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  • What size of tanker/tender is best?

    We recently submitted our FIRE act grants and have done some research on whether the best tanker/tender is larger (~4000 gal) but less mobile and takes longer to fill and dump, or a smaller, more mobile tanker that is quicker to fill and dump. A recent articl in the April 2001 FireRescue magazine suggests that the NUMBER of tankers, rather than the SIZE of individual tankers, is the important consideration.

    Any thoughts?

    ------------------
    Captain Michael Guy
    Lyons Fire Protection District
    Lyons, Colorado

  • #2
    Captain Guy,
    2 departments that know tanker/tenders well are right in your backyard one is Cherryvale and the other is Evergreen.

    The 1500-2000 gallon ones work great because they are more mobile, they fill faster and dump faster. But selecting your tender also depends on what the purpose is, is it just for water shuttles or are you going to use it on wildland fires, such as equipping it with all wheel drive and pump and roll.

    One site to check out is www.masterbody.com
    they make good tenders and engines, Cherryvale, Intercanyon and Foothills have masterbody trucks so you maybe able to see theirs.

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    • #3

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      • #4
        //A recent articl in the April 2001 FireRescue magazine suggests that the NUMBER of tankers, rather than the SIZE of individual tankers, is the important consideration.


        You mean one author does. If you increase tank size increase dump size, if you increase tank size figure out a way to increase fill rate. For example we can fill a 4000 gallon tanker in 35 seconds. Dump one in 60 seconds. We hae tankers with 565 gpm per mile each wway flow rates.

        I disagree with the number issue. And I know 40 departments with the best ISO ratings to support my point.

        //The 1500-2000 gallon ones work great because they are more mobile, they fill faster and dump faster.

        Faster than 35 seconds and 60 seconds?

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        • #5
          Not just the number of tankers, but the total gallonage is important. Out of our firehouse, we roll over 5000 gallons on 1 tanker and 2 engine tanks (retired our 3rd engine tank, so that number when down to 5000 from 6000).

          Our tanker holds 2000 gallons and pumps 750 gpm. We were going to upgrade it to 1250 when we got a new pump, but then we'd have to change all the piping.
          Tanker 139

          Our older ET, (which is getting replaced next year with a bigger, badder truck) holds 2000 gallons of water and pumps @ 1250 gpm.
          Engine Tank 139

          Our other ET (which is currently being refurbished with a closed cab and built in foam tank) holds 1000 gallons of water and pumps @ 1250 gpm.
          Engine Tank 239

          We also have a forestry unit that holds 205 gallons. Because of retiring 2 of our trucks, we have lost approx 1300 gallons over the last 6 years.

          Comment


          • #6
            It all depends on the features and options on the truck. Firovac makes their vacum tankers which work well without using pumps.

            My opinion is that if you have the money to get one tender and you need a large amount of water right away for initial attack get one large tanker with 3-4,000 gallons. If you want mobility and the ability to do a proper shuttle get 2-3 2,000 gallon ones.

            It also is becoming clear that having tankers of different sizes bringing differing amounts of water can sometimes make water supply more challenging.

            What you should do is investigate thoroughly everyones opinions, talk to departments in your area, there are a ton of them in the foothills area near you that use tenders so get their opinion they know what works and which manufacturers can offer what you want. Do you homeowrk dont take the word of just a handful of people, everyone has differing opinions and believe that their way is the best and the only way to do things, it may be for them but it may not work for you. In other words dont buy somebodys elses truck, buy your own.

            Comment


            • #7
              Look at lots of things...

              --Topography. Bigger tanks=bigger trucks; here in the foothills of the Appalachians, our 2,300-gallon tanker is as big as I'd ever want. Consider roads (and their shoulders), bridges, driveways, etc.

              --Drivers. Do you have people capable of driving some big many-speed beastie?

              --Station space. Not just size of bays, but number. If you have room for one big tanker, that's obviously better than one little tanker.

              --GPM. Look at LHS*'s web site for info on how ISO will calculate your flow. If you don't give a hang about ISO (for some weird reason), look at it like this:

              --Time to water source
              --Time to set up for filling
              --Time to fill
              --Time to unhook
              --Time to turn around
              --Time to return to the fire
              --Time to get in position
              --Time to dump

              Add all that up, then figure how many gallons of water you are delivering in that time. If it takes you 15 minutes to get to a hydrant, fill up, and return, in a 3,000-gallon tanker, you're delivering 200 GPM. That's not too hot, especially when it's your only tanker and the lines are flowing 250 GPM.

