2013 email

Exerpts from an email received in 2013. "For those of us who have watched one of your 3000 gallon Vacuum tankers, which also has a standard fire pump, compete against a tanker using the same old technology we now have, the vacuum tanker won the contest by a wide margin.  The Vacuum tanker can load and unload water faster than what" (a non-vacuum) would "and for a lesser cost"...  " Your new vacuum tanker design makes it possible to draft from a greater height from streams or ponds that are some 28 feet below your tanker while a standard fire engine is limited to  about 15 feet.  This makes your Vacuum tanker a more useful apparatus especially on mutual calls.  Since some of your Vacuum tanker users have found that they can carry 90 feet of 6 inch suction hose and can easily reach a water source that a standard tanker or fire engine can not get to or accomplish, this makes your vacuum tanker design all the more useful than the old technology tanker being considered. Tanker shuttle guidelines used by the ISO and NFPA point out that the time to load and unload a tanker is more important than high speed especially on our rural roads."

Retired firefighter's observation.

Woods Fire
Wild Fire
Melvin Killinger - Rose City MI VFD

"We are in the middle of the woods supplying water at a wild fire. FIROVAC GETS IT DONE EVERYTIME. NO JOB TOO BIG NO JOB TOO SMALL. Loadint wild fire units by Firovac."

(This was done with the vacuum system.  Their unit does not have a fire pump.)

House Fire
"nurse" tanking
Melvin Killinger - Rose City MI VFD

"Larry, this was a house fire we were on last night.  With Firovac we can even supply an engine until a porta tank can be set up."

(This was accomplished with just the vacuum pump)

Quick response
Initial Attack
Chief - Virginia Fire Department

Our department was called on a mutual aid.  The first response department was in the process of laying 1 mile of LDH to provide a water supply.  I instructed that I would  begin delivering water from a near by static water source with our vacuum tanker until the other system was ready to go.  After some time Incident Command broadcasted do not charge the line (LDH) as the fire was almost extinguished because the tanker is coming in with its 7th load. (Tanker capacity 3500 gallon).  

Since we purchased our vacuum tanker the only time we use LDH is if we have to push water to a remote source like up a drive way. We can supply water more quickly and efficiently with the vacuum system.

Firovac' comments: Fires do not wait for set up times. Larry Davis always use to say in his water supply classes: There are 2 times in the life of a fire that it can be extingusihed with water from a tea cup. At the beginning and at the end.

Does it make sense to put the water on the fire as quickly as possible? Why should non-hydrant areas fight fires in the same way as in areas with hydrants?


Inquiry About Firovac Unit

Chief Shawn, an owner of a Firovac unit received a visit from another out of state Fire Chief interested in inquiring about his unit. The out of state Chief was considering a purchase. Chief Shawn was not a salesman, he would only give his honest opinion about his unit and would not tell him something the unit has not or cannot do. Chief Shawn would go to show him several unusual static water sources which he would say "Hey, I can get water there." He goes on to say "If I have 3 inches, I can get water." Even if the flow of the stream does not have that much volume and I have to wait for water, can I drive to the next available source and return by the time I could load this truck?


He also said his hydrants slow him down as there are only 1 or 2 in the area that can supply 1500 GPM. It was raining that day so they did not get to see the truck in action but Chief Shawn invited him back to see it in the action when the weather improves.

Now what do we do?
Frozen Hydrants
Colerain Township

As posted in Got Big Water Discussion Forum: January 30, 2019

"Has anyone experienced that pit in the stomach when you pull up to a hydrant in cold weather that won't flow water?  At one a.m. one day last week our fire department was called on mutual aid of a tanker to a structure fire.  The temperature was in the single digits.  What was dispatched as a chimney fire was through the roof when the first truck arrived with two people on board.  The second truck was a pumper from that department with one person on board.  Tankers from all around were called to help out.  Our vacuum tanker responded.

There were only two hydrants in the township.  Both were "froze up".  As usual water supply was a dominant issue at this fire scene.  An area firefighter, who just finished the evening shift, drove directly to the scene.  He had recently attended a tanker shuttle drill at Morrisvale FD in West Virginia.  He was aware of the "suck and dump" method of securing water.  The burning structure was close enough to the road that the attack pumper could fight the fire from the road.  No one had taken notice of the creek just across the road from the fire scene (It was probably hidden by the guard rails).  He advised our vacuum tanker to park next to the dump tank and draft from the creek and dump in the dump tank.  There was a 10-12 ft. lift and about 40 ft. of suction was needed.  The creek bank was so steep that no one could climb down to the water.  No portable pumps: no turbo draft.  Our vauum tanker simply sucked up a load of water and topped off the dump tank when it got low.  Our truck was safely delivering 350-400 GPM without turning a wheel.  Our tanker driver was warm and comfortable flipping switches from vacuum for tank filling to pressure to blow the water out into the dump tank.  Although the pressure gauges on the attack pumper froze at the fire scene our vacuum tanker was not hindered by freezing.  The vacuum pump was moving air - not water.  Although our vacuum tanker is the only such truck in our area at the present time I'm sure there will be more.  Its versatility helps it fit in to many water supply chalenges.  Our vacuum tanker made it possible for several tankers to be excused from the scene to get back to the station and thawed out."

Foot note by Firovac:  No one had to climb the steep bank to the creek.  A strainer is quick coupled to a 12' section of 6" hose and pushed to the water source.  Additional sections of hose can be quick coupled together to reach the water source location.  A rope tied to the strainer not only keeps the strainer in position in the water but helps when the hose is pulled up the bank at the end.  Vacuum pump (like a primer pump) works by air movement with no water entering the pump.

Drafting from a stream.
Congratulate your firefighters.
David Alvord - Cummington MA VFD

A non-fire person observed The Cummington, Mass "Fire Vacuum Tanker" that responded to a mutual aid request to assist with putting out a fire in a large wood mulch pile.  Exerpts from the "Daily Hampshire Gazette" article by David Alvord include: "This fire burned for two days and required multiple towns to support manpower and water supply needs at this incident.... I found Cummington Tank 2 packing up after drafting water out of stream next to Williamsburg Pharmacy.  They toned out around 10am and upon arriving found another fire tanker at a hydrant having isssues getting water.  Evidently, the amount of water being used from the hydrant system was lowering water pressure in the town system.  The Cummington tank crew, led by Asst. Chief Emerson said they would just go down the road and draft out of the stream.  The other tanker driver said they couldn't do that because the water in the stream was too low to draft.  Cummington dumped their 3,000 gal. at the scene and went to the draft site and set up their vacuum system. 6 minutes later, they drove by the other tanker, still at the hydrant, with another full load.....Cummington Tank 2 delivered 6 loads to the scene (that's 18,000 gal.) during their mutual aid work.

Tanker change

"The tanker turned out great the guys like how user friendly it is to operate. We were able to use it the day after we got it back into town works great. You and your guys did a great job Thank you!" We received this email after installing a new tank with vacuum system on Department's existing chassis.

Satisfaction Leads to Another Purchase
Another Purchase

"We have had a Firovac for 28 years and have done nothing to it....."

Satisfaction Leads to Another Purchase
Another Purchase

".....why would we not buy another?"