Has anyone ever used a trailer mounted fire pump in the range of 1000 - 1500 gpm?  I work in a rural department where water supply is a definitive factor in our success.  My thought is that a trailer unit would give us a piece of equipment that could sit at a dry hydrant and supply our tanker shuttles.  This could free up an engine for suppression.  It would also cost much less then another engine, but it is kind of a 1 trick pony.  The full time departments around here are starting to get a lot of trailers for Hazmat, rescue, and other special operations.  They seem to work well.  I would love to hear everybody's input on these types of trailers, and if they have a place in a rural environment.

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interesting thought...but with the pressure required to draw from a dry hydrant at that flow...it would have to be one hell of a pump I think.....I don't know if you could get say a trash pump to work......but it couldn't meet the 1000 gal/min goal you specified.....
Paul, I am not trying to advocate for one pump manufacturer over another, but Hale makes a unit that is designed for this purpose.


They can go up to 3000 gpm, but I think this would exceed our input pressures.
Trailer mounted pumps are used frequently on oil and chemical plant fires. Many companies such as; Wild Well Control, Boots and Coots, and Williams Fire and Hazard Control, all have their own setups which are capable of flowing better than 6000gpm. Of course they are usually set up to direct draft from static sources and not by dry hydrants.

Two things come to mind however. In my district, the dry hydrants are 6 inch PVC pipe. On draft, we can get just a shade over 900gpm. Trying to flow more overwhelms the system and you lose prime and resultant pump cavitation. I have to be more careful with my vacuum tanker (almost 1200gpm vacuum) that I don't collapse the pipe by pulling too high of a vacuum. The second issue is one of manpower. Utilizing a trailer mounted pump is time consuming and usually takes 2 persons initially to get it deployed and operating. In a rural situation, manpower can sometimes be as critical as water.

As far as being cost effective, I would be skeptical. Once you figure the cost of the truck to pull it safely, the cost of the unit itself, and actually how many times you would deploy it, I really don't see it being much cheaper than a basic Engine.
If you had a town with one dry hydrant than yes, plant the trailer at the hydrant and now you have a pumping station. But hauling a trailer sucks. By the time you have it hooked and on the way, then spot it, a pumper could be drafting. Then you have to still leave someone there to operate it. So their is no gain, except for maybe remote access, it would be lighter and the cost savings verse a pumper.

Oldman, just curious our 6" dry hydrants seem to pull a little more GPM than you stated. As you know your max draft issue can be a few other things, like the distance of the piping, # of elbows, or the angle, height of lift for % of drop in pump capacity, the strainer design is a big one, or the distance off the pond floor. I have found on some that were "off" that settlement of the and restricted the lower half of the strainer and cut your GPM dramatically.

I think part of the problem is strainer position, and some may be leaks in the joints. The USDA and Forest Service rated them at 1000gpm.

I like you think the trailer would be a royal pain.
Matt I am aware that they are made....but cost has to be a factor also....Hell, the pumps of Fireboats used up here will pump 7000 gallons a minute......but I think you can buy an engine for the $$$$ involved in purchasing one....I just think it would end up being a royal pain in the ass to trailer another piece of equipment out and man during a fire......Just my look at it............Paul
Just mentioned what I have seen when diving to fix.
We had one for quite a few years, i t was used just as you said to pump a water supply during tanker evolutions and once at a large incident to provide a pump on a fire watch without tying up a pumper. The pump and engine came from a rig that was no longer mechanically sound on the road but still had a serviceable pump and engine.
Roy, it sounds like you no longer have this unit. Why would this be? Would your department ever look at getting another one?
When we look at cost efficiency we typically do not look at up front costs. If we can honestly justify the equipment, we can justify the purchase price to the tax payers as a bond or a one shot loan from the rainy day fund. For us the true cost is the year to year operations cost that eat into our small budget. If we are running another engine, the insurance will be very high, but if we pull this with a station pickup truck, costs can be much less. Also if purposed laws come into effect that require 8 hours of EVOC training on each apparatus, this would free up 160 hours of operating time on a dedicated pumper. We could still train towing the trailer with the station pickup and build confidence without the additional cost.
I have worked (years ago) with a trailer mounted pump. We had used it mainly as a water supply unit either at a dry hydrant or a pond for drafting purposes and it worked well.
The benefit that I see is that one of your firefighters could hook it on to their POV and head to a water source while the tanker went to the scene and dropped their load. This would let you have a fill station set up by the time the tanker arrived. I looked around on the web and saw several manufactured trailers but I am thinking that if you took a larger gpm pump off of a skid unit you could mount it on a trailer yourself for a lot less money. You may also be able to mount a generator and some lights on the same trailer so it could be a multi-functional unit.
The trailer pump is probably not the optimal unit but on rural and smaller depts. working with limited manpower and budgets, "adapt and overcome" has always been the motto and this may be a good solution.
Stay safe.
Matthew as I said this unit came from a truck we retired and we salvaged the pump and motor. It was mounted on an old public works heavy duty trailer. Initially it ran out of station 4 which was centrally located and next to a river. If the call was close enough we would use the unit at the station to supply tankers only moving it closer to a fire if it was justified,ie water supply, size of fire. A few years into this role a bridge in town had to be replaced ,cutting the town in half. On one side most of the residences and station four existed. But the commercial side of town including a huge lumber mill couldn't be accessed with out a considerable delay due to detour that was required. It was decided to move the pump to the lumber mill to cover this area and a rapid response truck was pressed in to service on that side. It was almost a year before things went back to normal and no major incidents occurred. We really no longer had room for the pumper trailer so it was left at the lumber mill and their fire brigade was taught how to use it. Eventually it wore itself out and since it only existed because we got it for all most free and served it's purpose but didn't warrant replacement it went the way of the do do bird. I hope this answers your question if not contact me again

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