Thread: rural water supply
04-22-2001, 07:34 PM #1jpchevFirehouse.com Guest
rural water supply
We are a mostly rural Dept with hydrants in only part of our district. What tactics and methods do other Deptartments use for estabilishing water supply such as folding or drop tanks, tanker shuttles etc? Ideas for setting up fill & dump sites, SOG's for filling tanker.
Capt. John C. HJFD
04-22-2001, 09:26 PM #2d308Firehouse.com Guest
We are a town of about 160 people with a district in the area of 400 sq. miles. When we are away from town we use tankers with folding tanks to supply the pumper. We fill the tankers at the closet hydrant to the fire. This has worked well for us for years now.
Hope this helps
04-22-2001, 11:05 PM #3Dutils791Firehouse.com Guest
There's several key points I'd like to bring up. The most important thing is to be progressive, and be open to suggestion/new things. If you keep loosing houses, tweek your methods until you don't anymore. If you take nothing else away from this at least read #1 and take something away from it.
1. As a wise man once said... "Okay so you have 1000 gallons in your booster tank. Now you have two rooms on fire. If you dump 1000 gallons on that fire all at once do you think it would go out? Of course. So why is it that when we get a fire in rural areas we put one line in at low pressure and tell them to choke back on the bale to save water. I have a theory it's because we get so few fires in small communities that when we get one we want to make it last as long as possible"
Please, folks...Big fire means big water. Even if you only have 1000 gallons and the next piece is four minutes behind you. That 1000 gallons through a deck gun at full bore is going to do a lot more than ****ing it away over four minutes through a hose. Trust me.
2. You can get a lot of water on wheels for not much cost. A tanker doesn't have to be fancy. It needs wheels, baffles, and a dump gate. Who cares if it is an old oil truck or not.
2. There's no room for pride. Call mutual aid as soon and as much as possible. It's good to run the trucks. It reminds them what they're on this earth for.
3. Don't be afraid to try new things. Why does the first piece out have to be a big old 1000 tank and 1000 pump that can only crest hills at 16 mph? I'm talking fast attack pumpers, even mid-sized stuff, with CAFS (Compressed Air Foam). It's lighter,causing less fatigue on the already-low manpower. Which brings me to my next point...
4. Foam - Even if you don't have the money for that foam system on your engine you can still reap the benefits of this wonder of firefighting. Here's a hint: pour a bucket or two in your dump tank. It will stretch your water a lot farther.
5. Manpower- Do you really need twenty-five guys on scene, smoking butts, and scratching their heads while they watch four guys work two inch and three-quarters? Or do you need twenty five guys driving tanker and four guys on the scene manning four portable monitors? Re-structure your manpower.
6. perfect practice makes perfect.
04-22-2001, 11:39 PM #4flash32Firehouse.com Guest
we have two engines in the dept, along with two tankers. we are also automaically mutual aid with our nieghbor dept one mile away. they also have two engines and two tankers. our first out goes to the scene, then either our second goes to the fill site or it will go the the scene to relay, from road to the first engine, or attack. the other dept would would do the same.
At the fill site we have a wye on the front of the truck with two twenty-five foot 2'1/2" with quick connects. at the dump site (folding tanks) we will either dump at the road and pump it to the attack engine, or dump it right at the attack engine.
Off the hydrant we also use two 25 foot sections of 2'1/2" with quick connects. it works very well for us.
we recently did a water shuttle drill. we were about two miles out of town. some hills not real bad though. i timed one of our tankers, it took twenty min to make one round trip and they were, "givin' er da 'berries." we realized that if we ever had a fire in that area we were done for if we didn't have mutual aid. we would need all the tankers that we could get within ten- fifteen miles of the area to keep that water comin'.
so i would suggest that you do some water shuttle drills. set it up like a real fire scene. se what works for you and what doesn't work for you. only way to tell is to try it. Be safe out there.
Adam J. Dorn
These are my opinions and not of any group or org. that i belong to.
04-23-2001, 01:50 AM #5eyecueFirehouse.com Guest
In response to dutils. I have seen the deck gun open on in town structure fires when no water supply was secured. The fire didnt go out and the firefighter had to pack hose by hand for 1 city block. Dont open the big devices unless you have the water supply to back it up. A hand line is better at conserving and applying what you want, where you need it when water supply is an issue. Remember the three rules, Protect, Contain and extinguish? If you have limited water then you dont let other things catch fire. If that issue is handled then you contain what is on fire and if that one is ok then you go for the kill.
