Alan M. Petrillo
Component manufacturers have made great strides to fine tune various pumps, monitors, and nozzles so those pieces of equipment give the best performance when being operated in wildland and urban interface environments. And, new ways of handling old problems are continually being developed.
Elkhart Brass makes the Flex Attack nozzle, popular with wildland firefighters for use on handlines, says Eric Combs, marketing director, Elkhart Brass. “We offer it in a break-apart version that can be shut off, broken apart to extend the line, and then the tip attached at the end of the extension. This can be done quickly, without shutting down the entire line back to the apparatus.”
Rod Carringer, vice president of sales and marketing for Task Force Tips (TFT), says his company’s Tornado monitor has undergone changes requested by wildland crews. “We now have nozzle choices that integrate lighting and thermal imaging in them, which was driven by people operating in the wildland field,” Carringer says. “These nozzles are being used on monitors on both Type I and Type III engines.”
Carringer notes that TFT offers two separate styles of nozzles for wildland use. “Some users want totally restricted flows to conserve water, while others want the latitude to gate a valve in the command cab,” he says. “They might want 15 gallons per minute (gpm) most of the time but need to go to 125 gpm at others.”
|(1) KME partnered with Elkhart Brass to develop
Whipline and bring it to market. Whipline has flow
rates available from 30 to 120 gpm, is suitable for
pump pressures up to 300 pounds per square inch
(psi), and sweeps 90 degrees horizontally to each
(Photo courtesy of KME.)
The Tornado monitor line also has an electronic oscillation function that allows an operator to set the monitor to remember a particular motion. “If the monitor is installed on the front edge of a truck’s bumper, you can get about 220 degrees of oscillation,” Carringer observes.
TFT also has developed nozzles that allow flow limiting, Carringer notes. “The nozzle might be set at a 10-, 15-, or 20-gpm limit, but it’s still an automatic nozzle that controls the best stream at whatever limit it is set for.”
He adds that there’s a regular need for flushing wildland nozzles. “A lot of debris comes through the tanks and pumps and into the nozzles,” Carringer says. “A lot bigger chunk will go through a pump than will come out a nozzle.” Accordingly, TFT came up with Smart Stream, a nozzle where the operator has to make a secondary movement to flush. “The nozzle operator has to make one movement to flush and then hit it a second time,” he notes. “It’s a failsafe method to go to flush to get debris out of the line and then go back to firefighting.”
David Durstine, vice president of marketing for Akron Brass Co., says that all Akron’s nozzles used in wildland applications have a built-in flush setting to get rid of debris that might clog the nozzle. With the company’s Forestry monitor, nozzles are available in several adjustable gallonage models as well as fixed-orifice, fixed-bore tips, stacked tips, and compressed air foam system (CAFS) tips.
|(2) The San Marcos (TX) Fire Department uses an Akron Brass
Forestry monitor on its Ford-F550 extended cab 4×4 brush truck
that carries a Hale HPX200 200-gpm pump, a 325-gallon water
tank, and a 20-gallon foam cell. [Photo courtesy of the San
Marcos (TX) Fire Department.]
When using an electrically controlled monitor in wildfire situations, there often is a slight hesitation after a firefighter initiates an action for the monitor to carry out. But, a partnership between Elkhart Brass and KME has solved that problem with the introduction of the Whipline CXC monitor.
“Wildland crew members often like to ride on the outside of the vehicle and direct a stream where they can move their hand quickly and hit a spot of flame they may have missed,” says Doug Kelley, KME wildland product manager. “The point of the Whipline is that it is a manually controlled monitor that reacts quicker, even from the controlled environment of an apparatus cab. It’s a manual cable-controlled system, which means you don’t have that small hesitation with electrically controlled monitors.”
KME partnered with Elkhart Brass to develop Whipline and bring it to market, with KME having exclusive rights to the product for two years. Whipline was patented by Elkhart Brass. Combs says the Whipline CXC monitor has its own specially designed nozzle with an adjustable pattern preset at 30 gpm, which he calls “the sweet spot for wildland use in terms of water conservation but still being able to lay down the right amount of water on the fire.”
Whipline has flow rates available from 30 to 120 gpm, is suitable for pump pressures up to 300 pounds per square inch (psi), sweeps 90 degrees horizontally to each side, and ranges from minus 30- to plus 60-degree elevation.
|(3) A Task Force Tips Tornado monitor mounted in the front-
center of a brush truck demonstrates an attack against a wildland
(Photo courtesy of Task Force Tips.)
