It's always nice to know what or how other operators do things around the pump.  Be it mandated through SOP's, SOG's, personal preference or just because someone else said that we always do it this way.


Tank to pump.  Open or closed?

Tank refill / re-cerculate.  Open or closed?

Hydrant operations?

When operating from a hydrant tank to pump open or closed?

Preference on which side LDH enters the pump.  (Drivers, Passengers, Back, or Front)



Or any other pump little tid bit that you would like to add.  If you could please state why for what you do, it might make more sense to others.

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll start off.

I always leave the tank to pump in the open position so all I have to do is get out and pump. This is not a SOP it is personal preference.

I always leave the Tank fill / re-circulate cracked so that the pump does not over heat when flowing no water. This is left cracked even when the pump is off. Again this is personal preference and others at my station leave it in and only open it when they use it.

When I am operating from a hydrant I also leave the tank to pump in the open position. Personal preference and widely used in our area. The one way clapper does not allow the tank to back fill through the tank to pump and if I should have a sudden water failure from the hydrant side I still have water from my tank. Even though it might be at a lot less pressure than I was operating with the hydrant their lines won't go dead.

I like the LDH to enter the pump on the driver's side on the pump panel. Personal preference. I only do this on my paid dept. I like to be able to feel it, lean against it to know what is happening with my water flow. The department that I volunteer with has theirs set up on the passenger side. They said that it a lot more safe that way. I have pumped like that and felt naked without being able to see the hose and what it was doing.

We use a hydrant if we have it. More so where I work and now volunteer but where I used to volunteer the hydrants were few and far between. I have never used a fold-a-tank in operations other than in training. We usually stick a Water Tender as a stationary supply to the pumping engine then the other Water Tenders shuttle the water back and fourth to the stationary Tender.

Along with hydrants most of our 5" LDH lines are set up with a stortz to 2 1/2" female reducer so we can connect to the wharf hydrants that we have in our area. It is easy to flip off when you need a steamer connection.

I will add anything as I think of it. If you have any questions or are confused just ask me.
Good start.I'll add a couple things I like to do.
I prime the pump before putting it in gear.That way there is water at the pump right away and it doesn't get a chance to get warm if you are pulling a long draft(our one dry hydrant comes to mind).
I also like to leave the tank fill cracked just a little bit.Just insurance against a hot pump.
No hydrants in our area.I absolutely love having the intake lines coming in on the operators side of the pump.Keep my leg on the intake lines and a hand on the dischrage lines.
Good stuff guys. I too like to keep the tank to pump open even when on a hydrant, the tank fill I will leave cracked unless I have a full tank and I know that we are going to be moving water non-stop (master streams in a defensive op for ex.) When drafting I have used both fold-a-tanks and straight tender hook-ups. I have to admit that I like hooking straight to a tender if it feasable because I don't have to worry about any crud flying into the tanks and possibly getting into my strainers. When it comes to the LDH intake it really depends on the situation, if I'm in one of our top mounts it really doesn't matter. On our side mounts my dept. has the hydrant set up on the off side and our draft hook-ups on the panel side where it is easier to keep an eye, or hand, or butt on the intake to make sure your draft is good.


we have two short section of supply hose a 5" pony with stortz and 2-1/2.

i used to roll the 2-1/2 with the male threads out and catch hell from the other operators for doing that. 1 guy asked me to explain why and i showed him how i could remove the hose from the compartment and unroll it to the hydrant and if the roll shot reached the hydrant i could make the PP connection, leave the valve closed and only have to go to the hydrant ONCE instead of twice to make the connecton i.e.un roll the hose from the hydrant to the truck-make the connection at the hydrant-go to the truck and make the connection-then go back to the hydrant and charge the hose.

my proceedure was a hard sell but i had a couple of converts

Another was on long lays where i would be at a hydrant pumping a LDH to the scene, i would hook up to the 2-1/2 connections in addition to the 5" to maxmize the GPM draw from the hydrant. i was fought on this one too until i showed how additional GPM could be increrased to the pump at a drill

good post-good subject Alex
ok here we go .my personal preference is to have tank to pump closed so that i go thru my set routine, when working from hydrant supply i always fill my tank then close my tank to pump , as we drive on the other side of the truck and road i like to have my supply come directly in to the pump panel (officers side) , now obviously being a good competent pump operator you have to be able to adjust what you do to suit any situation that comes along so i can change these preferences when required to . hope this is what you were after .
I usually keep everything closed. We run a top mount panel and the first control is the tank to pump, so when I step up to the panel, the first pull is tank to pump.