              Compare drive time to fill time. If you have lots of mediocre hydrants, your drive time is less but your fill time is more. A small tanker would be better. With scarce but good hydrants, a big tanker would be better.

              Have fun.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just some random thoughts...

                1) Big tankers well designed will in almost all situations out perform well designed small tankers in total Gallons-per-minute-mile delivered.

                2) Big tankers and small tankers in the same shuttle don't tend to work well -- it tends to produce peaks and valley in delivery rates, when a steady rate of delivery is easiest to manage. Now, if you can split your shuttle into different fill and dump sites for the big and small guys, you can still continue to use both.

                3) I don't agree with the number of tankers vs. capacity arguement. However, key to using big tankers is to have STORAGE capacity at the dump site. Let the few big guys come in, dump quickly, and store there water in portable ponds. If you don't have storage capacity, then a number of smaller tankers may make sense.

                4) Remember to factor in your road and especially bridge conditions. If you have lots of weak bridges, small tankers may be mandatory. Even the maximum size of the big ones may be restricted -- in my state, the absolute maximum for a tandem rear axle is 60,000lbs gvw before an overweight permit which specifies which bridges you may and may not cross is required. That makes 3000 gallons just about the largest size you'll find.

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                • #9
                  LHS* I want to see you fill a 4000 gallon tanker in 35 seconds, that's a little under 8000 gpm and dump that same 4000 gallons in 1 minute. That's funny, you make me laugh! According to NFPA, tankers/tenders with under 2500 gallons and quick unloading times are the most efficient tankers for use in water shuttle operations. And the ones with over 2500 gallons are best suited for stationary water supply. I professionally like the 2500 gallon elliptical tank, 750/1000 gpm pump (plumped for tankers), tandem rear-axle Tanker, 2-3 person cab, and side and rear dump valves. They have a good wheel base (turning radius and ride), not over loaded, not too long or tall, can be used effectively for nurse, shuttle and engine-pumping operations. Remember, basically the travel times stay the same with different sizes of tankers - its the fill and dump rates that will increase or decrease your fire flow rate. We have 8 Tankers, 6 of which have 1500 gallons, 1 with 2000 gallons, and the newest (2001) has 2500 gallons. NFPA 1901 & 1903 (very good information to look over) - tankers be designed to be filled at a rate of at least 1000 gpm, tankers are apparatus that carry at least 1000 gallons, single rear-axle for tankers under 1500 gallons and tandem rear-axles for tankers over 1500 gallons.

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                  • #10
                    At the department I've worked part-time for 3 years bought a 3000 gallon tanker on an international chassis.

                    It is moderately difficult to maneuver through the villiage, but possible. Once we get out on the country roads it works just fine though, and the amount of water available to us really makes it worthwhile.



                    ------------------
                    FF. Mike Burnes
                    Whitehall Fire Division

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      BIG Z

                      //I want to see you fill a 4000 gallon tanker in 35 seconds, that's a little under 8000 gpm

                      Well come on out or just get the ISO paperwork for a third party verification if you like! We can do it a bit faster than that too.



                      We use a very simple system to fill tankers, a 6 or 8 inch overhead fill pipe coupled to a 12 to 24 inch water line. They are located on every major street leaving the community. You drive the tanker under it. When a cistern it is not nearly as efficient the fill rate is 2500 to 3000 gpm.

                      //and dump that same 4000 gallons in 1 minute.



                      We use a single homemade 14 dump valve with a 120 cu ft air compressor used to provide the air/water jet assist.

                      Do you think these are the ideas that got us a Class 3 ISO rating in the middle of a barren desert?

                      //That's funny, you make me laugh!

                      You’ve probably just had a sheltered existence. The FD rarely has to shuttle more than 50 or 60 miles each way, so they've figured out a few things to make life easier, like not driving by static water in the 30 to 100 foot below the apparatus range without lifting water out of them.

                      ///According to NFPA, tankers/tenders with under 2500 gallons and quick unloading times are the most efficient tankers for use in water shuttle operations.

