1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Water Tanker Shuttles

    My question is this, Should Engine companies be included in a water shuttle relay? My feeling is Yes, because when you don't have any water, 500 to 1000 gals. is better than nothing. Sure they slow things down but if you plan it out it might just work. Let me know how you feel on this.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I understand your concern for water. After all, it IS the FD's RESPONSIBILITY to supply water for firefighting. Keep in mind that the water must be loaded and offloaded QUICKLY in a shuttle. Typically this wouldn't be the case with an engine, unless provisions (direct tank fill @1,000 GPM; offloading @1,000 GPM) have been made. I STRONGLY suggest that you get a copy of Bill Eckman's book "FIRE DEPT. WATER SUPPLY HANDBOOK" from "Fire Engineering". It is the encyclopedia of water supply. Also, Bill conducts seminars throughout the country. In fact, we are planning one in NC for Spring. Would you be interested in seeing a 1,000 GPM water shuttle? If so, let me know.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The previous post is correct, it is a fun book however the author cannot show anything but mediocre ISO ratings for his work. What is the point other than prove you can flow the needed amount and get a break on everyone's insurance. If you can prove it then you can fight fire with it.

    Out here we've demonstrated 3500 to 7700 gpm shuttles sustained for 2 and 3 hours.

    Don't forget one 5" hose is equal to 5 to 11 tankers in a shuttle and costs a lot less than a tanker. In the one to 3 mile shuttle hose always wins.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    a 1000 gallon engine will fill in 2 minutes and pump off in 2 minutes so at one mile you are looking at 100 gpm. 2 miles 70 gpm.

    A 2000 gallon tanker at 2 miles only moves with the 1000 fill and dump suggestion 200 gpm.

    If you have more engines than tankers odds are the engines will pump off more than the tankers can shuttle.

    I don't think I'd follow the book. We use homemade 14 inch dumps with jets and off load 4000 gallons in 30 seconds and fill at 4000 to 7000 gpm. The 1000/1000 is a fun number but at least we can show a ISO Class 3 in the rural areas doing the right thing not following the book.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    one thing that my dept(avoca vol. fd)is doing
    is that all engines now are built as pumper/
    tankers.meaning that they have a 1000gallon
    tank& 1250gpm pump.also have a dump valve
    on the back for quick dumping into a portable
    dump tank.fill time on a yellow hydrant is
    aprox 1-2min. dump time about the same.


  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for all the replies. I have the book that you have suggested. Been thru the class. But i feel they are wasting time sitting on the seen. People water is water, lets not waste this. It can be done with the proper training and connections. This will be my goal to do at our next drill this spring. But keep replying, maybe some one might have a good idea out there. Mike

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In my fire department we have succussfully used engines to shuttle water at times. It is true that they are difinately slower than tankers, but I think the real trick is to know when to pull them out of the rotation when more tankers arrive on scene.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ok, so sub-1000 gallon trucks are rare for us, but our standard "high flow" shuttle probably fits into you're plan...

    Our first alarm typically brings 1 1200gwt Engine-Tank that goes to fire attack. There is another 1200gwt Engine-Tank, and 2 1000gwt Engine-Tanks responding on the first alarm.

    We conduct pump off tanker shuttles -- the tankers pump directly into the attack tanker. Sometimes we do modify this depending on the scene, often needing to lay LDH up a long driveway (no 3" supply lines...) with a base tanker at the bottom of the driveway to receive incoming tankers.

    I've misquoted our flows on the low side in the past (my mistake in math ) but here's typical delivery rates for small tankers from a 1991 drill in our district. All have at least a 1000gpm pump, and most dual 3" or greater tank to pump plumbing:
    ET 161 1000gwt; 199gpm/mile
    ET 191 1200gwt; 244gpm/mile
    ET 112 1400gwt; 276gpm/mile
    ET 193 1200gwt; 230gpm/mile
    ET 192 1200gwt; 240gpm/mile
    Using these tankers into ET 190 1500gwt, we moved 349gpm for 86 minutes over a 3.5 mile round trip. Yep, to get that efficiency, it was fairly manpower and leadership intensive.

    For most house fires, even agricultural buildings that to the "protect the exposures" point, the small tankers can move adequate water for us.

    If we need to go to a "High Flow", as the larger 2000 to 3000gwt Engine-Tanks start to arrive from the next layer out of mutual aid stations, they start to take over. These big boys can move upwards of 500gpm/mile. As the large tankers take over, the small tankers are withdrawn -- it helps to "smooth" out the flow, and smooth consistent delivery of water is what you want. Keep the trucks on the road -- if you have trucks waiting to dump or waiting to fill, something needs to be improved or you have more water supply than water use! We have moved upwards of 1000gpm over 3 miles away from the end of our hydrant system using pump off shuttles, but that's about the practical limit and beyond 1000gpm, you need to go to dumping tankers.

