No excuse, but we flat out didn't think we had to spec it and lo and behold... they didn't come equipped.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    A lot of you have mentioned pulling the prime... If you're not drafting, why?

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    There really should be no reason to have to prime the pump if pumping tank water. If for some reason it is an issue on a certain apparatus, simply pulling the tank-to-pump lever before leaving the station will get water in the pump by the time you get to the scene....

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    After reading many of these replies I won't list out my entire procedure because it is nearly the same. I will point out some different things I do when I pump.

    Tank to pump: I have read many of you say that you close the tank to pump after establishing the hydrant water? Why? Once you pull it, it should remain open throughout your pump operation. If you close the tank to pump valve and you lose your hydrant line,(car drives over line and it bursts, hydrant or water system failure) the guys on the line(s) inside instantaneously lose water. This could create a potentially dangerous situation. Many argue that in this situation they would just simply open it back up. Are you really going to gamble on the time it might take to realize the water supply failure? Those few seconds could make or break a push or potentially cause a grim situation. Many also argue that they may not notice right away and will run out of tank water. My response to that is it is your job to monitor and maintain a full tank level and if you see your tank level starting to deplete, you should assume you lost your supply or you are over pumping your supply. I often leave the tank to pump open at all times from the start of the shift.

    Throttling down when switching from tank to hydrant supply: I don't throttle down. I slightly gate back the discharge control valve and watch my pressure for that discharge while opening my supply intake. If you throttle down, your next action is going to be to throttle up when you open your next discharge or handline. I was always taught the rule: Throttle up, gate back. Many newer pumps with electronic governors do this automatically. Even if you rapidly open the intake valve.

    Failure of the tank to drop: Some times with an empty or drained pump, the tank water does not drop into the pump following pulling the tank to pump. In this case, I briefly crack the deck gun valve. This quickly eliminates the vacuum in the pump and helps drop the tank water.
    Don't be a know it all! Be a know a lot!

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    If your monitoring you tank level so well and constant, can't (shouldn't) you be monitoring your supply as well?

  19. #19
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    Yes. The point I was trying to make is the fact of instantaneous loss of water with the tank to pump closed vs. not having to react to loss of supply and having 500+ gallons for the guys inside to finish the job or plan a retreat or regroup. Obviously notifying them they are on tank water if and when a supply loss occurs.

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    If you keep your tank to pump open you will overfill the tank, causing it to continuously spill out.

    In addition it's like having another discharge open and will require increased pump pressure.

    There is no reason to keep your tank to pump open if you are taking water from an external source.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    If you keep your tank to pump open you will overfill the tank, causing it to continuously spill out.

    In addition it's like having another discharge open and will require increased pump pressure.

    There is no reason to keep your tank to pump open if you are taking water from an external source.
    Have you ever ran a pump?! The tank to pump valve has nothing to do with filling the tank. Leaving the tank fill valve open will over fill the tank. Also, it is not like having another discharge open. It is a one way checked pipeline running from the tank to the intake side of the pump. I explained the reason to leave it open above and if your normal practice is to close it, you are only putting your own crew and fire attack operations at risk. Closing the tank to pump after establishing hydrant water is the #1 most common poor pump operator habit out there. I'm not going to argue with you about it. The facts are stated above. You are going to do what you are going to do on the pump. I'm just glad i'm not one of your crew. Your lack of knowledge on pump operations is pretty clear in the above statement.

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