1. #1
    Forum Member

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    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana

    Default Tanker Operations .. Is Bigger or Smaller Better ?

    Here is a question for the more rural posters here....

    Do you run larger (2000 gallons plus) or smaller tankers (1000-1500 gallons)???

    The reason I ask is I have been a firefighter in the Northeast for 24 of my first 25 years in the fire service and the departments I have been on have always opted for smaller, short wheel based, faster tankers with capicities of between 1000 and 1500 gallons. Down here in Louisiana where I have been for the past year the trend seems to be largewr tankers (very few nurse) with capicities ranging from 2500 gallons to 7000 gallons (tractor-trailers). From what I have seen I still prefer the idea of more smaller tankers in a shuttle rather than fewer, larger tankers primarily because of thier maneverablity at fill and dump sites.
    Just looking for some thoughts on the subject.

  2. #2
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    ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Winterpeg Manitoba


    We have a 1200 Gallon and 1500 Gallon..They work perfect for us...Like you said they are faster and are easier to get into places with..I know of a dept near me with a 3800 Gallon Tanker...Take for instance our call back in the woods yesterday..Our two tankers got in their easy..The 3800 gallon one may have had some difficulty making some of the turns back there..
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  3. #3
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    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Jul 2003


    Um... all large Tankers have been grounded indefinatly...

    See this thread...


    But with Tenders we have a mix. In our area if you called for a 3000 gallon Tanker you would have gotten a flying one...unit now.

    There are:

    2500 Single Axle
    4500 Tandem
    6000 Tractor trailer

    Gallon Tenders in our area. They all seem to work fine.

    If we had a uniform fleet, I would want to go with the more of the 2500 gallon tenders. They seem to be easier to operate and with more of them it seems that a water shuttle operations would work better.
    Last edited by SamsonFCDES; 05-13-2004 at 04:20 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000


    Big tankers haul more water faster where you have the roads & bridges to support them.
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  5. #5
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    May 2002
    New Zealand


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  6. #6
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    hwoods's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Lightbulb Rule of Thumb..............................

    West of the Mississippi, it's a Tender, East, it's a Tanker. Here in Maryland, It's not a tanker unless it's at least 1500 gallons. Those who say "go with what your roads and bridges will handle" are on the right track. The biggest, shinest, fastest, thingamabob in the state isn't worth much if you can't go down your side roads. Personally, I prefer a Commercial, Conventional Cab, Tandem Axle (Tri Axle over 3500 gallons) with a tank in the 2500 to 4000 gallon range, grain dumps both sides and back, operated from the cab. And don't forget the portable tank. Carry one that's about 1000 gallon capacity LARGER than your tanker. And do more than carry it. Set it up and use it every time. Then when the "Big One" hits, you'll have the operation down pat.
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  7. #7
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    Jun 2003


    It's pretty nice to be able to have a fellow Vermonter on the forums. I'm a county down from where LaFire was, and we have mostly 1000s or 1500 gallon tankers here. Mostly eliptical, but I know of 2 or 3 pumper-tanker combos.

    We have pretty good hydrant systems around here, and with mutual aide from the surrounding towns, we can have 6 or so mutual aide engines, 1 extra ladder, 1 extra 75 foot tower ladder, a cascade unit/light unit, and 3 or 4 tankers if we don't have the hydrants. All the members of the department I'm with stick with the drafting training, it's nice to be able to send our 1500gallon/1000gpm pumper-tanker and be flowing water before we are drafting.

    In the areas where we can't tap a hydrant, generally 2 trucks will be drafting and we'll have 1 truck relay pump to the scene. I've been on one call where we hit 2 hydrants, placed an engine on each hydrant and then relay pumped up the hill with 2 more pumpers. Big hill, no hydrants on the hill (apparently the water department doesn't think we can stop on a hill ) and it was about 750 feet to the scene. Good setup and we had decent flow (for that area...), I believe it was around 3500 gallons per minute combined.

  8. #8
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    Dec 1999
    NW Ohio


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  9. #9
    Dispatch Dweller
    Jay911's Avatar
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    Sep 1999
    On the way to the station. Really. It's 12 kilometers away and there's traffic.


    My department runs a 2500 gallon tanker and other area departments run everything from 1200 gallons to 4000 gallons.

    In our area, municipal fire department water transporters are called tankers, but there's a move afoot to change this. Some departments, like mine, run with a full fire pump on their tankers. These will remain to be known as tankers. The neighboring department has a water truck that is normally used by town public works but responds with the fire department when necessary. It has no fire pump, only a 2 1/2" connection and a small PTO pump, and it will be known as a tender.

    (We learned of the distinction in 1998 when we had a large building fire. We wanted the large, 4000 gallon tenders from the nearby forestry service, to do tanker shuttles with. When we had Dispatch call and request tankers, they were told that they were all at the Pincher Creek airport, a couple hundred kilometers away, and the weather was too poor to fly. Thankfully they didn't get up in the air!)

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