    But, the little guys can be directed to setup a second fill and dump site using the smaller tankers as a supplement, depending on who your scene is laid out and located. So if all you have initially is the little engines, blow 'em off...but have them get out of the way as the big boys move in.

    GPM/Mile is an excellent way to rate your tankers so you can fairly accurately estimate what you can move. It's the gallons delivered, the time it took, and the round trip distance covered. Run several shots through a truck to get a fairly accurate average. Now take one, such as ET 191 above at 244gpm/mile. That's a mile round trip. Say you're 2 miles from a water source, that's a four mile round trip. 244gpm/4 = round numbers, ET 191 will give you 60gpm in that scenario if it's all alone. If you need to flow 300gpm, you need 5 trucks the equivelant of ET 191 to move it.

    I'll also say this, consistently the biggest single factor in tanker rating is the tank size and off load rate. Like I said, most big tankers in the 2000-3000gpm range can deliver 500gpm/mile in our area...but we had a neighboring department with a 3500gwt tanker with only a 350gpm pump. That small pump kept the off-load time so long, it wasn't practical in our shuttles where we look for our small tankers to off-load at 600gpm or so and get back on the road. That off-load rate is also why pump-off shuttles, I believe, become impractical much above 1000gpm -- even dumping two trucks at once at 600gpm, you still loose a little to efficiency...and it's almost impossible to coordinate pumping off three at once. You need the dump valves to off load the trucks faster!

    And whereas tank size & dump rate (and fill rate, too) determine how much a tanker moves...the consistency of delivery determines how much a shuttle moves. When you get into feast-or-famine shuttles where trucks are bunched up, you got problems. Mixing big and small tankers exagarates the bunching problem.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Yeh,what he said. "But,the little guys can be directed to setup a second fill and dump site using the smaller tankers as a supplement"Don't let um bunch up.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    /////GPM/Mile is an excellent way to rate your tankers

    .///// If you need to flow 300gpm, you need 5 trucks the equivelant of ET 191 to move it.

    ////I believe, become impractical much above 1000gpm --

    Hmmm, here is some data from some of the best rated FD's:

    Rattlesnake, CO Shuttle only done on ice and 8 inches of snow
    Distance Engines Tenders Total
    mile 360 gpm 300 gpm 2080 gpm
    1 mile 280 gpm 252 gpm 1680 gpm
    1.5 miles 229 gpm 217 gpm 1411 gpm
    2 miles 194 gpm 191 gpm 1219 gpm

    Shuttle Relay mix

    Distance Shuttle Relay Total GPM
    mile 2080 gpm 2000 gpm 4080 gpm
    1 mile 1680 gpm 896 gpm 2576 gpm
    1.5 miles 1411 gpm 350 gpm 1761 gpm
    2 miles 1219 gpm 194 gpm 1413 gpm

    Dolores CO

    Round Trip Travel Distance
    tank 1 Mile 2 Miles 3 Miles 4 Miles 5 Miles
    2880 295 219 174 144 123
    2,880 308 226 178 147 125
    900 142 92 68 54 45
    Total 6,660 745 537 420 345 293

    Montezuma county CO
    miles each way
    tank size 1 2 3 4 5
    1,620 196 139 107 88 74
    1,350 179 123 94 76 64
    3,150 317 236 188 156 134
    2,700 273 203 162 134 115
    1,620 253 165 123 98 81
    1,260 204 132 97 77 64
    3,600 365 272 228 180 154
    2,880 313 229 180 148 126
    2,880 313 229 180 148 126
    2,880 313 229 180 148 126
    2,880 313 229 180 148 126
    2880 295 219 174 144 123
    2880 308 226 178 147 125
    900 142 92 68 54 45
    Totals 37,800 4,327 3,154 2,464 1,993 1,692 gpm
    Ave 2,224 255 186 145 117 100 gpm

    Beatty, NV

    1 2 3 4 5

    E-2 283 232 197 171 151
    E-3 182 112 81 64 52
    E-4 124 79 58 46 38
    T-5 234 195 167 146 130

    Totals 823 gpm 618 gpm 503 427 gpm 371 gpm

    Loveland, CO

    With three 1800 gallon tenders and one 1000 gallon engine
    1 mile 844 gpm
    2 miles 563 gpm
    3 miles 423 gpm
    4 miles 338 gpm
    5 miles 282 gpm

