Big Flow: Training operation breaks flow record for fire water
“I think what we achieved is a new unofficial record,” said Bob Gliem, industrial products specialist for Ferrara Fire Apparatus. Ferrara provided a rear mount Inundator Super Pumper with a 5,000 gpm draft pump for the exercise.
The previous record for combined water flow by firefighting apparatus cited by the participating Elizabeth (NJ) Fire Department is 41,000 gpm.
Held at Berth 25 at Port Newark, NJ, the exercise sought to shoot a volume between 49,000 gpm and 51,000 gpm over a distance of 500 feet.
The Neptune Task Force is a consortium of more than a dozen firefighting agencies and organizations in and around the New York Harbor region. The consortium takes its name from the National Foam Neptune submersible pumping system that delivers 5,000 gpm.
This year’s Neptune exercises were held in conjunction with a corporate pump school conducted by Phillips 66.
“The Urban Area Security Initiative run this drill annually,” Gliem said. “Normally it is done in September. But Chief Jeff Merrill with the Phillips 66 Bayway refinery asked that Ferrara and U.S. Fire Pump participate in their annual corporate apparatus school.”
Holding the two events together allowed for Ferrara and U.S. Fire Pump to provide the heavy equipment. Ordinarily, the big flow event is limited to 1,000 feet of 12-inch hose and feeding a single trailer mounted monitor.
“We spent about six hours doing setup for the big flow,” Gliem said. “We weren’t rushed. We had time to plan it and lay things out.”
One 12-inch hose was divided into eight six-inch lines using a Spider manifold provided by International Matrix Tank Terminals, Gliem said. Two of the six-inch lines fed the Inundator. In addition, IMTT’s 6,000 gpm trailer pump also fed the Inundator with two seven-inch lines.
The 12-inch line continued through the manifold and into Ferrara’s latest fire vehicle, the Deluge. With a capacity of 18,000 gpm, the multi-faceted vehicle is designed to replace as many as three trailer-mounted monitors.
“On the front of that truck we had a Williams Fire and Hazard Control Ambassador monitor capable of 8,000 gpm,” Gliem said. “The truck also had two Elkhart Magnum EXM monitors, each flowing 5,000 gpm.”
Also fed off the Spider manifold was a 3,000 gpm trailer-mounted National Foam Terminator monitor also owned by IMTT.
Other equipment on hand included an industrial pumper from Phillip 66’s Borger, TX refinery, complete with a Hale 8FG mid-ship mounted pump. The truck was fed from a U.S. Fire Pump 3,000 gpm submersible pump.
Photographs of the exercise show separate red, white and blue monitor steams, Gliem said. The streams from the two TFT Monsoons aboard the Borger truck were red.
“It was picking up red dye from a portable foam tank used to simulate foam operations,” he said. “That truck was flowing right around 3,600 gpm through two TFT Monsoons.”
Each of the two Neptune systems in use required 500 feet of 12-inch hose on the ground. A Fire Department of New York fireboat tied into the system required its own 650-foot stretch of 12-inch hose.
Further down the berth, a U.S. Fire Pump 10,000 gpm submersible pump fed a U.S. Fire Pump 6250 trailer pump which, in turn, boosted pressure to fee the new TFT Tsunami trailer mounted monitor.
“We got 9,000 gpm out of that TFT Tsunami with that configuration,” Gliem said.
The two Neptune systems in use independently fed their own 12-inch lines to two National Foam Ironman trailer-mounted monitors.
“There were comments being made such as ‘Is this practical?’ and ‘What real chance is there of needed this kind of volumn?’” Gliem said. “Obviously, you wouldn’t need this kind of volume for one tank.”
But what if there are multiple tanks burning?
“We kind of put it back into some folks’ mind that there is a possibility that you might need this kind of water down the road,” Gliem said. C