Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pump and Roll

Most urban and many suburban fire engines must remain parked when they pump water. However, Hillsboro is surrounded by wheat fields and has a significant wildland/urban interface area where forest and field meet developed residential areas and commercial buildings. To fight fast moving field fires, firefighters must be able to move quickly along the fire line. Hillsboro fire engines are built to allow them to pump water while moving. This week's drill at the Washington County Fairgrounds is designed to give our firefighters practice with the skill of pump and roll fire fighting.

In some cases, it is much safer and more effective for firefighters to remain inside the fire engine while moving forward and directing a stream of water at the flames. At other time, especially during mop up, firefighters with hand lines may need to walk quickly along the line to extinguish remaining hot spots. In either case, they need practice at performing these maneuvers.

In cases where the engine can travel no further due to terrain, firefighters may need to deploy a progressive hose lay. That means pulling a fire hose to its full length, then clamping the hose at that point and adding a Y-connector and another small diameter hose to extend their reach. All this is done without shutting down the water flow from the pumper. This allows firefighters to quickly get water to rugged terrain where no vehicle can reach and provides the flexibility to add another line at the Y-connector, if needed.

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