Thread: Ice

  1. #1
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    Post Ice

    We recently had a house fire.
    Alarm 2200 hours
    outside temp -10
    clear from sceine 0300 hours
    outside temp -12

    What do you do to keep things from Frezing up.
    1. Hoses
    2, Nozles
    3. Pumps
    Now i know what its like when hell frezes over

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    Keep your nozzles cracked, so water flows.

    The moving water won't freeze, so that covers all three items you listed.
    "The uniform you wear was given to you. The respect that comes with it must be earned."

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    The engineer should know to cycle water from the tank and back through the system to keep the tank from freezing during ops.During take up,make sure to drain the pumps and piping before you roll back for coffee and donuts at the house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heretic View Post
    Keep your nozzles cracked, so water flows.

    The moving water won't freeze, so that covers all three items you listed.
    Yep....Heretic has it right.....we operated at a structure 2 years ago for 7 hours with temps at 17 below zero. Pumps were always circulating, hoses always opened a crack to let water flow. No loss or damages to pumps, nozzles or hoses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    The engineer should know to cycle water from the tank and back through the system to keep the tank from freezing during ops.During take up,make sure to drain the pumps and piping before you roll back for coffee and donuts at the house.
    Drain the pipes and the pump? No way...

    The pump casing and the water won't freeze that fast in the time it takes to get back to quarters. One fire that I remember going to in the winter, it was a 45+ minute drive back to the station...These temps were down around the zero degree mark....
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
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    Talking

    We did not have any problems when water was flowing. This was a rural area and when out tender arived with 3000 gallons of water the 2 1/2 suction connection was frozen, Tender valves frozen.
    At the time we had no way to thaw any of the dead end spots.

    But as I set here at my desk I notice a package of road flares waiting to be put in the pumper, HUMMM . I Know what to do next Time.

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    we keep flares in the engine --- also a squirt bottle of de icer -- a torpedo heater in the service truck -- also when you lay our nozzle down , try and lay it somewhere it wont cause a bigger mess like the storm drain or a bath tub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    we keep flares in the engine --- also a squirt bottle of de icer -- a torpedo heater in the service truck
    You allow all of those things within a close proximity of a bunch of firefighters? I'm seeing lighting the de-icer with the flares and using the torpedo heater (if it's what I'm thinking of) as a means of making a "afterburner" type flame.

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    We ran a Brush Unit out to a MVA for support for the Ambulance(-15 degrees) and even though I was moving water through my pump and tank there where dead spots on the system. We ended up spining of the nozzle and routing the hose into the tank to keep our reel from freezing, A Big pumper might pose a little bigger problem, so check your set up out before you get into a freeze up situation.

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    Naw the de icer wont burn ------ we use the starting fluid for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaterbryVTfire View Post
    Yep....Heretic has it right.....we operated at a structure 2 years ago for 7 hours with temps at 17 below zero. Pumps were always circulating, hoses always opened a crack to let water flow. No loss or damages to pumps, nozzles or hoses.
    Yep, and I suggest throwing some salt down by your engineer to save on injuries

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    Last week I had the perfect solution for you, (Move to Texas and get out of that cold)
    This week Willllllllll I need answers too.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    "Water Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Spare." Ah the wonders of -32 degree fire suppression.

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    Pump heaters and keeping water moving. Foam adds a bit more hassle to it, but it's just a matter of keeping that water moving.
    JLS
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    Alarm 200644004, I won't ever forget.


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    Default Winter Equipment

    Here is what we add to each of our rigs for winter;
    1. 2 50lb bags of rock salt.
    2. ice scraper/chisel (like in your pov)
    3. 2 cans spray de-icer
    4. portable torch. 14oz like plumbers use
    5. 6 pack of 14 oz lp bottles for torch

    We have often talked about the heat tape that you would use on mobile homes, however at this point we dont keep them. Also talks of a metal underbody shield to keep slop out of the pump.

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    One point to add that I can think of since we have an old International with a front mount pump. We had a cover made for it so when driving in the cold, the wind isn't directly on the pump. Also make sure the pump is drained and dump some plumber's antifreeze down into the pump in various spots to make sure what water might be still in there won't freeze.