04-23-2001, 01:58 PM #6cfr3504Firehouse.com Guest
We have no hydrants, period. The closest municipal water supply is over 15 miles away. We do have 9 dry hydrants scattered over our 100+ square mile area. All of our major fires involve drop tanks and tanker shuttle. We have 2 tankers 1250 gal, and 1500 gal. And we have automatic mutual aid on structure fires, which will bring at least 1 additional tanker from the 2nd in company, and we can get more as requested. Our procudure is usually to send our mini-pumper (w/ PTO driven 2-stage Waterous 350 gpm pump) to the nearest dry hydrant (or pond, or creek, or whatever is most accessable) to set up a draft and fill the tankers. Or if we are lucky and the water supply is close enough, we will lay supply line to the pumper.
04-23-2001, 04:14 PM #7S. CheathamFirehouse.com Guest
I don't mean any disrespect eyecue, but I have to disagree with the "conserving" part. "Conserving" water only conserves the fire. You can't protect anything until you control the fire. I think those three rules apply to hose placement.
Remember the old formula (L x W x # of Floors) divided by 3. That formula will give someone in the field a number of GPM to "control the fire." If we think of the fire in the form of an arc, at the beginning of the fire it would only take a few gpm to put out the fire, however as the fire grows, the more gpms are needed until the fire has involved all the fuel and it starts on the downward slope of the arc. We want to catch the fire in the upward slope of the arc where less gpms are necessary.
For instance a fire involving 25% of a rancher that is 60ft x30ft will need 150 gpm to control. That is only one 1 3/4 inch line, but if we put less than 150 gpm on the fire, it will continue to grow. As you are saving water the fire "arc" is climbing and requiring more gpm to control.
We run 3000 gallons to a structure (1000 pumper & 2000 tanker). If we had used the entire capacity of that 1 3/4 line and put the water on the fire itself, it would have gone out and the rest of the building and contents would have been saved.
I have seen it first hand numerous times. In the past, we would never pull the 2 1/2 line on a large residential fire. We would pull up and with a large amount of fire (usually showing through the roof because of long response times), we would surround the fire with 1 1/2 lines. We would squirt water on one side of the fire then shut down that line and squirt water on the other side of the fire. We would knock down the fire a little and run out of water. While waiting for water, the fire would be back at full force and we would start the cycle again. All we did was turn the water to steam before it even got close to the base of the fire. If we had placed the 2 1/2 in service, we would have put out the fire quicker and with less damage. You are only wasting water if you are not putting it to the base of the fire (I understand about steam production and its firefighting capabilities. We are talking rural fires with long response times, where 99/100 have flashed and are venting from the roof by the time we get there).
[This message has been edited by S. Cheatham (edited 04-23-2001).]
04-23-2001, 11:13 PM #8d308Firehouse.com Guest
Dutils791, you bring up some very good points about rural FDS. We use a 1250gpm pumper with drop tanks to draft from then supply it with 2 2000 gallon tankers then a 3000 gallon tanker and finaly a 4000 gallon tanker. Also we use foam on all residental fire and ground cover fires. If it is a working structure fire then the next closest mutual aid town is called to assist with additonal mutaul aid as needed. All good point that you brought about rual fire supply. Also which hurts your rep. more calling for help when you need it, our losing a house beacause your pride got in the way. We call for help at the slightest sign of trouble.
Hope this info helps.
[This message has been edited by d308 (edited 04-23-2001).]
04-24-2001, 03:13 AM #9eyecueFirehouse.com Guest
The first thing is size up. If you determine that there are no exposures then you can decide what appliance to use. I never restricted the use of hoselines to those under 2 1/2. If you want to drag those out then by all means go ahead. Rather than trying to guess the size of a structure, it is easier to say 2 or more rooms or more than one floor, get out the big hose. But if you have an exposure problem and run out of water with a large nozzle in operation, you have defeated your purpose of Protect,Control and Extinguish.
04-24-2001, 09:59 PM #10mongofire_99Firehouse.com Guest
A wise man also said conserving water really means the fire would have went out faster if the fire department never showed up.
