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No hydrants? No problem

Firefighters practice moving big water
Firefighters from Swisher and Solon set up 2-1/2-inch and 1-1/2-inch hose lines to create a siphon jet to move water through a series of folding portable water tanks supplying Engine 141 (behind them) Sunday, April 22, during a tanker shuttle exercise at Lake Macbride.

LAKE MACBRIDE– Fire hydrants.
Most towns have them strategically placed on street corners and other easily accessed locations, so firefighters can quickly find them, connect their pumpers to them and assure a steady and uninterrupted water supply.
However out in the rural areas and in towns without a municipal water system, those familiar fireplugs are nowhere to be seen.
Firefighters have utilized tank trucks, or tankers, to haul water to fire scenes for as long as there has been motorized fire apparatus.
The towns of Swisher and Shueyville lack a municipal water supply, which led to an effort to place underground water tanks, particularly in new housing developments. There is also an increasing number of larger homes in the rural areas often located at the end of long lanes. These driveways, often narrow, necessitate responding firefighters to lay large diameter hose from the main road to the house, effectively laying a pipeline with which to supply the pumper with water. A second pumper hooks onto the hose and is supplied by tankers dumping into portable water tanks. The tankers then scurry off to the closest hydrant or other reliable water supply including lakes, ponds or streams, to replenish.
In order to maintain proficiency and improve efficiency, the Jefferson-Monroe Fire Department (JMFD), along with the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department, hosted a two-day seminar titled, “Moving Big Water with No Fire Hydrants” Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22. The program, sponsored by the Johnson County Mutual Aid Association, focused on several topics key to hydrant-less firefighting, with a mixture of classroom and hands-on training. The seminar, taught by instructors from Got Big Water (GBW) Associates, LLC of Westminster, Md., culminated in a two-hour tanker shuttle exercise utilizing Lake Macbride and two boat ramp locations off of Opie Avenue.
Tankers and engines (pumpers) from JMFD, Fairfax, Solon, North Liberty, Mount Vernon, Tiffin and Coralville teamed up to establish a peak flow of 800 gallons per minute (gpm), exceeding the goal of a sustained water flow of 500 gpm for two hours, according to Mark Davis, President of Got Big Water.
Gene Beard (Deputy Chief, JMFD), Dustin Fordice (Capt., Solon) and Glenn Heims (Chief, JMFD) spearheaded the exercise in coordination with GBW.