Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Sure, pressurized water sources are great, but what if you operate with a rural department where hydrants are "few and far between"? Here's some considerations on rural water sources and hydraulics.


What is your closest water supply?:

1. STATIC:
a. ponds
b. lakes
c. livestock wells
d. private deep-wells
e. pools
f. "dump tanks" location, location, location.....
***ARE YOU ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY SET UP A DUMP-TANK TO OPERATE ON BACK COUNTRY ROAD?***
g. wet-barrel hydrants


2. PRESSURIZED:
a. Size does matter: What size main?
b. More is better: What is the pressure rating for the hydrant?
c. Stretches: What is the distance of the hydrant in relation to the fire?


3. MOBILE:
a. Tankers/Tenders: Tank Size/Apparatus Age/Response time & turn-around time for water


Do you have portable pumps? If so, what are their fire flow ratings, and can you effectively set up a parallel or series pump operation?


At our Department, which is mostly rural, we are an ISO CLASS 5 Department, with one station covering a district of 10,000 in 165 Sq. miles. Our initial response SOPs for all reported structure fires, or structures with reported smoke issuing, are 1 Chief, 2 engines, 1 tanker, 1 rescue, and a mutual aid reception of at least 2 additional engines and 1 additional tanker from the closest available department.


What changes or additions has your department made in regards to rural firefighting?

FireBureau has an excellent site for info on GPS mapping, analysis, and locating resources for rural departments.

http://www.firebureau.com/?p=314



Engineer Nick Miller
Engine 21
Valley FD
Apple Grove, Mason County, WV

Tags: Hydraulics, ISO, Movement, Rural, Supply, Tankers, Tenders, Water

Views: 810

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Nick,
We are a suburban/ rural community with hydrants in 90% of our district. We run automatic aid with 5 other districts, 3 are rural with little hydrant distribution. We run 2 engines, water tender, rescue and brush truck in our district. Our engine 1 has a 1000 gallon tank, engine 2 has 750 and tender 1 has 3500. We normally respond with at least 1 engine , water tender and rescue on automatic alarms. We had a structure fire last night that was in a nieghboring community that was a 12 mile response for my units. The structure was 49% envolved, 2 engine arrived ahead of our apparatus, my engine set up the first drop tank (3000 cap) and we dumped our load and left for refill (refill site was 4 miles) Cane creek tanker (2,200 cap) set up second dump tank with jet siphon and dumped their load, Sardis tender (4000 cap) arrived and dumped their load as the tank water was used. We transported, by tenders, a total of 39,600 gallons of water using 3 tenders.

We started our "tanker strike team" after attending FDIC hot class 2 years ago on tanker operations and actually seeing how simple, with a little training, to set up a drop and roll operation, Until then we really had no concept of how the system worked. Now it's a standard operation when hydrants or drafting locations are not available. We still catch hydrants when available, but knowing that 3500 gallons is on scene sure feels good.

Come see me at FDIC at my "Let's Talk Pumps" Thursday April 23, 1030-1215, Room 206-207

Take care,
BOB
Nick,
In my opinion the most important aspect of the rural water operation is pre-planning. Knowing the available water on the street either your own or from mutual aid departments and its dependability(day time crew shortage) is key. We should have our fire load determined ahead of time for our target hazards and have the needed fire flow available or a plan to get it there before the "big one". If we always count on the old theory of "that's the way we usually do it" sooner or later you will get caught with your pants down. Pre-planning also involves hands on testing the actual flow rates, taking a class and thinking you are prepared will leave you talking to the news media making excuses for why half of the Village burned down.

Think Big! -5"LDH, 6" Suction hose, large flow strainers, TurboDrafts are all great tools for water access and delivery. Portable pumps although they work tend to yield lower flows and can be very labor intensive. Tanker task forces are wonderful, however frequent training and and standardization of equipment is even better. Just some thoughts.

Pre-plan, pre-plan pre-plan!
Nick:

Rural fire departments have to think about water supply on every call. In most cases, the community's water supply system will probably consist of more than one of the options you mention above. In fact, my experience indicates that a combination of potential techniques adds robustness to the system.

My rural district covers 525 sq. miles with 10 stations and 130 firefighters. Each station is equipped with one engine (1000 gal tank, 1250 gpm pump), one tanker (2000 gal tank, 2100 gal drop tank, mounted portable pump), and one brush truck (300 gal tank, mounted portable pump). We have other specialized apparatus, but we're talking about water supply! Three stations have incorporated cities with weak water supply systems and hydrants in their run areas. We surround a larger municipality with strong water systems with hydrants at the edges of the municipality. The remainder of our district has rural water supply districts with limited storage capacity and a VERY limited number of hydrants.

