At the weekly Monday evening training session recently, firefighters from the West Grove Fire Company practiced using the buried water tank at the London Britain Station. The 30,000 gallon tank provides an alternative water source for when hydrants are not available.
The fire company provides emergency response across 68 square miles of territory in Southern Chester County, and supporting fire protection for neighboring companies in nearby Avondale, Newark, Oxford and Elkton. Much of the area is not served by fire hydrants, so fire companies must bring water to the fire in tank trucks, and are often using alternative sources of water like ponds, streams, etc.
When the fire company built the third station in London Britain Township, it added a buried water tank for two purposes: The tank provides water for the station's sprinkler system, and also is a source of water in emergencies for firefighting. To assure that the station is protected by its own sprinkler system, 50 percent of the buried tank's capacity is reserved. The balance -- 15,000 gallons -- is available for fires elsewhere.
There are two ways of getting access to this water source -- either by drafting from the tank or by using the fire pump for the sprinkler system. Either way provides fast access to 15,000 gallons, or about five tanker trucks of water.
At the training, crews leveraged Engine 22-2 to practice drafting from the tank through the established dry hydrant connection. Drafting is an operation that uses suction from the engine's pump to draw water from underground to the fire engine to supply tankers. Crews also used the existing electric pump for the station's fire sprinkler system to practice that approach as well. The fire pump is located in the small building that sits next to the fire station's parking lot.
As part of the training, the crews practiced setting up the various high flow hoses and valves needed to rapidly fill tanker trucks.
When Station 3 was constructed, the fire company received important support from the London Britain Township supervisors who extended the driveway from 896 back past the buried tank -- providing a paved and secure driveway for tanker operations. That roadway will eventually serve as a secondary entrance to the park for the township.
Information about the construction of the WGFC's London Britain Station can be found here: http://www.wgfc.org/content/station32/