Rural Water Movement Operations
Larry Reber - Firovac
In an article entitled "Rural Water Movement Operations" Bill Adkins entered in the February issue of "Fire Enginering", various ways rural water movement operations can be conducted was well presented.
He pointed out the "First Due Appartus Drafting" method requires fewer personnel than others and is "ideal" for smaller budgets. While "Nurse Tankers" can extend initial water supply it requires communication between the two pump operators and them working together. Also the tanker will stay on the scene so be sure tankers are on the run card when using this method. With the "Rural Hitch" method you need multiple pumps, equipped apparatus with operators and stellar communications between each of them.
My thoughts are various methods have been tried through the years to find a better way to improve the system. The above are the methods that have been available to rural fire departments until recently. Vacuum apparatus is a more efficient system where water can be supplied quicker, simpler and with half the equipment and personnel beginning to end. I welcome your comments and questions.
"Transform the Industry"
"I am not done trying to get a Vac tanker in our area! After watching multiple videos on them, I am sold...the advantages are tremendous. You and your team are going to transform the industry with this technology."
"This is Crazy"
Our department started looking at purchasing a vacuum tanker. I said, "This is crazy," until I saw it demonstrated by a neighboring department.
The Chief of that department said, "I can get water from there." I thought, "Ain't no way." Because it was a small creek in a difficult area - but he loaded the truck from there.
I am now on a different department and we are looking at a vacuum unit.
A Michigan VFD with a Firovac gave an inquiring Department a reference.
They said they, "would not have anything but" [a Firovac].
They also said, "once you use one, you begin to understand what it can do. It does everything they claim it can do. It is good quality and very reliable. The Company is one of the easiest to work with."
Kudos to the Cummington Fire Dept.
David Alvord - Daily Hampshire Gazette
The following is the transcript of an email sent to Cummington Fire Department concerning their performance and the performance of their 2011 3000 gallon Hawk Model Firovac forwarded to us by Bernie Forgea of Cummington Fire Department:
"Though we discussed it last night at the PVFA meeting, I want to congratulate the Cummington Fire Vacuum Tanker company that responded to the Williamsburg mutual aid request to assist with putting out a fire in a large wood mulch pile at one of the Lashway Wood Mills in their town. This fire burned for two days and required multiple towns to support manpower and water supply needs at this incident.
When I stopped on my way back through Williamsburg yesterday late afternoon, I found Cummington Tank 2 packing up after drafting water out of the stream next to Williamsburg Pharmacy. They were toned out around 10 am and upon arriving found a Northampton Fire Tanker at a hydrant having issues getting water. Evidently, the amount of water being used from the hydrant system was lowering water pressure in the town system. The Cummington tanker crew, led by Asst. Chief Emerson said they would just go down the road and draft out of the stream. The Northampton Fire 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 Northampton Tanker, still at the hydrant, with another full load. Yes, Northampton was surprised (and maybe learned a thing or two). Cummington Tank 2 delivered 6 loads to the scene (that's 18,000 gal.) during their mutual aid work.
Please congratulate your firefighters, Chief. Great work!"
Compliment and Kudos
Chris Horan - First Vehicle Services
I am the OM for First Vehicle and we run the Fire Apparatus shop for Loudoun County Fire Rescue along with take care of other volunteer agencies in our region. One of these is Boyce Volunteer Fire Company who also have one of your Tankers. Not too long ago we were tasked with an upgrade to the control system and removal of manual relief valve to install a new automatic relief valve. We also decided to rebuild the seals on the dump chutes. I reached out and spoke with Ben for parts. Once the parts came in, the real work started.
During the process, any time we had a question or needed guidance, Ben was there. At one point, he and I were facetiming while I rolled around on a creeper under the truck. Then the biggest help was the night we returned the unit, went to test it and nothing worked. It was a Friday evening at 7pm and, not only did Ben answer my call, he patiently walked me through the solution.
Never have I had the help from a manufacturer like I did from your company to resolve problems or answer questions. You guys are very much appreciated and recommended as a company to work with. Ben is a huge asset for you guys, great job.
Thanks again for all you do.
