Tools and Tips for Using Alternative Water Sources

If your main calls are in a city setting, than you probably never think about where the water is coming from! But if you are like 80% of the Canadian fire fighters, you have a combination of areas with hydrants and without hydrants, and a vast number have no hydrants at all! This is where preparation and knowledge of drafting will come into play.

It is key to remember that in drafting, you’re not sucking the water, you’re lifting it; and from whatever body of water you’re utilizing (a pond, pool, river, etc.), you need a solid, hard, reliable surface that will support your apparatus while doing so.

  1. Have a plan & pre-identify sources ahead of time.
    Even if there are “wet” hydrants in the area, there is no guarantee a malfunction won’t happen or even the possibility of running out of water. Before responding to a call, you need to pre-identify sources ahead of time:
    “Where are the static water supplies?”
    “Is there a solid reliable surface to place the truck on?”
    “Will we be able to reach the water supply with the amount of hard suction hose we have?”
    These are all questions you need to ask to ensure you’re prepared when you arrive on scene. This means continuous training and practice for when the call comes.

  2. Always carry the right tools that will maximize flow.
    Coming prepared to a scene with drafting equipment, like hard suction hose and a good strainer (or two), can keep you from looking foolish in front of the public. A high-volume low-level strainer, like this option from Task Force Tips, will keep friction loss down and with the optional jet siphon, it will significantly increase suction lift capability. Your strainer needs to be fully submerged to be effective. However, without a floating device, you run the risk of drawing bottom debris into the water flow.

With TFT’s brand new compact floating attachment (soon to be released at FDIC 2016), you can turn any TFT high-volume low-level strainer into a floating strainer. By simply unlatching and removing the pivot pin, the float attachment can be quickly added or removed to maximize water supply operations. This new floatation device allows TFT's high volume low-level strainer to collect clean water from ponds, lakes and rivers. The strainer inlet remains suspended 18" below the water surface level to avoid drawing surface air or bottom debris into the water flow. Most floating strainers take up huge amounts of space, creating storage constraints for critical and often more utilized equipment. The new TFT package is compact, shaped square to maximize compartment utilization, and is durable enough to allow equipment to be stored on top to make sure you never have to leave your (sometimes vital) drafting equipment behind.

There are a number of different ways to achieve drafting operations but the number one priority is to always have a plan and be prepared. Water is typically one of the most critical tools when fire fighting so it is important to never be caught without it. Using devices like these allows you to get water from very distant areas by using the jet siphon and your discharge hoses, to move large volumes of water back to dry stable land where you can utilize it. In a crisis situation, you need lots of water, lots of manpower, lots of fire hose and many port-a-tanks, as it is all about moving water.

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