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Water supplies Though residences, farms and businesses in the


county are supplied with domestic water by rural water associations or private wells, the capacity for fire flow in rural areas just isn’t there. Baths and showers, sanitary water, and the laundry are pretty low in terms of flow demands. A five mile (8km), six inch (150mm) pipe, powered by a 10hp (7.46kW) pump is not much help, so the fire departments must rely on water they carry on the responding vehicles, energise a water shuttle operation, know where nearby and all year available bodies of water are, and be efficient in their operations. Specialised hardware, such as portable pumps


to get water up to a roadway from a pond, jet siphons for suction/drafting operations, and long hard suction hose setups are important. In addition, the organisation of, and manpower to, set up portable dams and drafting hardware, and get these functioning, can be a real problem, especially when time is of the essence. Route planning for available tankers is always a challenge, as various volunteers and responding units become active on a more or less random basis. As well as the need for firefighting water, there is another consideration in that property insurance rates are based on the amount of water that may be delivered consistent with insurance company rules. These rules deal with how many vehicles may be utilised and how far they may travel, and rates are based on flow rates within a one hour duration. Additional rules deal with firefighter response and initiating fire streams on the fireground.


FOCUS


Locations and innovations


A GPS enabled map of the county, showing the locations of all overhead tanks, drafting sites (lakes, ponds, etc) and rural fire hydrants has been made. In addition to the GPS location of fire hydrants in the rural water system, a database of flow capacity, access, and supply duration is included. Simply put, some hydrants aren’t worth using in an emergency, but might be used at other times (such as filling a tank after a fire). Hence a responding tanker may skip the nearest


www.frmjournal.com MAY 2019


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