"Rural Water Supply, Buckeye Style" was presented by Jeremy Keller this morning. Not surprisingly based on the session's title, Jeremy is with Ohio's Fire Chiefs' Association. Rural fire fighting operations, including operations in the wildland/urban interface, often struggle to secure an adequate water supply. Jeremy says that this situation puts the safety of responders and the public at risk and limits tactical options available to incident commanders.
The Water Delivery Technical Advisory Committee (WDTAC) of the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association has worked since 2010 to develop tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure adequate water supply for rural fire incidents. The WDTAC has developed innovative approaches to moving water, whether the incident involves an isolated barn fire, a wildfire, or a conflagration on an oil field "fracking pad."
As an example, single lane dump tanks were developed in Ohio - their narrow rectangular shape keeps tanks from blocking narrow rural roadways. They are the same width as a pumper, and hold the same water capacity as a square tank. Hexagon tanks were also developed, that now provide a safety zone between tanks for personnel to work in.
Ohio now has a systematic process for a mutual aid association to help take areas from "zero" to "big water" in about 3 years, which helps all areas of the state adopt the new technologies and practices that are developed for the water supply systems. They are able to reach water delivery rates in excess of 1,000 GPM. Jeremy warns though that investment in pre-planning, equipment and training are required to make these systems work, but the innovations are very successful in these rural areas, they are worth it.