    My house burnt in 1999 and it was -35C which is -31F. There were no real complaints until the fire was out!!!! Everyone wanted to stand next to the house while it was on fire for some reason?
    NEVER close a nozzle when it's cold. That's the key advice here, at -31F a nozzle and hose will freeze in less than 2 minutes.
    Cheers,
    Gord

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    On the Pierces my old department has,there are piping and pump drains.Since the station Captains take their responsibilities seriously,we used those to remove as much water as possible before leaving the station unattended.
    At my old river job which was in Paducah Ky on the Ohio,they drain the gas pumps used to put drinking water on passing towboats.I'd drain it down like we did on the Lower Mississippi in the winter(open both drains and replace the plugs when the water stops flowing),and go with that but they'd act like I was committing murder in the First but not opening both drains,turn the pump over several times and leave the plugs out.
    No,I don't think leaving some water will crack a pump.It'll have room to expand upwards enough to prevent that.But leaving a pump more than half full will crack the casing,ruin impellers and get the engineer mad at you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue View Post
    Drain the pipes and the pump? No way...

    The pump casing and the water won't freeze that fast in the time it takes to get back to quarters. One fire that I remember going to in the winter, it was a 45+ minute drive back to the station...These temps were down around the zero degree mark....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue View Post
    Drain the pipes and the pump? No way...

    The pump casing and the water won't freeze that fast in the time it takes to get back to quarters. One fire that I remember going to in the winter, it was a 45+ minute drive back to the station...These temps were down around the zero degree mark....
    I beg to differ this. We had 2 engines out of sevice, both froze up en-route, we had to use our tenders to push the engines open. Our tenders have portible pumps to re-cirrculate the water so it doesnt freeze. Basicly a pump and roll. Once on seen we can re-cirrculate our engines. It gets down to 30 below here and 60 below with the wind chill. Water freezes instantly in these conditions.

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    Thumbs up I take my hat off

    To all the postee's thus far-Gentlemen I remove my battle bowler to you all---during my years of service in the LFB we had one or two very cold winters(by our standards) and apart from smashing in a hydrant cover with a sledgehammer-pavement covered in ice and we wanted wet stuff in a hurry.Nothing on the scale you are talking about,I cannot even comprehend your various problems! I think we fitted snow chains on one or two "out stations" on a very few occasions-but thats about the only problem encountered.

    Once again Firemen are cool--or should I say freezing in this instance?


    Of course living where I do at present the only ice and snow is found at the back of the beer fridge here!

    Cheers!

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    Talking ICE and frozen hydrants:

    rellik74: I loved your answer, "move to Texas." I am refered to as an "ole dandie" living not too far from away from you, and a few years older...imagine that!

    Getting back to the "ICE" issue...which we agree is not problematic here, however I still have a few friends living in the NE where they have experienced over 3 weeks...below freezing temps. I remember very well, an ole chief from the 1950's, that when the temp. got below 32F. for only a few days, the standing order was; "make sure the 36in. pipe wrench and 4ft. breaker-bar is on the tail of the No. 1 engine...right next the hydrant wrench." If the hydrant was frozen...and the hyd. wrench would not open it...the pipe wrench w/breaker-bar did!

    Now, the water company who owned the hydrant's didn't approve of this procedure, but "the wet-stuff" on the "red-stuff" was needed...NOW, and the hydrant could be repaired when time permitted...after the fire was punched-out.

    Furthermore, I doubt if many know "how to thaw a frozen hydrant." I've heard many "ole timer tales" on this, some you would not believe...but they worked. However one that is nearly fail-safe, is to carry at least one Propane "WEED BURNING" torch in one of the first responding rigs. If the hydrant is frozen and will not open...remove all the caps, and heat the area closest to the ground. Slowly open the top-valve, and when water flows, replace the caps and "hook-up."

    A "weed burning" torch can be very reasonably purchased at nearly any decent lawn and garden outlet, requires nearly no maintenance, but...it will NOT be NFPA "approved"...with a FIRE DEPARTMENT APPROVED sticker, have no reflective tape, chrome or haligen flashing lights." Therefore, I imagine this common-sense tool could not be used today.