Elkhart Brass also makes the Sidewinder EXM monitor that is used in many wildland fire situations, often paired with Elkhart’s 6000-200E nozzle, a selectable gallonage nozzle that can flow between 15 and 700 gpm. “The Sidewinder EXM is well-suited for wildland use because it’s designed to handle extreme conditions,” Combs points out. “The vibration load and duty cycles on wildland monitors can be pretty extreme, with some applications running all day, five to six days a week.”
Durstine says Akron’s new Forestry monitor has been well received by wildland firefighters. “It’s designed as a simple, easy-to-use-and-install monitor that will flow from 13 to 300 gpm of water, foam, or compressed air foam (CAF),” Durstine says. The Forestry is an electrically controlled monitor that has a manual override, can be tied into a vehicle’s onboard CANBUS system, and offers precise movements when using a joystick through software-based proportional control.
Akron also makes the Firefox electronically controlled monitor for wildland use, Durstine says, flowing from 13 to 500 gpm and allowing auto oscillation.
Looking at pumps for wildland use, Jason Darley, accounts manager for Darley’s North American pump division, says that Darley’s MP 500 has “long been the choice of wildland firefighters for power takeoff (PTO) use because it allows for pump and roll but still provides the pressures needed to get water uphill in the wildland environment without staging portable pumps halfway up the hill to allow workable flows at the top.”
|(4) The Darley JMP 500 is a fire pump carried on all
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
(CAL FIRE) Model 34 Type III engines, along with a
Darley 1-1/2AGE 24K auxiliary diesel pump. (Photo
courtesy of W.S. Darley Co.)
Darley says that all California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Model 34 Type III engines carry a JMP pump and a Darley 1-1/2AGE 24K auxiliary diesel pump. Darley makes a gasoline version of that pump, the 23V, that provides similar performance with the same pump end, nearly identical gear ratios, but a different engine. “The Briggs and Stratton 26- and 34-horsepower (hp) engines went away because of emissions regulations,” Darley points out. “So, we replaced them with a 24-hp Kubota-a very reliable engine with similar performance capabilities that has the advantage of being lighter in weight.”
Darley adds that the company’s Odin line of products does a lot of wildland business in supplying engine-driven compressed air foam system (CAFS) units. “They’re used from Texas to Montana,” he says, “and we’re seeing greater use of CAFS on wildland units, especially among municipal departments that have to fight wildfires.”
Jon Moore, national sales manager for Hale Products, says Hale’s HP75 and HP100 portable pumps are units popular with wildland firefighting teams “because they create a lot of high pressure with lower flow.”
The pump head on the HP75 provides 15 gpm at 325 psi for wildland use and 135 gpm at 50 psi at standard flow, Moore says, while the HP100 (the same pump head with a different gear box) puts out 20 gpm at 285 psi for wildland or 100 gpm at 50 psi for standard use.
The Hale HP300, putting out 380 gpm at 25 psi, often is used by wildland crews to hook to a 2½-inch hoseline and fill a water tanker, Moore adds. It also can pump 155 gpm at 100 psi for wildland use.
When wildland firefighters need a floating pump, Moore says many turn to Hale’s Fyr-Float, a 25-pound floating pump with a two-cycle gasoline engine that can deliver 65 gpm at 85 psi. “We also have another floating pump, the Super Chief, which weighs 65 pounds and can be used in a stream, pool, or rough water to fill a tanker by delivering 380 gpm at pressures between 20 and 30 psi,” he says.
Steve Toren, director of North American sales and marketing for Waterous, says his company makes a line of portable pumps, both gasoline and diesel, for wildland use. “The BLM (Federal Bureau of Land Management) uses our E501 series portable pump driven by a liquid-cooled 24-hp Kubota diesel engine,” Toren says. “It goes on their medium duty Ford F-450 wildland trucks and puts out 15 gpm at 350 psi for wildland use and 90 gpm at 150 psi for standard flow.”
|(5) Wildland firefighters use a Hale Products HP75 portable pump
that puts out 15 gpm at 325 psi for wildland use. (Photo courtesy
of Hale Products.)
Waterous also makes the PB18G-2015 portable pump, driven by a Briggs & Stratton 18-hp V-twin gasoline engine in a wraparound frame that can be carried by two firefighters. The unit flows 15 gpm at 320 psi for wildland use and 75 gpm at 150 psi for standard use. Toren says it can be mounted on the back of a vehicle or carried to a water source in the field. “We also make the Floto-Pump, a floating pump that weighs 50 pounds and can be carried into remote areas,” Toren points out. “The wildland version has a 1½-inch discharge that can flow 15 gpm at 170 psi for forestry applications and can operate in as little as six inches of water.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.