10-04-2008, 10:07 PM #11
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
I take rural water ver seriously. We had a major screw up on a structure fire where we (1st engine) laid in on positive water but caught the wrong plug and laid off all our 5 inch supply and could not complete the lay in. our second engine came in to the development from a secondary road and laid in from another hydrant which was close and was able to connect to my (1st in engine) truck. when I connected the supply and sounded my airhorn to charge the supply, both FF turned their hydrants on and as a result no water ever made it to the truck. The IC had no idea what was happening and called for dump tank operations. The IC put another dept incharge of this operation and for what ever reason the foldatanks and system never got set up the way I would have liked it to. water was unreilable and we could not safely make any kind of interior attack. We lost the structure. It was a total embarressment. Please take the time to train on communications and Rural water supply. I have made it my personnal vendetta to make sure that all FF do not go thru what we did on the run.
10-06-2008, 01:26 AM #12
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
- Golden City 1 hour south of fort smith
The main thing we have found in our district and county is the importance of AUT0MATIC AID. It doesn't matter how far away they are as long as they can get there with in the 2hrs as IS0 requires. To many departments use the excuse that other departments are to far away. We have automatic aid agreements with 4 fire departmets which will bring 10,000. We bring 1,200 pumper and 2,000 tanker. With automatic aid rememeber the other fire departments are leaving there fire houses about the same time you are and are in route to the fire at same time you are. So once we are at the scene we can use a 2 1/2 hose hose for 12 minutes. Thats a good amout of water to stop the advance of a fire in a normal single family home.
Look at it this way for a rural fire department time was:
our department and 4 others get page at same time:
-get page leave home drive to station...................... 7 minutes
-start engines, open bay doors, and leave....................3 minutes
-avg drive time to fire ............................................5 minutes
-at scene set up, start flowing water 250gpm .............4 minutes
-3,200 gallons at 250 gpm .......................................12 minutes
total time from page..............31 minutes
so then the first automatic aid department has 31 minutes from the page to arrive. if they bring just 2,500 gallons that means the second automatic aid department has 41 miutes to arrive and dump and you have yet to run out of water, pumping at 250 gpm's. Plus our tanker then has 22 minute to refill and be back to dump, or more time if we add couple tankers. Trust me it works just practice.
hope this is understandable and shows how automatic aid works and how far away the auto aid departments can be. If you have departments that are close you may be able to get flows of 500 to 750 gpm's
10-06-2008, 11:55 AM #13
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
- TEXAS GULF COAST
once a size up is made then the decision is made whether or not to set up shuttle operations with a drop tank and/or page for mutal aid with another tanker and engine
if mutual aid responds, we will set drop tanks next to each other and just keep feeding them.
once a load of water is dumped that truck immediately goes to refill whether it is needed or not.Puttin the wet stuff on the red stuff!
10-08-2008, 09:17 AM #14
- Join Date
- Apr 2000
- IL, USA
I've put together an online tool that can be used to make the kind of calculations detailed above. It does a good job of showing the positive impact of automatic aid vs. mutual aid.
10-09-2008, 12:19 AM #15
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
- Golden City 1 hour south of fort smith
Andy c0uld y0u explain the chart 0n y0ur site alittle what times are y0u t0 enter f0r the dispatch time?
10-09-2008, 11:29 AM #16
- Join Date
- Apr 2000
- IL, USA
10-09-2008, 04:50 PM #17
Been there done that
I now live in a Rural Fire District after coming from a large city department. Our Fire Chief also is here now after retiring from a large department. At his first large fire as Chief he was upset at the inability to put out a large house fire with the water supply he had for his firefighters and volunteers. We have tankers and mutual aid but with all that we still lost the house. I told him that three things happened...1. the fire did not spread 2. nobody was hurt and 3. The fire went out. When you are from a department that has a class 1 water system and move to a class 4 or 5 you need to look at your priorities.
It's a new ball game and you have to work with what you have and remember....as long as you save lives , keep it from spreading and nobody gets hurt it's a good day.Respectfully,
Lifetime Member CSFA
IAFF Alumni Member
10-26-2008, 10:07 PM #18
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
11-24-2008, 02:49 PM #19
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
We have 5 pumpers and 1 tanker truck, The tanker holds 9,600 gallons of water so we just set up a few folding tanks, and pump from them..