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    Wink

    Speaking of "ICE"... how to "thaw a frozen hydrant"? With the extreme cold the upper midwest has been experiencing that past few weeks, many hydrants are frozen to the point where it is nearly impossible to open the valve. This is usually because the hydrant was not closed all the way when it was "checked" last summer, the bottom valve is leaking because of a small particle in the seat, or the hydrant is not draining after shut-off.

    An "old timers way" of thawing was to buid a fire around the hydrant with scraps of wood. However, this was time consuming when you need the "wet-stuff on the red-stuff," especially at 3AM, and the engine is of need of water. I recall a chief from the 1950's, who ordered that a pipe wrench w/a 4Ft. breaker-bar was carried next to the hydrant wrench, and this usually opened the hydrant. A faster, inexpensive, common-sense solution is to carry a propane "weed burning" torch in one of the rigs. After the caps are removed, the base at the ground level is heated, and the valve is slowly opened until you get a flow. Replace the caps, hook-up. Weed torches are relative inspensive at nearly every garden/tractor supply center, with little or no maintenance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFMBob View Post
    Speaking of "ICE"... how to "thaw a frozen hydrant"? With the extreme cold the upper midwest has been experiencing that past few weeks, many hydrants are frozen to the point where it is nearly impossible to open the valve. This is usually because the hydrant was not closed all the way when it was "checked" last summer, the bottom valve is leaking because of a small particle in the seat, or the hydrant is not draining after shut-off.

    An "old timers way" of thawing was to buid a fire around the hydrant with scraps of wood. However, this was time consuming when you need the "wet-stuff on the red-stuff," especially at 3AM, and the engine is of need of water. I recall a chief from the 1950's, who ordered that a pipe wrench w/a 4Ft. breaker-bar was carried next to the hydrant wrench, and this usually opened the hydrant. A faster, inexpensive, common-sense solution is to carry a propane "weed burning" torch in one of the rigs. After the caps are removed, the base at the ground level is heated, and the valve is slowly opened until you get a flow. Replace the caps, hook-up. Weed torches are relative inspensive at nearly every garden/tractor supply center, with little or no maintenance.
    Beware of an ice plug flying out of the hydrant. It could be lethal!

    Stay Safe

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    To expand on this, if you find a frozen hydrant, IMMEDIATELY get out of the way of the discharges. It could let go at ANY time.

    Stay Safe

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    Like someone from Alaska said, keep your SCBA mask warm. Our Chief personally had a mask freeze up solid in a working fire where the ambient temperature was hot and not just warm.

    Cross post from another thread:

    • Constant pump circulation
    • If we get to ¼ tank of water, we shut down and recirculate. I you run out of water you’re going to freeze up
    • Nozzles always either flowing, cracked or recirculated. Ice crystals in the line will plug the nozzles.
    • SCBA have a tendency to freeze up even inside a nice warm house that is on fire.
    • No SCBA masks are put back in service until they are completely dry.
    • Poor footing from to scene and back home again
    • Added concentration on ladders
    • Driving sometimes as slow as 40kph
    • If you freeze up the pump, send it back to the station. There’s nothing you can do on scene that can’t be done faster in a warm building
    • Added caution around high-pressure hydraulic lines. They may not take much of a knock at -40
    • EVERYTHING has a chance of breaking down at -40 and probably will

    Just a few.

    Stay Safe

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    Frozen Hydrant = Let the water utility deal with thawing it We just continue laying until a good hydrant is found, you hit the river, or we shift to tankers.

    I beg to differ this. We had 2 engines out of sevice, both froze up en-route, we had to use our tenders to push the engines open

    I have no idea what type of pumps the poster has.

    A 350gpm or even 750gpm front mount pump is going to have a lot more issues then a 1500gpm midship pump. Bigger and more protected the pump, the lesser the problem. We used to wrap our front mount pumps with old canvas bunker coats to help keep them warm during responses...got fancy for the last few years we had them and had nice looking Hypalon covers made for them.

    So issue Granddad had are not necessarily the same as what many have today...and that's where some of the differences in opinion / experience come from.

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