    Fallon, NV 11.5
    size 1 2 3
    1 2000 268 178 133
    2 2500 335 222 166
    3 2000 268 178 133
    4 2500 335 222 166
    5 4000 537 396 266
    6 3000 402 267 200
    7 7000 724 567 482
    8 5000 671 445 333
    9 5000 584 371 310
    10 2000 350 219 144
    11 3000 402 260 194
    12 3000 350 243 192
    5226 gpm 3568 gpm 2719 gpm

    The common thread in all the above is they all have ISO Class 4's or better in their rural areas. Miles posted ie 1 mile is one mile both ways. ISO subtracted dump tank volume, 10% of tank capacity limited travel times etc.
    ///349 GPM 3.5 MILE ROUND TRIP WITH 5 TANKERS is pretty good but you'll notice above there aree rigs that can do that all by their self or with just one or two helpers. The best 5 rig 3.5 mile shuttle would bring 1400 gpm. It all depends on how you set up your operations and equipment.

    2000 to 7700 gpm one mile each way shuttles and 1100 gpm 15 miles each way have been demonstrated to ISO by the above FD's.

    How do they do it? Fill points that fill over the tiop at flows to 8000 gpm, the use of siphons to fill apparatus( a 200 gpm pump will fill at 2000 gpm)14 inch dumps with jets, using up to 21 drop tanks, using large dump tanks 4000 - 5000 gallons,
    conecting 10 or 14 inch dump tank drains together to transfer water, and automating every task. All but one of the FD's are volunteer. The above cover several thousand total square miles.

    Nurse tanker relays of 1000 gpm were proven by Suttter county CA, they never use drop tanks. If they did their flows would double.

    It makes no sense to use a 10 inch dump valve on a 1500 gallon tanker and the same size dump on a 4000. Double the dumps increase the size. The same is true for fill lines.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In a shuttle operation, the only thing an engine should be doing is drafting out of the port-a-tank to supply another engine or to pump its own lines.

  12. #12
    Engine 224
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Yes, water is water but a shuttle is water per unit of time, i.e. GPM.

    Every shuttle unit has a turn around time that is independent of the tank size. Things like hooking up to the fill pumper or manuvering to dump take the same time whether you have a 1000 gallon tank or a 4000 gallon tank.

    Also, travel time is nearly the same unless the tanker is grossly underpowered.

    Try running a shuttle with a 1000 gallon tanker and a 3000 gallon tanker. You will quickly conclude the pumper can't run with the big dogs.

    Captain704 has the right approach - pull them out of the rotation as soon as there are enough of the big ones to run the shuttle.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Larry, what was the point of your last post?

    I never intended, indeed thought I was kinda clear the small tankers can't move as much water as the big tankers. Yep, I'm sure you have tankers that can move as much as all 5 of the small dual-purpose fire attack & shuttle tankers I listed -- and a few of them aren't practical in my state due to bridge law limitations.

    But the smaller engine-tanks can initiate a decent flow until larger engine-tanks are available. While they might be a bit bigger than the upto 1000gallon trucks DC was talking about, it does give a little bit more relevant numbers than yours.


  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'd suggest anyone going through this process use ISO numbers because they are realistic and are what counts to lower ratings.

    [This message has been edited by LHS' (edited July 09, 2000).]

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest



    The original question was on using 500 to 1000gwt engines in a shuttle -- my numbers are a little closer to those size trucks than your 2000 gallon trucks! It was clear in my post that bigger trucks move more water!

    Second, read! I said, "using pump off shuttles, but that's about the practical limit and beyond 1000gpm, you need to go to dumping tankers." You said, "Nurse tanker relays of 1000 gpm were proven by Suttter county CA, they never use drop tanks. If they did their flows would double." Gee, sure sounds like we're in agreement on that! I didn't say there was limit for tanker shuttles at 1000gpm...I said there is a limit for PUMP-OFF style shuttles around 1000gpm!

    But hey, we're a 9 in our rural area...haven't gone for the upgrade yet simply because there have been other priorities over the *modest* savings it would have for our taxpayers. I guess it doesn't matter that we've used LDH longer than anyone else in the country (1951), had dump tanks as far back as the fourties. Chaired the original NFPA Rural Fire Service committee and ran the tests to develop the first of the modern tankers in the sixties. Nope, haven't been using dump tanks for years, but I suspect we'll see them return in the next few years for the simple reason we continue to refine tactics for the geography of our town. And before you might even think resting on laurels, since I joined in 1987 our average fire flow for a "fully involved" fire has gone from 350gpm to 1000+gpm, with several fires hitting 2000+ in our town and immediate vicinity...at the same time we've been among the early adopters in the Northeast of CAFS and Class A foam.

    [This message has been edited by Dalmatian90 (edited July 08, 2000).]

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