Engines Have Water?

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Does anyone know what this is??

That’s correct….It’s a water tank or booster tank… The same exact kind on those big firetrucks in the truck bay at the station.

It seems though that a big majority of the fire service has forgotten that these exists and that the fire engines they ride or drive around actually do have a tank with water in them! Oh, and its not just a little bit of water….Oh No way….These babies typically hold 500+ gallons of water and get this…..Some even hold 1000 gallons of water!! Yea, I know right…….KNOWLEDGE

The point is, all to often we are seeing more and more fire departments show up to a residential or commercial structure, heavy fire showing out a window, gable or roof and the first thing everyone wants to do is pull off a supply line and make a hydrant connection, all the while there is an uncharged pre-connect line someone pulled laying in the driveway or yard……WHY?

Hit the fire in the throat and knock it down!!

Remember, these engines today have 500+ gallons of water already on board, just waiting to be used.

Now let me show you something..

This is a 55 gallon drum. There are roughly 9 of these in a 500 gallon tank on a fire engine. Make sense now? Maybe a little?

Now for example, if you show up on scene, 2 story home, heavy fire showing from the A/B corner…… pull a 2 1/2 line and knock it back! If you have an 1 3/16 tip on a 2 1/2 line you are flowing 296 GPM. This is just over a minute and a half of straight open nozzle flowing off ONLY the tank!

Now change your weapon selection to an 1 3/4 line with a 7/8 tip and now your flowing 160 GPM. This is just over 3 minutes of straight open nozzle flowing off ONLY the tank!

Trust me, you can do A LOT of fire damage with 500 gallons of water!

The point of all of this is, we as Firefighters have to start rapidly getting water on the fire by whatever means necessary as soon as we arrive on scene. Trust me, we will get a supply line by the 2nd, 3rd or 4th due engine, but we need to focus on knocking down this fire with what we arrived on scene with. Seconds count with today’s modern fires and the longer you wait to put water on the fire because you are trying to connect to a hydrant, the bigger that fire is going to grow and put you and civilians in more danger! Don’t get tunnel vision just because you see fire!

I am not stating that you will NEVER need a hydrant, but what I am saying is, get on scene quick, stretch fast and hit the fire!!

Remember, common sense goes a long way as well. If you arrive on scene of a 3 story building that is 70% involved, yea, grab a hydrant because you will be there a while.

Situation dictates Resources and common sense goes a long way.



Jason Martinez is an 18 year veteran Firefighter with the City of Pensacola, FL and also served 12 years in the United States Army. He is also the creator and owner of Black Helmet Brotherhood.

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