Our tanker is a a 18 wheeler , type that they used to carry some type of syrup in the tanker.... We got it free of charge from some one in area ..
11-25-2008, 08:31 PM #20
We use the 2 diamond shaped porta-tank arrangement for most structure fires and drafting is the responsiblity of the 2nd due engine. But please do not overlook relays.
We had a fire during a snow storm 2 years ago 2500 feet off the road. u/a there was 50% involvement. Our 4000 feet relay was established in 15 minutes using 4 pumper (supplimented by tankers initally for the initall attack water supply) and were flowing over 1500 gpm. We use auto aid but preplan your areas, if demands will be over 500 gpm then you should/must get a relay (and also suppliment with tankers as needed, not enough can be said about having extra dump tanks around that are full)
11-26-2008, 06:36 AM #21
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Far too many variables to design any rule. Where I come from....
Attack pumper lays into fire and first in tanker supplies direct (for expediency.) At first tanker exchange a manifold (which is on the tankers) is installed so that the attack pumper is not disturbed again. Tankers can then keep a constant flow of water to the attack pumper.
IF the distance and water requirements necessitate it, drop tanks will be set and a pumper assigned to draft and relay to attack pumper. That way tankers will be on the road instead of supplying the attack pumper.
With available tankers we may have one assigned to a weak fill site so that tankers can be refilled quicker. It all depends on number of available tankers and the available fill site. A pumper is always assigned to a fill site if it is a draft situation.
With the automatic mutual aid in place, we normally have a minimum of 9000 gallons arriving on scene with 4000 of it arriving within 90 seconds of the attack pumper.
Sometimes it takes a little more than casual thought and that is where a water supply officer really earns his pay.
11-29-2008, 03:42 PM #22
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
We are in a similar boat as the original poster. We have a small hydrant district in the more built-up area of town in which we can do conventional water supply ops, but the remaining is dry hydrants with ponds and cisterns and We do things slightly unorthodox (as far as rural areas go) due to our staffing, doesn't leave us much choice. If we have 3-4 on shift, the engine (700 gal. tank w/ CAFS and a 55' ladder w/foam) and tanker (3000 gal.,1250 pump and lines) will both roll. The tanker becomes a nurse piece initially, and the engine operator runs both trucks while the remaining 2-3 set up (our auto aid is close so we can usually get an attack going quickly). As more personnel arrive, they set up the dump tank by the tanker and that pieces becomes the water supply engine. The mutual aid tankers then supply that op, usually with a second dump tank w/ jet siphon. That's the main reason both of our tankers are set up to be pumper tankers. Usually if we take one out-of town it gets used as a tanker, but in-town the first tanker their is really just a big engine. As far as hose goes, nothing fancy. We do have a rural hitch but it usually doesn't get used. We keep a 75' rolled LDH feeder in the engineer's compartment on the engine in the staffed station so that we can quickly setup for the initial nurse phase. It's worked out to be the quickest way for us to do the most at once. Engine operator hooks that up to the Jaffery valve, rolls it out, then sets the aerial (if needed), the tanker operator grabs that line it hooks into his discharge and goes off to work, then all the engine operator has to do is walk a few feet back to the tanker and open the discharge when he needs the water. By the time we've used the 3700 gal. the full operation is usually set up. It sounds sketchy but it works.
If we have 2 (minimum staffing) on, we just both roll on the engine and hope for the best. Fortunately, our mutual aid towns are pretty good at getting a good water supply op set up. And if we're really lucky some call personnel will get other trucks on the road quickly.
01-28-2009, 03:43 PM #23
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
- Cleveland, Texas
We're in a rural area (app. 200 sq. miles) with hydrants covering about 1/4 of the area and these are spaced miles apart. Flow from these is 500GPM at best and as low as 200GPM on some.
We roll one engine and two tankers (3000 and 2500 gallons) on every structure fire. First in tanker generally will supply the engine using 3" hose and the second tanker will then fill the first.
I know this sounds inefficient, but due to the way our response is often spaced out, by the time the first tanker arrives, the engine is almost empty and there isn't time nor manpower to set up drop tanks and do a true shuttle. However, if the fire requires it, we will suspend operations till we can set up an effective supply.
We also several local departments with tankers we can call for mutual aid.
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