Structure fires are dispatched with two stations and the tanker from a third station. This should give us 8000 gal with the first due apparatus (2 engines x 1000 gal, 3 tankers x 2000 gal). We always (well, usually!) drop two tanks (one for drafting, one for extra storage) and connect the two using a jet siphon and hard suction. Additional tankers can always be requested if needed. Mutual aid tankers are used to working with us at the edges of our district. Tankers usually dump quickly using 10" x 10" quick dumps, located on the driver's side and rear, then run for the nearest hydrant. On occasion, we have sent some tankers to rural water towers and some back to the municipality (long runs!) for re-filling, or to hydrants on two different rural water districts to minimize disruption to the water systems. Twice in the past year, we have used brush trucks backed into an on-site farm pond to pump water to the pumping engine. While the capacity doesn't always keep up with fire flow, it provides a nice supplement to the tankers. We have a few dry hydrants, but could use more if we can find the funding.

Pump operators are trained to re-fill the attack engine's tank as soon as the engine changes from tank water to drop tank water. Pump operators always notify Command when changing over from tank to drop tank or vice versa. When the drop tanks are empty, the 1000 gallons on board the engine are used to safely remove firefighters from interior attack.

On any given fire, we might use multiple water districts, supplement from static sources, plus use what we haul to the scene. Rural firefighters are always conscious of their water supply, and we've gotten fairly efficient at our water usage. We sometimes achieve knockdown and begin overhaul before the first re-filled tanker returns to the scene!

I'd be happy to chat further on this topic, as it is important to how we fight fire!

Jeff
Jeff,

Excellent post! Your dept. operates nearly identical to ours.We cover 165 sq.miles serving a population of appx.10,000,with one station.We have 12 hydrants in our district, excluding the 24 hydrants at the local industrial plant across from our station. Both of our engines are 1000/1250, and we also have a 1800 gal. tanker. We have become notorious in not only the region, but in WV for exemplary rural water movement and supply. I believe that rural fire service tactics and strategies is very under-represented in the fire service today,as we move from traditional to contemporary tactics.


Nick
Nick:

It's always interesting to be "notorious"! I suppose notoriety for an effective water delivery system isn't a bad thing!

Rural tactics in general aren't different from suburban/urban tactics. We just accomplish things in different ways. First, we deliver water to the fireground differently, but still apply "wet stuff to the red stuff". We just have to think about creative ways to get that water to the fireground. Second, we don't usually have truck companies (our county has one ladder, in the largest municipal fire department; the second due ladder for them is about 30 miles away!), but we still force doors, conduct primary/secondary searches, and vent roofs. However, too many times the roof has self-vented by the time we arrive. As noted by Gamache, et al. in the FEMA report titled Mitigating the Rural Fire Problem "the primary defining characteristic of rural America is separation--separation of communities from one another and separation of residents from one another" (2007, 13, ). So we get too many delayed calls (separation of residents) and the fires are often at some distance from the communities where fire stations are placed!

Your comment reminded of an experience many years ago. One of our firefighters had recently moved from a suburban area (with hydrants) to our rural fire district. During a winter fire, he laid down a nozzle with water pouring out of it to prevent freezing. I told him, "Gate that nozzle down. We don't have much water left on-scene." He reminded me that the hose and nozzle might freeze up. I told him we'd take that chance, because the next-due tanker was still six minutes away. He looked at me and said, "Tanker? You mean we're not hooked up to a hydrant?" We all had a big laugh and he quickly learned about rural water supply!

Take care, and stay safe!

Jeff

Nick Miller said:
Jeff,

Excellent post! Your dept. operates nearly identical to ours.We cover 165 sq.miles serving a population of appx.10,000,with one station.We have 12 hydrants in our district, excluding the 24 hydrants at the local industrial plant across from our station. Both of our engines are 1000/1250, and we also have a 1800 gal. tanker. We have become notorious in not only the region, but in WV for exemplary rural water movement and supply. I believe that rural fire service tactics and strategies is very under-represented in the fire service today,as we move from traditional to contemporary tactics.


Nick
LOL...that's a good one.Very similar to my experience. I moved from Charleston, South Carolina to rural West Virginia about 10 years ago. Needless to say it was a huge change,especially in tactics. Ilearned knew things, trained more and more, and feel more comfortable in rural fire tactics. Thanks for the posts! Anything new, feel free to post anytime.


Nick

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Policy Page

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page HERE. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail peterp@pennwell.com.

FE Talk Radio

Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. EDT

"Street Smart Shop Talk"

with

Matt McDowell

 

CALL IN AND JOIN THE SHOW

1-877-497-3973 (Toll Free)
or 1-760-454-8852

Check out the schedule of
UPCOMING SHOWS

Ricky Riley, Dan Shaw, Doug Mitchell & Nick Martin

© 2014   Created by fireeng.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service