LESSON 4 - FOREST FIRE SUPPRESSION TOOLS
Canadian wildland fire suppression agencies currently use the Wajax Mark 3 as the pump of choice for delivering water. It is a low volume/high pressure pump capable of delivering 300PSI. High pressure is a requirement for delivering water to separate fuels on the surface and to provide penetrating power for burning material in the ground fuel layer below the surface.
Starting & Warmup Procedure:
* Warm-up is very important
Once the pump has been warmed up properly you may use it. This is as high pressure pump and requires a firm grip when using the nozzle. Most pump crews will have someone at the pump ensuring a smooth operation. Sometimes the “pump operator” will stay for the duration of use, at times they may stay for the first 20 minutes or so to ensure it will operate well.
The choice of nozzle depends on the type of fire activity. Small, low intensity surface fires are easily put out using a fog nozzle which creates a spray pattern of your desire.
For high intensity surface fires or material that is burning below the surface you should use a barrel (straight) nozzle which is able to deliver water over a distance on heat sources that are too hot to get close to or can "dig" into the soil for good penetration.
The operation of any pump is not complete without the addition of a tool box that is required to maintain the smooth operation of the pump and hose line. Together the following items make up a complete package called a pump unit and all pieces are required in order to do the job.
Standard barrel nozzles – Used for the purpose of directing water at the end of a hose line. They provide a single stream of high pressure water that can be used for the purpose of extinguishing flames from a distance (± 20 meters) or creating a fuel break around a fire. Fuels need to be separated to slow or stop fire spread and even a break of a few centimeters is sometimes all that`s required. All barrel nozzles are equipped with three tips which can increase water pressure, if a smaller diameter tip is used (In the event that pressure is lost).
Fog nozzle – Can be used for the same purpose as a barrel nozzle with less pressure. The unique feature of this nozzle is that it has an adjustable end which will provide a straight stream or a widely scattered spray which may be better in certain fuel types (grass or other fine fuels during early spring) Fuels in the early spring are much easier to put out and because the ground conditions are usually wet, the need for digging power in grass is not required.
Hose Strangler – Is used for restricting water flow through a charged (water flow in the hose) hose line. This equipment is required when additional hose or other pieces of equipment are added to the system. While using the strangler, tremendous pressure is exerted on the hose and caution must be taken to ensure the safety of the operator.
Hose wrench – Used to tighten up the intake hose connection at the pump.
Spare spark plugs and other repair tools
Gas line – Used to connect pump to gas can
Foot valve – Kept in the tool box and placed on the intake hose when required.
Water Thief – An adaptor which is be placed between two lengths of discharge hose and can siphon water from the main line for the purpose of filling back tanks or adding 3/4 inch patrolling hose.
Gated “Y” – An adapter which is added to a length of discharge hose and is used for the purpose of adding another hose line.
Tandem coupling – If there is a significant drop in water pressure with only one pump providing water, a second or more can be added to the line which should increase the water pressure at the nozzle. The tandem coupling is placed on the intake connection of the added pump and the pump is then connected to the discharge hose at both ends. Water is forced directly into the pump without the need of setting up a relay tank to draw from.
Other pieces of equipment found in the tool box include: pliers, screw drivers, spare rope, adaptors, hose repair kits, spare rubber inserts.