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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Maryland...what happens when the hydrants go dry?

    I heard radio reports that say they are organizing "tanker task forces" to deliver water to this drought stricken area. Suppose you have a fire...and the rivers and lakes are dried up. Hydrants can not be used...to save the little drinking water they have on hand. It's getting REAL close to that scenario here folks.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    As Maryland's worst drought in decades continues and with heat
    advisories predicted again during the weekend, increasingly
    desperate efforts are considered to deal with the natural disaster.
    Gov. Parris Glendening reportedly is ready to impose Level 2
    water use restrictions on Central Maryland. The city of Frederick
    is contemplating trucking in water and installing a temporary dam
    to divert water from the Monocacy River to the city's water
    treatment plant.
    And in Anne Arundel County, where the number of applications for
    well-replacement permits increased 45 percent this July over last
    July, fire stations offered free drinking water to residents.
    Never mind that at two fire stations, nobody took the county up
    on the free water offer. According to the Weather Service, central
    and southern Maryland in a severe drought that shows no sign of
    easing before winter.
    Level 1 water restrictions have been in effect in much of
    Maryland since April. This month, the restrictions were also
    applied to Baltimore City's reservoirs and its customers in
    Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties. Those restrictions prohibit
    watering grass, washing cars except at commercial car washes, and
    ask for a voluntary 10 percent reduction in water use by businesses
    and residences.
    Level 2 restrictions, which have been in effect in Frederick
    since June, likely will include a mandatory 10 percent reductions
    in water use.
    Meanwhile, Frederick is making plans to install a vinyl,
    tube-like dam in the Monocacy.
    Spanning half the width of the low-flowing river, the dam will
    be filled with water to keep it in place. Water flow is strongest
    on opposite side of the river, so the dam will be set up to funnel
    water back toward the water plant's intake.
    Marc Stachowski, Frederick's water chief, said the city received
    a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the
    Army Corps of Engineers for the project.
    The dam and its installation will cost the city $2,200.
    In Arundel, 20 of the county's 29 fire stations will continue to
    offer free drinking water to residents, even though no one stopped
    by the Riva and West Annapolis stations on Thursday looking for
    water.
    Residents near fire stations that are linked to the county water
    supply can fill containers with drinking water there.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
    Maryland Department of the Environment:
    http://www.mde.state.md.us/

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  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Don't have to go as far as Maryland for water problems with hydrants. We have had to go and have tankers added to our mutual aid request plan due to lack of water. Thank God we have an inlet from the ocean nearby and can draft ocean water for as long as we need, but we could be looking at 1 mile hose lay/relay if we needed to do that is some parts of town. Most of us have never used tankers, so we had to have them come in and run a drill for us. Knock on wood, hope we don't have to use them.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    We have designated drafting sites that have been set up for years and are pretty good at running tanker shuttles when we have to. However, we're now doubling the number of tanker support units (drafting pieces) on initial dispatch in case the primary site doesn't supply enough water, and we're adding one additional 1000 gal. engine on initial dispatch.

    There are a number of drafting sites that are so shallow now that we have to dam them up to get sufficient depth for drafting. Bones, if you're already aware of this I apologise for bringing it up, but if you have to run sea water through your engines, make sure you flush the pump out completely when you're done. We had to have the pump repacked on our tanker support unit after it drafted water out of the Chesapeake Bay at the 'mega mulch' fire we had at Sparrow's Point. Salt water is really rough on pumps and piping.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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  4. #4
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    CJ - water problems in my area are unfortunately nothing new. 10 years ago (or so) we were not allowed to use our hydrants for drilling due to creating "rusty" water conditions. We became very adept at drafting because of this. It really has gotten to be second nature for most of our "older" operators. Yes, we do a complete system flush of the pump and all water piping. We have mentioned this to our town officials and they "allow" us to use hydrant water to flush our trucks when needed. It's worked well for us in the past and see no reason to expect any future problems. Of course, if we have the need for the tankers, they will not put the sea water in their tanks, so they will be travelling quite a distance to refill themselves.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    Well, good luck with things. It's pretty bad when people are actually wishing for for a tropical storm so we get some rain. The ground here is so hard that such an event would create some flash flooding problems.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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  6. #6
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    Angry