Here in Southwestern Pa. during the winter months, I open up the tank fill/recirculate valves every time no matter what we are doing. We are on RIT assignments for a couple surrounding communities so what I do is to recirculate my tank and check on everything every so often.

When we are working off a hydrant, unless I have been using my tank, I normally leave my tank fill closed. If I had been using tank water then once my supply has been established then I will crack the tank fill till I fill up. I do like Alex Sharp's idea about leaving the tank to pump open to get you out of trouble should you lose your supply.

As for LDH, I would prefer it to enter the back. But since what we have uses a driver's side inlet, I don't have a lot of choice. I like the back inlet because it seems to take out that loop that you have to cllimb over.

With me during night runs I light up as much as I can. I turn the rig's work lights, ground lights on and put the tower up. With our squirt, we set the outriggers and raise the stick out of the cradle.
Ok I am new to the group, I read through the comments and really enjoyed the comments. I have been in the fire service for a few years. (1974)
To read the old school and knowing its still alive, leg, butt, hand on the hard suction , hand on the steamer to check for heat!! At a working fire nothing feels better than when the weight of the water lays on the hard suction and your in touch with the operation it talks to ya.
When you pull the primer, its sound, feel the pull of water, feel the weight on your leg and finally here the water hit the pump and the pressure gauge jumps to 50PSI. Easy on the throttle bring the pressure up open the valves. The discharge gauge gets pressure, the hose comes to life and kicks the last kink out of the hose. The pressures are set relief valve is working. Now you know, say it to yourself, good job, you know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. You know your crew has water and you read the pump, know when a line is shut down or opens again. It does not get any better than that. My hats off to the people that make the water flow.
Don't have much in our SOP's or SOG's at either fire department that I'm paid or volunteer at. Though we do advise our pump operators at high-rise or commercial buildings to hook up the LDH or 3" hoses to the siamese connection (sprinkler or standpipe).

I've done it either way with having the tank to pump and tank fill levers open or closed when not in operation.

During hydrant operations, if the engine's water tank is full, the tank to pump and tank fill valves would be closed and just go off hydrant water. Don't believe that there's any clapper valves to prevent back feeding of water if the tank to pump lever was open. Since I operate mid-mount pumpers, need to be aware of my pressure gauges in case the hydrant decides to fail. That's when you need to be ready open your tank to pump and increase pressure to compensate for the failed hydrant.

Due to the pumpers being mid-mounts, I don't mind having the LDH going into the front or either side of the pumpers. I always train the firefighters and myself to use different lengths of LDH and proper positioning to use either master intakes.

Biggest thing I have going on with the pumpers are metering the flows of all the discharges. Each pumper is plumbed different and you can have as many as four elbows (ninety degree bends) does make a difference with friction loss. I found one of the speedlays to have a friction loss of 35 psi before leaving the pump and into a 200' line of 2" with a TFT adjustable nozzle. That line registered 90 psi at the tip with 280 gpm flowing at a PDP (pump discharge pressure) of 200 psi. At this point, I would be operating at 70% pump capacity. Remember to look at the pump testing plate that'll read your 100% at 150 psi at so many RPM and 70% at 200 psi at so many RPM and 50% at 250 psi at so many psi. Those smoothbore nozzles are looking better each day.
With the conservation of water and short discharge times our pump operators have limited pump times to really get the feel for pump operations. Most of our operations are from a drafting tank. Check out the defuser that is avialable to recirculate the water while pumping. its also useful as a training tool. Transfer from one tank to another, relay pumping, drafting or just engineer training.
I like keep all valves closed so that they get used. It makes you open them when you perform your checks.

but....If it's realy cold... I will leave the tank to pump, and the pump to tank cracked so I can keep the pump from freezing. I simply put it in pump gear if we are stopped a while and not using the pump. See more of my tips at
I have worked for a full time department for 18 years. We have just recently switched to top mounted pumps. I love them.
During winter months I keep the pump in volume and the tank to pump open and the recirculate valve open as well, I just put the rig in pump at all calls.
Otherwise during normal weather, all valves are closed, but the pump is kept wet.
I put my rig in pump every morning.
Hydrant hook ups are simple too, we always put the 4 1/2 in gate valve on one side and our five inch hose on the other. That allows me to have ample water or another rig to use that hydrant.
We pump and exercise all apparatus each Sunday per SOP.
Something new for us is the wheel chock, a good practice.
You paint a great picture, almost poetic.


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