In nearby Delaware County, the suburban and urban nature of the communities means that most fire companies are used to their primary water supply coming from fire hydrants. Such is the case for Springfield Fire Company, Station 44. For the West Grove Fire Company, like many fire companies in Chester County, using tankers to bring water to the fire scene is something that is regularly rehearsed as part of training, and many incidents utilize rural water supply techniques.
Recently, Station 44 reached out to the WGFC and asked if Tanker 22 could pay them a visit and show off how tanker operations are conducted, and let their members gain some hands-on experience in rural water supply. Station 44 brought several engines and a ladder truck to the large parking lot at the Springfield Mall. Tanker 22 arrived and members were given an overview of the equipment on the truck.
To demonstrate the capabilities of Tanker 22, a 2019 Peterbilt 567 Four Guys tanker, the Station 44 crews were shown how to remove both portable tanks, and set them up to simulate tanker operations. The crews placed the 3500 gallon tanks near each other, and then used the special equipment carried on the Tanker to create a connection between the two tanks. The full load of 3,500 gallons on Tanker 22 was the dumped into the first tank to demonstrate to the 44 crew how the side and rear rapid dump valves work. Springfield's engine established a draft from the first tank -- and the crew used the opportunity for pump operators to practice drafting operations (which is also something rarely used in Delaware County).
Meanwhile, Tanker 22 was refilled at a hydrant, with crews getting instruction on tanker fill techniques. With 44's engine flowing a large 2-1/2 line to simulate a fire fighting operation, crews practiced tanker and drafting operations making use of both portable tanks. It was interesting to see the reactions of the 44 firefighters, many of which had not seen this kind of operation performed in person before. While rare, it certainly is possible for an unexpected emergency to require Delco companies to need high volume, rural water supply techniques -- and now 44's fire firefighters have experienced those techniques with hands on training.
Even though West Grove and Springfield don't regularly run calls together, the "brotherhood" of the fire service and a shared passion for learning and training, brought the two organizations together for a Saturday morning session. We thank 44 for its hospitality, and look forward to our next shared training session.