    ok mr. njffs_a16 before you start talking about somthing that you have no idea about stop you fingers. first of all the only place in maryland talking about tankering water is frederick, and that is uderstanble becaues of all the places in md that suffer from the drout frederick is hit the harrdest. about the hydrants most places in marland except for counties close to the western shore of the bay have been using water tankers for fires a long time before the drouts. Now my Favorite part! before you start talking bad about the Anne Arundle County Fire Department (my department) and its stations lets get somting clear ok!?! first off all county stations have been giving water to people for years before the droght. It makes sense doesnt it, i mean it is a fire station shouldnt it have water? About the riva and west Annapolis stations, those 2 stations are very busy stations and have a limited crew, so they cant allways be there.
    Rescue Squad 12 to FireAlarm!!.....Squad 12?.....Give Me The 3 Alram!!!!!!

  7. #7
    Keepin it real Fyrechicken's Avatar
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    Shaun_191 lighten up alittle NJFFS_A16 is only reporting what he has found in news reports on the internet other than what you can find here at Firehouse.com. If you had checked on his other posts you will find that's the case, he's not bashing your department or any others you should know that the media has a way of twisting the truth and of getting the most basic facts wrong.




    Robert B.
    Haddon Fire Company #1

  8. #8
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    There are a couple of "dry hydrants" near my house that aren't even close to the water. And as for drafting and shuttling, That gets you back to the way things were done many years ago in most "big" cities. For us rural departments, it's just another day.

    I agree, it's pretty bad when you hope a tropical storm comes this way. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  9. #9
    Forum Member mtnfyre21's Avatar
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    a unnamed town in nc was told by there mayor that if a house is burning and no one is inside to let it burn
    they put out a emergenvy emqail and we are well enough off with appartus that we lent them a tanker fore at least 3 months.
    now that is bad
    they only have 3 days of water left and cant use hydrans
    2197 10-8
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Temptaker's Avatar
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    Shaun

    I have no idea why you went off on NJ like that. No one said anything derogatory about you, your dept, or the neighbouring depts., and no one had any intention of doing so. It was a NEWS story about a WATER shortage, to bring about a discussion regarding that very same water shortage that Depts are facing.

    I certainly hope you aren't this defensive all the time.

  11. #11
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    Here in MD, yes, the water shortage is bad. But as for fighting fires, things haven't changed alot. Almost all stations that have well water run tankers and hardly even deal with hydrants. The reservoirs have gotten below 50% so yeah, it could get to the point like ff21 described about the town in NC.
    Here in Anne Arundel Co. like NJFF_A16 stated many stations are giving out drinking water however, our station is on bottled water so we can't give out water. Almost everyone has adapted to the changes and water restrictions and the brown grass. Unfortunately we would need two tropical storms to fill the reservoirs, but maybe alot of rain over along period of time would work. Who knows.
    Megan Barnum

  12. #12
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Question

    Originally posted by shaun_191
    ok mr. njffs_a16 before you start talking about somthing that you have no idea about stop you fingers. first of all the only place in maryland talking about tankering water is frederick, and that is uderstanble becaues of all the places in md that suffer from the drout frederick is hit the harrdest. about the hydrants most places in marland except for counties close to the western shore of the bay have been using water tankers for fires a long time before the drouts. Now my Favorite part! before you start talking bad about the Anne Arundle County Fire Department (my department) and its stations lets get somting clear ok!?! first off all county stations have been giving water to people for years before the droght. It makes sense doesnt it, i mean it is a fire station shouldnt it have water? About the riva and west Annapolis stations, those 2 stations are very busy stations and have a limited crew, so they cant allways be there.
    shaun_191 Let me make this perfectly clear.

    First; I did not author the article describing the drought conditions in the area. It was taken verbatim from the Associated Press wires.

    Second; my point was to promote discussion on firefighting tactics using tankers with non potable water...as drafting sites and/or hydrants may not be usable due to low water levels in the waterways.

    Third; The article was commending the Anne Arundle Fire Department for supplying drinking water to the residents. I agree, it is highly commendable!

