ISO Class 3 rating, District Wide!

Updated March 10th, 2004

One of our 3 modest brush tankers climbing a 40% grade.

Nueces Fire Protection District Number 1 housed in Annaville that is located in the North and Western portions of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas. A total of 3/4's of the population and 1/5th of the response area is covered by both fire departments. The city portion is fully hydranted and gets a Corpus Christi response of 3 engines, a ladder, a chief and an ambulance along with a general alarm response from the volunteers. The rural Nueces County area is not hydranted and does not get a city response. The volunteers have the only sets of Jaws of Life in that portion of Corpus Christi. A set responds from downtown Corpus Christi when needed.

The people of Corpus Christi voted 79% in favor of a tax increase to upgrade the volunteer fire department. The vote allows up to a 350% increase in tax revenues. The insurance industry uses a numbering system to rate community fire defenses with a 1 being the very best(only 35 departments have ever earned that grade in the U.S.) and 10 being the worst. The old city type fleet of apparatus owned by the department only allowed an ISO Class 9 and 10 that covered the entire rural area with a Class 5 applying within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant.

Our new Station 1

In order to offer the most to the citizens we protect, we brought in rural firefighting and ISO rate reduction expert Larry H. Stevens to define the fire problem, offer solutions and point us in the right direction.

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Mr. Stevens has a string of departments unders his belt that were formerly Class 9 or 10 that now have Class 3's and 4's in Texas all in similar and larger size departments that don't have municipal water supplies. He has also helped five Texas departments earn Class 1's in the last couple years, including the largest city in the state. He has even helped a volunteer department in this state earn a Class 1, plus his own department was the first Class 1 volunteer outfit in its hydranted areas and a Class 3 in the unhydranted portions. Those are the two best grades in the country In addition, he has designed some extremely innovative volunteer friendly apparatus around the country.

The departments goal was an ISO Class 4 district wide in 2003 but they ended up with an even better Class 3 and when their addendum is submitted a Class 2 should apply. That will tie the department for the second best grade in Texas and in the U.S. for any department without a fire hydrant water supply.

In order to achieve a great rating in the non-hydranted portions of the district, future apparatus would need to pack four times more hose, would need larger pumps, carry three times the water, would need Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFs) systems and would need to be setup to shuttle water bucket brigade style. The new funding would allow the purchase of a new fleet of fully equipped apparatus and the elimination of the previous fleet. It also allowed the remodeling and updating of two fire stations and building of a brand new one.

The NEW Fleet

The fleet is made up of 6 of these pumper tankers. Each rig is equipped with a cab that seats 5 firefighters, four of which can have air paks on. The water tank holds 2500 gallons of water. Dual 4 inch tank to pump lines allow full flow from the water tank.

The pump is a high pressure version of the Hale 8FG pedestal style industrial pump with a 2250 gpm draft rating and 4000 gpm hydrant rating. All discharge plumbing is stainless steel. Why such a big pump? We are surrounded by refineries, industry and large warehouses. Believe it or not the 4000 gpm pump cost the same as a 1250 gpm pump. During our ISO tests we supplied a 3500 gpm portable monitor with one rig through dual 5 inch lines in just 4 minutes with four guys.

The pump suction on both sides uses a TFT intake valve with a 30 degree 5 inch swivel storz connection that can be adjusted in angle. The innovative valve uses a butterfly valve to gate water flow. The control handle is relocateable to the left or right side of the valve and has a visual indicator of valve position. A three quarter inch drain is rigged to be tubed away from the panel. An adjustable suction side relief valve protects the hose and pump from water hammer and it too is plumbed away from the panel. A screw style valve and 5 inch storz elbow are used on the five inch discharge. A water thief is used on the full flow 3 inch discharge to allow one 2 and one 1 inch discharge. All three valves can be changed out without the need of a wrench or mechanic when needed.

A 20 foot 3 inch clear type hard suction hose is left preconnected to a chichsan swivel and gated 3 inch side suction valve for drafting water from a drop tank. Long handle swivels are used on the hard suction hose to eliminate the need for spanners to make and break connections. A low lift 4 inch strainer with foot valve is attached to one end of the suction hose. The oversized strainer insures no loss of flow through the foot valve. One firefighter can release the three Velcro straps and get a draft while the fire pump supplies attack lines without fear of losing a prime due to the foot valve. It takes about 30 seconds to get a draft. A tank to pump, tank fill and primer control is located on the panel offering full control for any type of drafting operation without having to go to the other side of the rig.

