1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Rural Water Supply

    Questions from a FF with only rudimentary knowledge of Rural Water Supply...

    I work as a volunteer Firefighter with a department that covers 89 square miles. As with many rural departments, during the day we are plagued with manpower problems. I have read with fascination information from Fallon, NV (I'm very IMPRESSED!!!), Rattlesnake, CO, and the like.

    My question is this. What is the most viable tactic for ensuring good delivery of water to your first-in pumper with a) limited manpower and b) limited training (I don't like to say that, but it's a reality). I liked the idea of having a pumper lay LDH down the driveway and have a "pumper tanker" pump to it through a siamese. My contention is the pumper tanker has enough GPM to supply the pumper, and then a siamese can hook in so the second arriving pumper can hook up, set up it's dump tank, and release the pumper tanker to go and refill, thus starting the tanker shuttle. Currently, however, our tankers (one of which is 3000 gallons) only pump about 300 GPM...I don't think that it could keep up with a 1250 gpm pumper. Some of the older fogeys on the dept say that 300 gpm is all you need (It'll supply two handlines, they say), but being in a rural area with a delayed response with full involvement on arrival just doesn't seem to make sense. Am I on the right track, or does someone have some better ideas? Like I said, I usually run the Knob, but I want to expand my horizons.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    //What is the most viable tactic for ensuring good delivery of water to your first-in pumper with a) limited manpower and b) limited training

    I believe you should designyour fire truck after you have put together the operations manual for your department and for the apparatus.

    Eliminate in the dedign and expectations of the apparatus all non-esssential steps. Rattlesnakes story with prictures on their page was written before they drew up their specs(the photos of course came later) The builder used the story to understand the concepts desired.

    Here are some practical examples. Pump panels areconfusing. So don't have one. Push a couple buttons on a green panel and everything just happens. The pump engages, the foam comes on, the generatro kicks in, the flood lights come on, the jaws pump comes on, the pump pressure rises to a predetermined pressure, all cord reels are powered up, the compressor engages, and unneeded warning lights shut down.

    The buttons on the in cab switch panel can be thrown with the vehicle in motion eliminating the chance of damaging the vehicle. If everything is up and running when you get out of the cab life is pretty easy.

    Think how many training steps you've eliminated. If this is really an emergency service then the rig ought to contribute. 20,000 watts of floods on, no cords, no pigtails, no raising and turning floodlights, no starting a generator. Jaws up and running, no hoses to connect, no pumps to start, no dragging heavy pumps and tools. etc.

    All the firefighters do is open whatever spigot is needed to charge their lines. If they need the jaws, a tropod light, cord light, air bags, sawzall, air chisel, or hard suction line, a piece of velcro is released and they walk off with the tool ready to go because everything is preconnected.

    Design your apparatus for one person operation. If you can stop at a hydrant and lay a line without getting out of the cab that is a good thing with minimal staffing. If the hydrant will turn itself on that is another good thing.

    If the pumper will fill its own water tank and open its own side suction valve without operator intervention those are good things.

    You apparatus should be setup for maximum flow with one guy. That might requiring laying two 5 inch supply lines that charge themselves, having multiple master streams possibly remote controlled, portable monitors connected to 3 inch or larger line for deployment by one firefighter to remote areas or to go deep inside a structure.

    Apparatus should be set up for multiple long and short preconnected lines, we carry four 400 footers and 8 150's.

    //I liked the idea of having a pumper lay LDH down the driveway and have a "pumper tanker" pump to it through a siamese.

    If you like that idea simply lay two lines from the attack rig with a water siphon(turbo draft) and you won't need a pumper to supply the siamese, you'll supply yourself, each company simply dumps into a dump tank at the driveway with the water siphon pumping up the driveway.

    Standardization of the fleet allows all rigs to be do anything rigs.

    //Currently, however, our tankers (one of which is 3000 gallons) only pump about 300 GPM...I don't think that it could keep up with a 1250 gpm pumper.