    Fourth; I asked the forum members to keep our firefighting brothers in their prayers....due to the fact that they may be forced to use alternate means of providing waterflow at fires. I apologize if you somehow find that offensive. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this drought situation is quite severe...and could impact the safety of both citizens and firefighters.

    Fifth; your accusatory post is unwarranted and illogical. There was absolutely nothing derogatory in my post. It draws attention to the severe drought situation, explains ongoing plans to deal with it, commends the fire department for providing drinking water and makes all of us aware of how precious our water supply is.

    Should you decide that you still take issue with the post, feel free to e-mail me at your convenience. I will be awaiting your thoughts.

    Respectfully,
    Ed Seifert
    NJFFS A16
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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  13. #13
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Does the continuing water crisis here (Maryland) cause problems with brain waves? Apparently there are some out there who do not read the newspaper or watch the news on TV. ALL of the state has a water problem, admittedly, it varies in severity from West (most water) to East (Least Water). Here in the Metro area around Baltimore and DC we are in a bind big time. All sorts of contingency plans are being drawn up to address the day when hydrants could be so low as to be useless. Our governor has ordered restrictions on water use in most areas and will tighten these as needed. My district has hydrants, but, we are setting up a water supply plan for using static sources when needed, as well as bringing in tankers. Local government may have to lease tankers to provide sufficent coverage if things get worse. Lets all pray for rain. Oh Yeah, I live in Anne ArundEL County, nice place, but brown is the color, not green this summer. Stay Safe....
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  14. #14
    Forum Member SPIPER's Avatar
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    I would hate to think what we would do here. We have hydrants in the city limits. Outside of town we usually would be able to draft from a pond or pool.

    Good reply to the unwarrented attack on you Ed.
    Steve
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  15. #15
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    Well, the drought has actually affected some FD's in central MD, despite some others that are doing fine so far.
    Our normal drafting sites in our non-hydranted areas either have dried up, or the water is located on the opposite side of 25-50 feet of thick mud. Our equipment can't go over or through the mud.
    We used to have underground cisterns at a few sites, but over years of no use, many have been emptied or destroyed.
    So in non-hydranted areas, we have added a tanker group to fire dispatches (2 tankers and a pumper/tanker plus a brush unit with drafting abilities.)
    In our hydranted areas, we are having other problems. It seems that as Central MD has grown in leaps and bounds over the past years, no one has upgraded the water mains. As a result, many hydrants are running either nearly dry or with only tiny ammounts of pressure. We're actually thinking of adding tankers to hydranted areas to add to our capacity while looking for plugs. The drought has made this worse also, as people use more and more water and there is less to be had.
    The wells are drying up, the grass is dry, the woods are dry, and you can sneeze and light off a field. The drought is not a fun time.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    As one of your neighbors, I sympathize, brother. This is yet another instance where our politicians let development proceed without the infrastructure to support it. We were discussing this on the apparatus access thread. Hopefully we get some rain soon. I don't relish the thought of fighting a woods fire in August.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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  17. #17
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    A.A. guys....same up here in Harford. Water is hard to find from a static source. Couny water system still in good shape though. It is going to be a bad fall when the large field & woods fires are happening in August. The f.d.'s in the northern part of Harford County are running additional tankers too.

  18. #18
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    Too bad for you FF in MD, but you are in the situation we face all the time. We have our floating draft pump, but the local lake is down to where the trout are learning to walk. Now the stock tanks (where the cattle drink) are our next best source. Has anyone made an inventory (like from an airplane photo) of swimming pools in your area? I sure hope you guys get rain!

  19. #19
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    The rural town in New Hampshire that my sister lives in has a list of all the homes with above and below ground pools as static water sources..they actually drafted from her pool for a structure fire across the road from her house! She also has a brook that runs behind her house, which is also listed as a possible drafting site.

    She assited the local FD in another way...she put on the coffee and made corn muffins so they could have a little something afterwards... "big brother" taught her well!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    In addition to streams, we use farm ponds and pools when the owners permit it. This is supposed to be arranged beforehand. Some of our neighbors are becoming more receptive to the idea of using their pools as water sources with the current drought.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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