What Should FD Do if Water Not Available?
I live in Perry,NY, near Silver Lake in Wyoming County and I have noticed that the water level is lower than normal and the Silver Lake Outlet's water level is so low you could just about walk across the bottom and not do much more than muddy your shoes and yet these are sources my department draws water from for both the pumpers and our tanker. What alternatives are available in the event water is not available for fighting fires? I hate the idea of my department having little choice but to let a structure burn to the ground, but with the water level at the dry hydrant so low that a pump would suck mud into it and get put out of action, what is my department to do to suppress a fire once the tanks on the pumpers and tanker are emptied? I am really concerned, not only for the safety of our active duty guys, but all those people who would be affected by a structure fire in such a case.
Alternate Means of Fighting a Fire if Water Not Available
I am also wondering about the use of fire suppressing dry chemicals in event the water supply is not available. My department has one straight tanker and a combination pumper-tender as well as a straight pumper and aerial platform and this is another possibility I was looking at to pass along to my department's chief. It is also partly why I came up with that crazy idea of using an aircraft on some structure fires involving large structures, such as the size of a school, factory, or warehouse as well as a brushfire that gets out of hand. The aircraft would make its drop or drop after the building's been ventilated using fire retardants much like those used on California's wildfires in addition to water (if available) as well as other means to get the job done. I admit, it may seem cockamany, but it's creative.
Alternate sources of Water
There are a fair number of swimming pools in my community, a public wading pool and a pond in the village park that could be tapped for the water they contain if need be. Some area farms have ponds, too. Luckily this year the water table is back up to normal or near normal levels. It really scared the bejesus out of me when the Outlet level was so low you could almost walk across the bottom without getting more than muddied up.