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Solving the Water Pressure Problem for Wildland Firefighters

By Darley Team
You’ve arrived at the fire and begin laying down water. Everything is going as planned, the chiefs barking orders, the probie is holding the nozzle correctly, then you notice the water pressure drop. You run to the truck, and despite proper training, and rationing, the tank still ran dry. You scramble to the radio, only to hear the next tanker is over 5 minutes out. While it’s a bit of an extreme scenario, (the probie never holds the nozzle right) wildland fighters always need to be aware of their water usage.

Wildland firefighting has its challenges, but getting water to the fire has always been far trickier than their urban counterparts. Urban areas have efficient water distribution systems (WDS) for firefighters to connect to and start fighting. Most rural areas are quite expansive, which means areas further out are less likely to be connected to the system. If these areas are connected, their water pressure will be lower based on how far away they are from the main pump.

Most residents rely on local water sources instead of being connected to the main WDS. When fighting fires, tankers will fill up at these locations and deliver the water to firefighters. Departments with great coordination will have a steady flow of full tankers arriving at a fire and empty tankers refilling their supply.

Rural fire departments have become savvy and practice rationing water and keeping tabs on local water sources, so they don’t run out. Unfortunately, it’s an imperfect solution that even with perfect planning can lead to situations where firefighters are scrambling to get more water. Or heaven forbid what if a tanker breaks down on its way to a fire?

Ideally, firefighters should have access to hydrants wherever a fire is likely to occur. Getting new hydrants is easy, but getting those hydrants the proper pressure can be tricky, which is why a system like the Hydrant Booster is ideal. The Hydrant Booster is a decentralized pumping station that improves the pressure and water supply of nearby hydrants. The station reduces tankers refill time and gets them back into the action faster. It’s also self-testing, which makes maintaining the system far easier than other similar systems.

The Hydrant Booster has been successfully installed in Corrales, New Mexico and Santa Rita, New Mexico. After installation, local hydrants saw an increase in pressure, which helped lower both towns ISO ratings.

Rural fire departments are expected to do more with less. The Hydrant Booster will improve refill times at a fraction of the price of a new truck. Rural departments need to be savvy and resourceful the Hydrant Booster is the perfect tool to keep your community safe.

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