fire engines today utilize pumps with the capacity to deliver 500 to 2000
GPM. Most common are 750 to 1500 GPM with a two stage dual impeller front
mount, midship or rear mount pumps while mny departments use single stage
pumps. Water is carried in a range of 500 to 1000 gallons for first line
Does it make sense to have a fire engine
with less capacity than your equipment pickup line at the hydrant with
this wide range of fire suppression equipment being available? While considering
most room and contents fires you need not to worry if the fire load needs
a water source of two hand line running 150 to 200 GPM.
When the fire load is greater than 150
to 200 GPM, your fire company's engine is positioned at side1 and you just
laid dual lines because heavy fire is visible.
You size up the scene and recognize there
is need for two lines off your engine with the possibility of a third or
using the master stream. Each hand line will carry 150 to 200 GPM
and the master stream will deliver 500 to 1000 GPM.
You have just received communications that
the second due company has just picked up your lines and established a
connection to the hydrant. The second due engine radios that they let the
Your pump operator is calling for more
water from the engine at the hydrant, but they are giving the maximum they
have. You check to see what the problem is only to find your 1250 GPM engine
is being supplied by an 750 GPM front mount engine.
||The second due engine company is running
a reserve 750 GPM engine as a first line engine because their 1250 GPM
engine is in the shop.
This is bad time for such a discovery because
the fire is making head way on your crew and third due engine has
not arrived on the scene.
You call for a second alarm and due to
the distance, the second alarm units have to travel, the delay in properly
placing an interior knock on the seat of the fire could make this
interior operation into an exterior operation fast.
The rule that has been broken here is the
idea of not placing an engine that has the maximum rated capacity at the
water source, to supply adequate supply of water to the first arriving
engine on side 1.
Another problem with this standard is some
1250 GPM rated engine supplying your water source might be experiencing
some type of performance problems.
department communication centers will communicate a list of fire engines
out of service twice a day, usually once in the morning, once in the evening
and anytime a fire company places an engine out of service or back in service.
What they don't tell you is what fire company
will be running as a backup. And sometimes a reserve engine will be given
a engine number of the first line apparatus.
photo courtesy Spencer Stevenson
If you missed the run down of equipment
that is out of service the time to find out this information is not on
the fire ground.
Know the fire apparatus in your area and
know the possible reserve engine that might be used.
Get a complete list updated every quarter
of the year. Post this information for your engine operators to review.
this monkey wrench into an upcoming drill.