1. #1
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    Question Your thoughts on my water tender idea...

    Hey to everyone, I was in the middle of doing an All Areas Risk Assessment for our department in North Idaho. We are a very rural department in a high Wildland-Urban Interface area. We were researching our county's wildland fire risk assessment and water resources were a big issue in that document. Our district covers 126 square miles, and only two small communities have hydrants (each within .5 miles of each other). Water is an issue.

    My question is what are your thoughts/concerns about a tractor driven large capacity tender? We tossed around the idea of a tractor drawn 7,000+gallon nurse tender with a second dry unit on standby (no water unless needed) Full tank would go to the scene, drop the trailer and bobtail back to town and fill the other tank and return. We have several guys (and gals) on the department who have Class A CDL's with Tanker experience and a training course would be MANDATORY for any and all engineers.

    Has anyone tried this approach? and what would you see as the positives and negatives of a project like this?

    --Chief Sanford
    Tensed Fire Protection District
    Tensed Idaho

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    Default Hopefully some help

    Chief,

    I can't speak from personal experience but hopefully I can point you in the right direction to get some help.

    Below I have posted a photo of a 7,000-gallon tanker in Imlay City, MI which is located about 1 1/2 northwest of Detroit. They have hydrants in town but cover a ton of rural and farming community. This is the second largest tanker in Michigan that I know of. The largest belongs to a department in the Upper Peninsula if I recall correctly.

    You can try and reach the acting Chief at 1-888-239-6714 his name is Kip Reaves. Hopefully he can inform you more about their experience with this unique tanker.

    This is a link to the PIC of Imlay City's tanker it's about half way down on the page.

    http://www.youngstownfire.com/phpbb/...r=asc&start=30

    Kris

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    WOW, You must have read my mind DcmKris. When I was reading this initial post I was thinking of the Imlay City tanker. I grew up about 8 Miles from there(Capac).

    One thing I would worry about is manuverability on rural roads. We have several dead Ends that i would worry about taking a truck like that down.

    Have you ever thought of using CAFS? You wouldent need as much water to do the knock down.

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    How about water points? Have you looked at those yet? Lakes, Ponds, creeks, swimming pools? 7000 gallons is a LOT of water to be driving on backroads, so why not try to find water somewhere nearby instead of sending behemoth into town for a hydrant?

    Another problem you may run into is that a tanker as large as 7,000 gallons might be close to or even over the combination weight limit on some bridges you may have to cross. Thats close to 30 tons in water alone, not counting truck and trailer weights. Most of our backroad bridges around here are at 24-26 tons combination rating.
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    Another thing, we have weight limits on rural roads in the winter. I am sure that a 7000gal tanker would excede thoes limits. Of course maybe thier is an exception for emergency vehicles.

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by san4rd
    My question is what are your thoughts/concerns about a tractor driven large capacity tender? We tossed around the idea of a tractor drawn 7,000+gallon nurse tender with a second dry unit on standby (no water unless needed) Full tank would go to the scene, drop the trailer and bobtail back to town and fill the other tank and return. We have several guys (and gals) on the department who have Class A CDL's with Tanker experience and a training course would be MANDATORY for any and all engineers.

    --Chief Sanford
    Tensed Fire Protection District
    Tensed Idaho
    Chief,

    First I have no experience with the tankers that big. But I would have to wonder if the legs that hold the front are designed to take the loaded weight or just the empty tank weight of the trailer. If you bobtail back the trailer would still have water in it to allow you to shoot back to get the other trailer and fill it.

    Just a question that should be asked of people who "do" know about these things...

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    Default

    7 to 8 thousand gallon tractor trailer tankers were pretty common in the more rural areas of NJ until the last 10 years or so. There are still some out there but most are going to 3000 or less on a combination type unit (tanker/pumper). There is a beautiful tri axle 8000 gallon tanker near where I work but I can't find the picture. All stainless tank, KW tractor and a 1000 GPM pump driven by a separate engine hanging off the rear.

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    The small rural dept I first belonged to had a 7000gal tractor before I joined. They discontinued it due to a few factors:

    1) Only a few people could drive it, and there were times none of them were available.
    2) It was big, very hard to manuver around parked apparatus and hoses in the dark with lots of flashing lights around
    3) It was big, took a long long time to fill
    4) It was big, there were places where it just could not go
    5) It was big, around here we have weight restrictions on roads in the spring, and while there is an exeption for emergency vehciles, a tuck that size really beat up the roads
    6) It was big, and we needed the space in the station it was taking up to put 2 ambulances and a snowmobile trailer
    7) We were using it gravity feed, so water flow was pretty limited, not enough to supply a master stream. This was also pre-folding tank and big dump chutes.

    In the long run we figured two 2000gal tankers with drop tanks were more efficient and safer to opperate. A pair of 3000gal tankers would be even better, with matching swimming pools.
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    I would be interested to know how often Imlay City actually uses that big tanker at a fire? If they needed that much water it is not a "save".

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    Most of the design hinderances can be overcome. Huge dump valves and a pump can be installed so loading and unloaded isn't a day-long task.

    The two biggest factors that I think will need to be concidered are drivers and the roads. Are the areas you really need this truck to carry water too even accessible to a truck that large? If it is, will it be able to turn around once it is there? Check out the weight capacity of the bridges in the area before you waste your money too. It does no good if the road falls out from under it. Second is who will drive it. If you can't be sure that you will get a large number of people licensed to drive the beast, it will also do you no good.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I can't comment on actual use of the Imlay City unit, but IFRC the FF's said it was used several times a year. From what they told me they would respond to a call and fill multiple Port-A-Tanks on scene and then go reload. Most of it's responses were for large scale fires, grain silos, barns, factories, etc.

    Up here in MI we have one of the highest weight limits on roads. Although we do have many areas with weight restrictions those are few and far between.