                      Gee, does NFPA run a fire department? NO! It is a committee full of opinions, rarely supported by fact. Yes! Here are some facts. All the best ISO ratings are held by those using big tankers. You know Class 3’s and 4’s without hydrants. Most scored Class 1 in water supply, the same as a hydrant system. Only 400 FD's ever got a tanker shuttle grade, odds are they don't sit on the committees either.

                      //And the ones with over 2500 gallons are best suited for stationary water supply. I

                      Only one FD has a Class 5 or better using a tanker as a stationary water supply. More NFPA theory I guess.

                      You see if you buy a 1200 gallon tanker and put a 10 inch dump valve on it does it make sense to buy a 3000 gallon tanker with the same size dump? NO! How abot two, or a jet on it??? That makes sense. If the 1200 fills with a single 2 ½” line would you set the big one up with a 2 ½” fill also? Most do. Not the best way tough.

                      //professionally I like the 2500 gallon elliptical tank, 750/1000 gpm pump (plumped or tankers), tandem rear-axle Tanker, 2-3 person cab, and side and rear dump valves.

                      So what have you done with it? What is your ISO rating outside 1000 feet from a fire hydrant, you know third party verification of your FD’s ability?

                      //- its the fill and dump rates that will increase or decrease your fire flow rate.

                      If you let them. We have a 500 gpm hydrant and we run a 250 gpm brush truck to that hydrant to fill tankers. How fast can we fill a tanker? It fills them at 1250 gpm. There is a lot to this business that is not in the NFPA standards or IFSTA.

                      //We have 8 Tankers, 6 of which have 1500 gallons, 1 with 2000 gallons, and the newest (2001) has 2500 gallons.

                      With all of that do you still have a Class 9??? My ladder trucks carry more water than your tankers. With just 8 tankers we can shuttle 4,355 gpm 1 mile or 1,565 gpm 5 miles. What can you achieve??? With the quicker more efficient smaller tankers?

                      //tankers be designed to be filled at a rate of at least 1000 gpm,

                      Yuk! Don’t follow the MINIMUM standard!!!

                      Here is an example of some times for a Class 3 volunteer FD with a Class 1 shuttle grade, they use 10 inch rectangular not square dump valves:
                      Miles each way
                      Unit dump fill total tank 90% 1 2 3 4 5

                      DT2 3.3 1.3 4.6 2,880 283 218 175 147 119 Fill rate 2384 gpm dump rate 872 gpm


                      Here is a Class 9 using a conventional tanker

                      Orville 64 1500 gal Conventional pump 1000 gpm fill time 2.2 min fill rate 614 gpm

                      Vacuum tanker

                      New Pittsburg 165 1500 gal Vacuum pump None fill time 3.7 min fill rate 365 gpm

                      Class 3

                      FCVFD

                      Hose lay hydrant fill times
                      (times include 200 foot drive up and drive off)
                      Unit Tank Dump Fill Total GPM RATE
                      # Size Time Time Time 1 mile 2 miles 3 miles 4 miles 5 miles
                      Trk-1 2000 0.95 0.91 1.86 305 193 142 112 92
                      Eng-2 2500 1.08 1.14 2.22 359 233 172 137 113
                      Trk-3 2000 0.95 0.91 1.86 305 193 142 112 92
                      Eng-4 2500 1.08 1.14 2.22 359 233 172 137 113
                      Tnd-1 4000 1.75 1.75 3.5 477 329 251 203 170
                      Tnd-2 4000 2.33 1.75 4.08 443 312 241 196 166
                      Tnd-3 4000 2.33 1.75 4.08 443 312 241 196 166
                      Tnd-4 4000 2.33 1.75 4.08 443 312 241 196 166
                      Tnd-5 3000 1.95 1.37 3.32 366 251 191 154 129
                      Tnd-6 4500 2.57 2.06 4.63 467 335 262 215 182
                      Tnd-7 5000 3.03 2.29 5.32 480 352 278 230 196
                      Tnd-8 4000 2.5 1.75 4.25 434 308 238 195 164
                      Tnd-9 2000 0.5 0.91 1.41 330 203 147 115 94
                      Tnd-10 2000 0.5 0.91 1.41 330 203 147 115 94
                      Tnd-11 4000 2.5 1.75 4.25 434 308 238 195 164
                      Tnd-12 7000 4 3. 2 7.2 7.2 560 430 349 294 254
                      Tnd-13 4000 2.5 1.75 4.25 434 308 238 195 164
                      ave ave ave GPM totals
                      Totals 63,500 2.04 1.42 3.47 7342 5071 2883 3238 2650


