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Vacuum tanker loading from "ditch"
"Seville's tanker was back in the drive near the actual fire supplying their pumper.  Next in was Westfield with their tanker and they supplied Seville with their tanker.  Chief Winkler had asked me to run water supply, however, at that time, they were not flowing much water.  There was a dry hydrant no more than 1/2 a mile away, so I had originally planned to keep our tanker and Canaan Township's tanker (also a vacuum) to handle the remaining water supply.  However, before that could get established, the water flow was even less significant - that we ended up backing our tanker down the...
Excerpts from the above titled article by Ronald Naab 5/1/09: "There is much to consider when purchasing new or used tenders. ...This vehicle is one of the most important units in your fire station, especially when your protection zone has an area not serviced with a static (river or lake) or pressurized municipal water supply. My mentor in the fire service, the late Larry Seebruck of Port Edwards (WIS) Fire Department, many times told me 'When the wheels of a tanker are not turning, the vehicle is not earning its keep.'  What Larry meant was that the longer it takes to fill a tank with water...
Overheard at the New England Show: "My gravity tanker is useless to my department.  It is fine for in town (hydrants) and for mutual aid, but I have four guys.  I cannot pull lines to fight the fire and establish an engine and tanker operation.  I have to wait for mutual aide".
In the eastern mountains just about every mountain has a mountain stream.  Sometimes the steams do not have a sufficient flow rate to use in fire suppression activities.      Firovac's floating low flow strainer with detachable pan is designed for the varied conditions in urban/rural fire service.  It can be placed on the bottom of a solid stream and load water in as little as 2" of water.  Air leaks will not cause it to loose prime.           With no pressure hydrants in the district, Morrisvale VFD astutely buried water tanks from which they could draft water.  Innovative ideas like these...
Gilbert Lumber in Smithville, Ohio suffered a fire Saturday March 24, 2001.  The first unit arrived to find one of the buildings used to produce pallets partially ablaze.  But despite the intensity and length of the blaze, the property was not a total loss.  Eight Departments responded and there were 5 vacuum tankers supplying water from near by static sources to assist the towns water hydrants. "Just the one section of the building was lost" said the manager.  "We are still in operation and we'll be up and running on Monday morning". The result was different at a previous fire 10 years...
Deer Creek Fire Protection District in Deer Creek, Ill hosted a rural water supply operation seminar and 2 hour water drill August 15, 2010.  There were 5 engines, 4 conventional tankers and 1 vacuum tanker involved.  The vacuum tanker hauled 6 loads of water which amounted to about 30% of the total water used.  "The key point is that 1 man did it by himself" quote from GotBigWater web site.  The entire water drill information and pictures can be seen on that web site. The fill site for conventional tankers provided a 2.8 mile round trip.  The fill site for the vacuum was 5.9 miles.  Although...
Kenworth T 800 450HP Marmon Harrington 6 WD conversion, Chalmers suspension, Winter package. Darley 1200 GPM pump with hot water jacket.  65,000 BTU hot water heater and foam insulation for pump and valve house. Hawk model Firovac, 3500 gallon polished aluminum bottom insulated vacuum tank, 3 heated air operated butterfly water valves and tank vent valve. Foam Pro 1600 system, 20 gallon foam tank with Firovac electric refill.  Firefox front bumper turret. Transverse rear compartment, SCBA storage, ladder brackets, automatic tire chains  
Closeup of the inner workings.
Suction technology (draft) provides the maximum amount of water with the minimum amount of personnel and equipment because of its versatility and efficiency.   Centrifugal pumps are limited in this area as all the water goes through the pump making it subject to air leaks, loss of prime and debris damage. Suction technology has been used for years in the same industries that centrifugal pumps have been used.  It just has not been adapted to fire service until now. Suction works simply by extracting air from a closed system or container, which then allows water to replace it.  The most...
Firovac Vacuum Tanker
Mark Davis, brother of the late Larry Davis does some very informative seminars for urban/rural departments.  There is a lot of information on the GotBigWater  web site. A Rural Water supply Operations Seminar was conducted at Morrisvale, WV October 23, 2011.  The purpose of the seminar and drill was to review the basics of rural water supply operations and to practice water supply operations in a no –hydranted setting.  The drill attempted to replicate the 2 hour Water Supply Delivery Test used by ISO in their evaluation of fire department water...