    Use the Turbo draft, and simply shuttle water with it

    Other options that make a huge difference ar anything that lightens the load on the firefighter, ie CAFS, the attack line weighs one half and you eat lots of fire. Use 50 feet of 1 inch hose on the end of your 1 3/4 inch lines and simply boost your EP 75 to 120 psi to maintain the same flow. You'll reduce the drag weight by 1/4 and really move through a building.

    Look at preconnnecting your suction lines, anything over 15 seconds means you have not quite figured it out. If you can't lift water out to 400 feet from the rig and at least 60 feet below grade you need more work.

    The above is a 50 foot draft setup with lift ability of 40 feet.

    Simplify through carts, if it is big and heavy put wheels under it. Try to reduce steps by putting all your cribbing, or extrication tools on one cart.

    Prefigure all pump pressures out to anything you could possibly do.

    The chart should be all weather and mounted for quick use.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for the info, LHS!!! Now, the trick is me (the young guy) getting the point across to them (the old guys)....

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest



    LHS made this topic no fun! He didn't let me tell you about the Turbo Draft. But I going to throw in my ideas anyway.

    The Turbo Draft is an excellent tool to have in rural operations. Do you have alot of ponds, lakes, rivers, lakes or any other water source in your area that at least two foot deep? If you do like many other rural areas then you need to get one (no I am not a salesman, just a satisfied customer).

    Check out the post on Turbo Drafts in the Fiire Ground Tatics forum.

    Now I will say I love my 5" but last weekend we had a house fire down a little dirt road that we should of laid a line on. We showed up on a 750 gal pumper and a 1500 gal pumper/tanker was right behind us about 1 min out. I decided not to lay one because the other trucks were 6 to 8 minutes out, the approx. 1800' to 2000' lay would have used all of my tankers water just filling the line. Once our new 3000 gal tankers are in service that won't be a problem anymore.


  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There's no question that, when it comes to rural ops, and water supply, LHS really knows his stuff.

    I think you answered some of your own questions though.

    Limited manpower is a HUGE part of the equation.

    If you've only got the manpower to run two handlines, you can't use most of your 1250gpm's pump capability (as the old fogey's on your dept said).

    Also, once additional manpower arrives, there always seems to be other tactics which need to be done, siphoning those personnel off. (ventilation, forcing entry, salvage, SAR, etc.) (Of course, another big bag of worms that I'm realllllly trying not to open here: most rural depts. in my area suffer from the same lack of training, and therefore, tactics such as ventilation are never thought of at the fireground.-This is NOT a flame on volunteers. It's merely an observation on typical levels of training and experience. I love volunteers! Our world would stink without them.)

    The bottom line is, without alternative ideas to the tanker system, you are stuck flowing a limited amount of water (probably somewhere around 500gpm, max.).

    You should figure out your water supply first. Then you can look at the tactics. If you have drafting sources, you can use a bigger pump, and implement many/all of LHS'es ideas. If you're in the middle of the desert SouthWest, with no drafting sources, and 89 sq. miles to cover with a few trucks, stick with a small pump.

    My suggestion (for what it's worth):
    With VERY small manpower turn-out, you could even consider switching your pumper-tanker to your first-out, utilizing the small (300gpm) pump to supply those two handlines (which is all you can man anyway) off the large booster tank, while your back-up personnel lay a very long lay (think in terms of thousands of feet) of LDH to a water source and pump to the first engine instead of using a tanker relay. (See Firehouse magazine, March, 1992, page 76) Your 1250gpm pumper with 5-6000ft. of 5" LDH laid could supply 300gpm from the draft(!) or more to the first engine, and there's no tanker relay!

    This has the advantage of allowing your first-in unit to concentrate on SAR (#1 priority) and gives them a full 10 minutes of water on board for fire suppression, without even considering further water supply. With addition of CAFS and PPV, that first 3000 gallons would often be all you need. If not, and still with small additional manpower, the LDH relay described above could then supply all the water you can utilize with the still-small manpower levels.

    Just a thought.

  6. #6
    Larry Welle
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    All I can say is WOW!

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