                      Small Overhead fill and CAFS Jet ON
                      (4.7) (8.1) (11.5) (14.5) (18.3)
                      Hose lay hydrant fill times
                      (times include 200 foot drive up and drive off)
                      Unit Tank Dump Fill Total GPM RATE
                      # Size Time Time Time 1 mile 2 miles 3 miles 4 miles 5 miles
                      Trk-1 2000 0.6 0.65 1.25 336 214 157 127 102
                      Eng-2 2500 0.65 0.70 1.35 413 265 195 158 127
                      Trk-3 2000 0.6 0.65 1.25 336 214 157 127 102
                      Eng-4 2500 0.65 0.70 1.35 413 265 195 158 127
                      Tnd-1 4000 0.53 0.90 1.43 653 420 309 251 202
                      Tnd-2 4000 1.25 0.95 2.20 579 388 292 240 195
                      Tnd-3 4000 1.25 0.95 2.20 579 388 292 240 195
                      Tnd-4 4000 1.25 0.95 2.20 579 388 292 240 195
                      Tnd-5 3000 1.05 0.75 1.80 462 303 219 180 146

                      I guess it all depends how much time ou spend working on setting up a system that works, doesn't it?




                      [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 05-02-2001).]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wish my life was pathetic enough to be able to sit for 40 minutes to type out one reply, and say nothing.

                        Doc DC3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          LHS*, The first portion of my post was directed at you (I should have stated so), the second part was to answer Captain Mike's question on tanker sizes and to give him some basic information and ideas to build a foundation on, from ALL sources. That's great you are able to fill and dump at those rates, what's your point. As for living a sheltered life, it looks like you are the one that spends way too much time living in a book. This is my opinion on ISO; when we call for mutual aid from a neighboring department they come back and say "we can't leave the city because our ISO rating will increase," great system. Is this true about ISO ratings? When all is said and done, the best system is the one that makes their citizens feel safe and provides the same, including its firefighters. Don't get so offended!!! Take a day off, man.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            //what's your point.

                            You can fill fster than than 1000 gpm and you infered that fast fils was not possible, gee I made you laugh. Oh you made me laugh, having all that apparatus and a Class 9 rating, Paying the highest insurance in the nation but at least you "feel" good.

                            //This is my opinion on ISO; when we call for mutual aid from a neighboring department they come back and say "we can't leave the city because our ISO rating will increase," great system.

                            Gee, so they are wrong! Their responding to you doesn't effect their grade by more than a fraction. They could lose partial credit for an engine or ladder if they run 10% of moreof their calls with it outside their district. But then again they are not getting rated every year, it should be once every 10 to 15.

                            //Is this true about ISO ratings?

                            No

                            //When all is said and done, the best system is the one that makes their citizens feel safe

                            Gee, the fire service is about feelings?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Boys, lets not get too irritated with each other. Due to the many factors the individual dept. faces one specific type of truck just doesnt do it for everybody.
                              What has worked in the past or what hasnt should be asked first. Are you trying to improve what works or fix whats wrong?
                              First thing I look at is my drivers. I,unfourtunately,dont have a large number of
                              10 speed drivers or those with enough training to be driving one of those large trucks on rural dirt roads, myself included.
                              Also, a long haul to a water supply site for my area is no more than two miles at most.
                              No hydrants by the way. So for my dept. and most surrounding depts we pretty much have
                              1 2500 gal tanker and two 1200 or 1500 gal
                              pumper-tankers per dept. Thats what works for our area. Most of our trucks are automatics which makes it much easier to drive for us non-commercial drivers, especially on those steep hills.
                              As for delivery rates, if it looks like we are coming up short then we call more tankers and add another fill site. We always try to separate the 2500's from the smaller ones and two portable ponds at the dump site is a norm, holding approx. 3500 gal. in the ponds. I dont know about you guys but we ussualy dont have fires large that would require the tanker shuttle to be in operation for more than half an hour at most.
                              Just what we do in my corner. Hey LHS some of the the stats you provide seem to have taken a lot of research, Have I seen your work before someplace?


                              [This message has been edited by chief1001 (edited 05-04-2001).]

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