Sunday, September 16, 2012

Introduction to the Long Driveway Water Supply Solution

Setbacks in the Suburban-Rural interface can measure 50 feet to 1 mile. Often when these setbacks extend off the road at these distances, your hose bed will not make it. Access can be a single lane driveway, making it difficult to bring in multiple engines. Regardless if the area is supplied by a municipal water system or water supply delivered by Fire Department tanker/tenders, the forward engine will have to drop large diameter supply line.

To understand a solution to these long supply problems one must look at the problem. For example, a two story single family home is set back 1100 feet from the road and access is via an 8-foot wide single vehicle driveway, which includes several curves. The forward engine has only 1000 feet of 5-inch diameter supply line. A hydrant is placed 200 feet south of the driveway entrance. Water source to forward engine is 1300 feet! Other factors can affect the supply, but that is a different topic. What is the solution? Relay Pumping, right? However, not just relay pumping- long driveway water supply pumping.

Long driveway water supply solutions start with identifying your areas needs. A list is created and owner’s permission to calculate distances is acquired. If the setback from access to possible forward engine placement is greater than your first arriving engines supply line then a LDWSS (long driveway water supply solution) is required. The next step is explaining to the homeowner the circumstances. Do not indicate that there is a problem but that you have a plan to improve your abilities in the event they ever require your services. You also want to take the opportunity to explain to them that signage will need to be placed along the driveway. These small street signs are about 6”x8” and are mounted on a green fence post. The main portion of the sign states "FD Special Hose Lay" or “FD Long Driveway” and underneath a number. This number indicates which engine and to stop at the sign. For every 900 feet a sign in needed.

Why 900 feet? Most engines can carry 1000 feet of LDH, which gives you an error margin of 100 feet (hook ups, bends, to far forward or back).

Executing the LDWSS, once in place, is a very simple relay operation. The initial engine drops their LDH at the sign that states “1” then goes to the best position at the hazard area. The next in engine will spot on the sign that states “2”, drop their 5 inch, proceed foward to connect the LDH from the Forward engine for supply. This continues until a water supply is fully established. A third engine at the street drafting from a porta-tank and pushing to the middle engine or hooked up to a hydrant as a Key Engine supplying engine 2.
Long driveways do not have to be problems but solutions to water supply woes. Some vital ingredients are enough large diameter supply line, engines to help the relay and establishing a water source. Get your local mutual aid companies involved to ensure resources are available and understand your LDWSS protocol. At 3 am, it does not matter if Mrs. Smith’s house is 22 feet from the street, where a 150 pre-connect will work all night or her house is 1.3 miles in the woods. Fire control occurs when we apply our agent after ensuring it is available. Our main agent is water and we must have water supply solutions. One more example of Redefining the Engine Company.


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