Sunday, November 21, 2010

Water Supply

We are fortunate at the healing place, our entire first in district has a lot of hydrants and they are all hot. As a result, I don't worry about how a water supply is going to be established on one of my incidents. I either lay my own, or I ask the next in unit to lay in to me. It is a luxury that many of my brother and sister firefighters don't share.

We don't have four-way hydrant valves, almost all of our hydrants are high pressure / high volume. I would guess that the majority of our people would have to look at a four-way for a while to figure out how to use it, they likely have never seen one. Likewise with a tanker relay operation or even dump-valves and fold-a-tanks, we just don't need 'em.

It was with some amusement then, as I listened to a nearby rural county department on the scanner, as they struggled with establishing a water supply at a residential structure fire. The fire was well established upon their arrival and they opted to go to a defensive fire operation. The operational objective was to contain the fire to the structure of origin and there were a few minor exposure issues.

They initially didn't have enough engines to lay over the road from the closest hydrant, about 1/3 a mile away, judging from the radio traffic. No water tenders were staffed nearby (tankers for you easterners) so their options were initially limited. They ran out of water for a few minutes before enough people showed up to hand-jack across a couple of fields and through a few fences to a remote hydrant.

The initial operational objectives were met, no exposures were damaged - all's well that ends well. I did however, make a note to review alternative water supplies with my crew when I return to work after the break, you just never know.

I then opened a beer and began watching my beloved Packers go to work on the Vikings. I think that's going to end well too.

Thanks for reading,


  1. What's a tanker? We have a hydrant on every corner and a downtown full of high pressure ones, Static pressure 90 psi. Kind of takes the guessing out.

    I think the link to my blog is broken. if you get around to it.

  2. Hey Capt,

    I too live and run in a district with GREAT hydrants. Sometimes we have long lays, but that's more down to long driveways than anything else and we prepare for them.

    I have immense respect for FDs who have to truck their own water. In my experience, few can really do it well. I am in complete awe of those who can. My helmet is off to them.

  3. Gentlemen - Spoiled aren't we?

    Michael - I'm on it, you have forced me to do what I have been meaning to do for months - update my blogroll.

    Mack 505 - you are being added, hopefully tonight.

    Thanks for the comments fellas.