Firovac Still Going Strong After 26 Years
Mike Parker - W. B. Strong Fire Company Inc.
I am from the W. B. Strong Fire Co. Inc. in Freeville, NY. We purchased a Firovac tanker back in 1990 that is still in use today. It has been one of the most highly efficient and lowest maintenance pieces of equipment we have in the area that can run circles around any other truck in our area. I am getting information to start the process of replacing it with another vacuum tanker.
"All About Efficiency...Very Impressive"
Charles D. Clark - Colerain Township
I'd like to report another outstanding showing made by a Firovac Tanker. Yesterday 9-21-13 Ft. Larimie FD near Sindey, Ohio conducted a tanker shuttle drill. There were 11 tankers involved. They traveled 4 miles around a country block and dumped along a 16 ft. wide road. Their peak delivery rate was 1625 GPM. The vacuum tanker from Lockington did an outstanding job. They had a dump tank set for the vacuum to fill at the fill site. There were as many as 4 conventional tankers lined up to fill at the one fill site (They were pumping out to the road several hundred ft. from a pond). The vacuum tanker went right around all the other tankers setting in line and self filled from a dump tank (which filled up while the tanker made its cycle to dump). It was really interesting to talk to Lockington's Fire Chief. He is a knowledgeable young man. They have recently installed an underground cistern that serves their village. The vacuum tanker averaged 12 min. per cycle (167 GPM) - just like at Morrisvale in Oct. 2011. Several people timed the fill rate of the 2,000 vacuum tanker. The average fill time (which included hooking and unhooking th section hose) was 2 minutes. That involved 15 sec. to connect; 15 sec. to disconnect and a fill rate of 1,300 GPM. Even the tall gentlemen who debated with me at Bowling Green that vacuum tankers had no advantage over conventional tankers stated, "...The truck works..."
During the debriefing Parker Browne stated, "...It's all about efficiency... I hope you all got to see the vacuum tanker lap the other tankers several times.." The operator of the truck was very smooth in handling the truck. -Very Impressive!
Glenn Whittington is a Firefighter with the Buffalo V.F.D and a West Virginia University Adjunct Fire Instructor. He spoke the following review:
I've never seen anything like Morrisvale's trucks. I asked them to bring one to a water movement class I was doing in Putnam County. It was on a hill top and I did not see anywhere to get water for the vacuum to load. Chief Estep said, "I can get water from there." I said, "that's a ditch"... but that is where he got water. It really impressed me.
Could that be why neighboring departments say:
"That truck just MAKES water."
"Morrisvale, they just flow a river"
"It is the Morrisvale fire hydrant. Its literally amazing. Water comes out without being hooked to anything and suddenly without warning, will make you a sandwich."
Well it does do amazing things but that might be a little exagerated. However, William Frazier writes on Facebook, "I have one and they are the best thing for rural water to ever be built."
Charles D Clark
Charles D Clark is a member of the "Water Delivery Technical Advisory Committee" of the Ohio Fire Chief's Association. He has been interested in rural water movement for many years. In 2011 he observed an I.S.O. pratice water movement drill in Morrisvale, WV using vacuum tankers. Following are his observations:
1. Effecient set up of dump site.
Morrisvale FD carries their suction hose on their pumper below the ladders at chest height with low level strainer preconnected. This makes it possible for one person to remove it instead of 2. Dump site was completely set up within the I.S.O. recommended 5 minutes with 4 people (2 on pumper and 2 on tanker).
2. Prompt return of first tanker to dump site is critical. The first vacuum tanker was refilled and waiting to move in to dump for the second time before the first mutual aid tanker was finished dumping its first load of water (at approximately the 17.5 minute mark of the drill).
3. If you need mutual aid to supply a pumper to fill non-vacuum units- How soon will the water from that site be available?
4. No waiting to fill.
5. Efficiency of side dump tankers. Tankers could dump into any and all of the four dump tanks at one pass.
6. Tankers turned empty.
NO WAITING TO DUMP, NO WAITING TO FILL. That's the key to moving BIG WATER!
A tanker sitting still is not moving water!"