    In his first post the Chief said he had multiple people with tractor experience so I don't think that would come into play for him. The weight limit may be a serious factor though.

    I forgot to mention in my previous posts that this unit has a 1750 GPM pump. Comes in real handy when needing to top off the tank.

    Kris

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    Default Thanks!

    This is why these forums are a God send. I appreciate your input on all of this, a big issue is our current tender's chasis is undersized even for the 1800 gal tank. We only get one vehicle from the AFG grant and I thought this would be a complete fix for our non water program. Maybe I need to look into dry hydrants for part of our district. I am glad to pick your brains here rather than in the peer review. --Chief Sanford

    Maybe I will look at a new 3000 gal tender and maybe a DOD 5ton truck to compliment.....

    Thanks again and be safe

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    Chief Sanford,
    In addition to the great advice offered already - let me toss out another thing to look at.

    The Type of tanker.

    My FD covers about 80 Sq Mi of a very rural & mountainous terrain. We only have one small area that has a water system & hydrants so we (like you) are almost totally dependent on tanker supply & water shuttles.

    We are also in the process of doing exactly what you are - reevaluating our needs and how best to fill them. Since we already utilize some dry hydrants and other "static" sources - we are now looking at how to maximize the potential of these sources.

    As such we are looking very hard at a Vacuum Tanker. We feel that this style of truck will allow us to get more water from sources we have already identified (and do it faster) and it will also allow us to get water from previously unusable sources.

    Here's the links for the Vacuum Tanker Info. I have.
    http://www.firovac.com
    Larry Reber (President) is an excellent person to deal with and I have nothing but good things to say about him. My Dept. did a demo of their truck and were quite impressed (even the skeptics). Unfortunately I was out of town so I still cannot comment first hand.

    http://www.southern-fire.com
    My only contact with Southern Fire has been via e-mail however they were always prompt, courteous, and well informed in their responses.

    http://www.englefab.com/fire_apparatus.htm
    I have not yet contacted Engle at all.

    If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me. I am by no means an expert but I'm always willing to share my research and let you draw your own conclusions from it.

    As a side note we are also looking at retrofitting our front line attack piece with CAFS as part of this project.

    Edited to fix typos.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 02-07-2006 at 08:35 AM.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by san4rd

    Maybe I will look at a new 3000 gal tender and maybe a DOD 5ton truck to compliment.....

    Thanks again and be safe

    DOD/FEPP has had quite a few 5t tractors coming thru the systems. As recent as M923A1 (mid 80s). Also quite a few 5000gal tanker semitrailers.

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    Give you a little more detail on that small FD I was on with the trailer, the way they now run:

    Attack pumper 1000gal w/1000' LDH
    Supply pumper 1000gal w/ 1500'LDH
    Water hole pumper 750gal w/1500'LDH
    2000gal tender (no pump)
    2200gal tender (no pump)

    On a working fire call, attack pumper drops LDH at the road and pulls into drive way (most are pretty long). Supply pumper pulls as far off the road as possible, sets up drop tank in the road (engouh room for the tankers to pull by). 1st tank fills the pool (2500gal pool), 2nd tanker stands by while 1st goes to water hole and refills.

    Summary: On our 1st alarm we have 6200gal ready for use with more coming. Working fires also bring 2 more 2000gal tanks and another water hole pumper MA. Once the system is up and working we try to have 2 water holes on opposite sides of the scene so tankers only have to turn around at the water hole, drive to fire, side dump, continue on to other water hole.

    If we are lucky enough to be close to a water hole, up to 4000' of LDH is laid with more available MA. We invested heavily in dry hydrants and encouraged isloated properties to dig fire ponds, we put in the hydrants.

    The trailer tanker did not have the manouverability to fit into the system, and fill/dump times were so long it created a pause in the operation forcing the other tankers to stack up, which ultimately created a shortage once the water was used and we were waiting for a fill.
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    Default northern michigan

    i haven't seen them but i have heard of a few dept's in northern michigan, which is really rural and many jackpines. that have tractor driven tankers. not sure exactly how they use them but they are out there.
    michael umphrey
    captain higgins twp fire/rescue/ems
    roscommon,mi

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    We have 92 square miles but our tender being new and large covers much more area than that in automatic and mutual aid. It is 3000 gallons which I think is about right. 3000 gallons is enough for most all house fires unless it is a complete loser. The nice thing is that from the neighboring departments there are usually 2 or 3 more 3000 gallon units available within 20 minutes.

    FWIW ours is set up with a 750 GPM fire rated pump, and is long and low to the ground for a low CG, and a manual transmission, all of which I think are really nice features. What it needs is more power and a real Jake brake but it is a pretty good truck.

    I have worked with tractor trailers on wildland fires before and they are nice where they will fit but I would not want one out here on some of the roads. It would be nice to have both sometimes. With 7000 gallons of water you are not going to need a shuttle most likely because one load will do it. If you do have to shuttle, a 7000 gallon truck is worth more than two 3000s so it is a more efficient use of time and manpower.

    Birken

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    We have an 8000 gallon tanker. Here's a pic: T-52

    It has a hydraulic 750 GPM pump installed under the tank.

    The only time we ever use it is for the annual water shuttle for our insurance rating, and it sits stationary at the pump site. It could roll to fires, if needed, but most of our 8 stations have tankers with pumps. The entire parish (yeah, we're small - ~400 sq. mi.) gets paged to structure fires. So we always have enough water and never have to lay a dump tank to shuttle water at a fire. It works really well, and it's a lot less work. I have driven it once (don't have a CDL) and don't really want to do it again. It's fine as long as you don't have to back it up!

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    The best thing about it is you can spell out your district's entire legal name on the tank in one line with big letters

    Birken

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