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Relay Pump Operations: Who Says It's Just for the Long Lay?

Paul Shapiro

Producing the required flow to combat a fire is crucial for a successful operation. With the most common fire being the single family residential, water supply from a hydrant system is for the most part not a problem. In fact, it seems like most house fires can be knocked down with the onboard booster tank water.

Then there is the not so often heavy stream fires that we all get at least occasionally. It is this type of fire that requires the mega-water operations to support the big streams required for fire suppression. This is where the water supply officer can get creative.

In past articles I’ve discussed the use of large diameter hose (LDH) for the supply line evolution. We’ve shown how it can be used in both single and multiple supply line operations from either one or two hydrants to bring in maximum flow.

We’ve also learned about relay pump operations. A relay pump operation is used when there is not enough pressure in the water supply to move the water through the supply hose to the pumping apparatus on the fireground. A relay pump operation comes in handy supporting existing pump operations on the fireground with additional water.

It’s been an accepted practice to allow the shorter LDH supply lines to be supplied solely from hydrant pressure. Remember the old saying “laying an LDH supply line is like taking the hydrant to the fire, or like laying and above the ground water main.” In other words, LDH laid from a hydrant, especially on the shorter lays, is going to bring in maximum flow.

It is this type of thinking that can get us in trouble. LDH is great, but can still have its restrictions. LDH must be used in conjunction with everything else on the fireground to its best capability in order to reap its benefits.