The rear 5 inch discharge gets the same valve and elbow treatments as the other LDH discharge.

The pump panel shares the same water thief and intake valve. The tank to pump, pump suction and primer controls match those on the other side. The hard suction hose from the other side can be quickly transferred to the auxiliary suction on this side if needed, or an additional hard suction supplied.

The side suction valves are easily repairable without opening the panels. Simply removing four bolts and the valve seats and ball can be quickly changed out. d

Pump discharges include two 5 inch outlets each rated at 2250 gpm, six 3 inch discharges (all of which can flow 1000 gpm or more for LDH supply) and a pair of 4 inch pipes (yes two) supply the 4 inch remote control deck gun.

A 40 gallon Class B foam system supports the 220 cubic foot Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS). The CAFS system is designed that if the system runs out of foam or if the air compressor were to shut down the system immediately switches to water for firefighter safety. Pump discharge pressures for all attack lines and portable monitors is only 80 psi. An attach line can be operated wide open for 22 minutes before we run out of water. The deck gun requires 80 or 150 psi for maximum flow and reach. It can operate 8 and a half minutes with a 2 inch smooth bore tip simulating a flow or 1650 gpm. Up to 9 preconnected lines and two master streams are plumbed for CAFS.

Only 1% AFFF is carried and used at a two tenths of one percent rate for structural fires and 1% for flammable liquid fires. It takes 5 gallons of foam to treat the entire water tank for CAFS operations and 25 for a flammable liquid fire.

The hose bed has a capacity from 4,000 to 10,000 feet of 5 inch hose for split lays depending how it is configured. During out ISO evaluation we proved we could hook two trucks hose beds together and lay both of their supply beds and have a master stream operating and sustained in relay in less than 5 minutes.

A 10 KW generator with four fixed 1500 watt flood lights one facing away from each aspect of the apparatus, 8 electrical outlets and three cord reels with 500 watt portable lights takes care of all electrical needs.

Fifty feet of hard suction hose is carried with 20 feet preconnected to the pump with a low level foot valve strainer attached for immediate one person deployment.

A Turbo Draft

Each rig carries one water syphon know as a Turbo Draft. There are no moving parts on the device. It is carried as a preconnected attack line with 200 feet of 5 inch and 200 feet of 3 inch hose connected. It takes about one minute to deploy with one firefighter. What it does is allows us to draft water from static sources using soft hose. Where hard suction hose is limited to a lift of 10 to 15 feet through 20 to 30 feet of hose a Turbo Draft can lift water 40 plus feet through 400 feet of hose. It will provide 250 to 800 gpm. During our ISO ratng we proved the brush tankers 500 gpm pump could fill a tanker at 1600 gpm at draft using two Turbo Drafts and the big rigs could run 5 (we never tried more than that) at one time and flow 4000 gpm at draft 200 feet from the fire truck. The Turbo Drafts allow us to fight fire from the street in front of the structure while the Turbo Draft preconnect is used to suck water from the canal behind the house or the pond on the lot.

Performing a side hill certification at 29% grade

The rigs carry a 12 and 14 foot folding ladders, a 28, 24 and 30 foot extension ladders, a 14 and 16 foot roof ladders and a 17 foot combination ladder. For a ladder truck compliment of 155 feet of ladders. The body is by Saulsbury made of stainless steel, the water tank is poly and the chassis is a Freightliner with a 400 hp motor with an automatic transmission and Jake brake.

A special head up display is provided for the driver using a thermal imaging IR camera to see 4 to 5 times further at night than high beam headlights. It also allows the rig to drive through heavy smoke and still see. It will allow the driver to see where a fire is spreading in a structure and allow a visual cue of toxic spills and gases. A fold down LCD display on the visor is used to see the image. The same display allows for safe backing using the rear vision camera. The camera can also be used to look for persons in and around auto accidents.

The combined fleet packs 19,200 gallons of water, 360 gallons of foam (equivalent to 1060 to 2120 gallons of 3 or 6% AFFF), 27 master streams, pump capacity of 15,000 to 25,500 gpm, 90,000 watts of generator capacity, 63,000 watts of floodlights, 1800 feet of power cord, 1,074 feet of ground ladders 21,000 feet of 5 inch hose, 405 feet of hard suction hose, 9 turbo drafts to allow drafting water 42 feet below the apparatus and up to 400 feet away, and 66 pre-connected hose lines.

The first four ready to go.

Final rear view of three rigs













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