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FOCUS


Steady supply Kirk Rosenhan outlines the water supply


challenges faced by US firefighters in rural Mississippi and solutions used to tackle them There have been several large fi res in these


the fi re scene is in a rural area without a site water supply, the problem can be really serious, putting lives and property in jeopardy. Additional issues are that, in many cases, insurance rates are based on the fi re department’s ability to supply an adequate water supply for the property, while there are numerous, sometimes onerous, requirements relating to the mechanics of delivery, training levels of responding firefighters and manpower levels, plus some legalities. Oktibbeha County in Mississippi, USA, comprises about 500 square miles with a mostly rural population. While most of the county is forest and agricultural land, there is a population of about 21,000 permanent county residents, with an estimated additional 9,000 students at a local university. The student population is mostly contained in multi storey apartments, with no fi re codes and a limited water supply, so the responding fire departments must be capable of tackling everything from grass fires to fires in multi storey occupancies.


G 38 MAY 2019 www.frmjournal.com


ETTING AN adequate water supply to the scene of a fi re emergency is always of paramount importance, and when


apartment complexes which have severely taxed the county and mutual aid fi re departments.


Protection levels


The county is protected by seven volunteer fi re departments operating out of 14 stations, which provide fi re, rescue and fi rst response to it and its visitors. There are pumpers (usually 1,000 g/m [3,785 l/m] pumps and 1,250 gallon [4,731 litre] tanks); tankers (up to 3,000 gallons [11,356 litres]); brush trucks (with small pumps and 200 gallon [757 litre] tanks); and rescue vehicles for vehicle wrecks (road traffi c accidents). All these appliances come with equipment such as hydraulic rescue tools, smoke fans, air bags, small pumps, miscellaneous loose equipment, generators and tools. While most of the departments’ work these


days is related to emergency medical services (EMS), making up about 80% of the calls, there is still the need to be ready for ‘the big one’. Hence training becomes a real problem, as there is a limit to the number of hours a volunteer can expend on both fi re and medical training and exercises.


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