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Rural Fires

In rural areas, served by volunteer fire departments, initial response time is important. Consider a test program that places 200-300 gallon water trailers in micro stations outside of a 5 mile radius from a vol fire department. Maybe a farmer would allow a small structure to be placed on his property that would house such an apparatus. A trailer that had a monitor/ or 1 inch booster line, and water could slow the spread of a fire in a rural field or on a farm. Much like fire extinguishers are placed in many public buildings a fire water trailer could act as a rural fire extinguisher. Ready.gov tells us that the first 48 hours are on us in a major disaster, so I borrow the catch phrase and say that the first 28 minutes or so are on us (rural citizens) in a rural fire. Not only have these in ‘public access points’ for emergency use, but design a system where local farmers etc. doing controlled burning could borrow one as a standby to prevent type thing.

Thanks for reading!

Submitted by in Jul 2014

Comments (17)

  1. Super for rural-rural areas but of course here in Indiana we have no such rurals...that's good based on our fire call plan.
    in Jul 2014
    1. Community Member Idea Submitter
      I don't think it has to be super rural for this to work. Imagine it as a fire extinguisher much like those mounted in walls inside buildings. Thnaks for the comment!
      in Jul 2014
  2. This idea needs a lot more contemplation. The trailer would require a pump and hose. Fuel would go bad and gum-up the motor. A tank this small will freeze in cold climates. Hoses and nozzles will require protection from the elements, pilferage, and maintenance. There are commercial suppliers out there selling "packages" for property owners in rural areas that contain a pump, hose, and nozzle for those who have a static water source. Most farmers who are amenable to housing a water trailer already have a pond or stream on their property and the pump package would provide a better alternative for them and POSSIBLY their nearest neighbors.
    in Jul 2014
    1. Given that the system (idea) is to protect their farms and ranches, I'm sure many of these farmers and ranchers would be more than happy to regularly check on and maintain one of these, on a weekly/monthly basis, to ensure the safety of their farms from the threat of fire.

      As to freezing, since the risk of fire greatly decreases during "the frozen months" of these upper region areas, the water in these could be drained. Or, something similar to a block heater could be installed in the tank, to ensure that the water never reaches the actual freezing point, in deep cold times of the year.
      in Jul 2014
    2. Community Member Idea Submitter
      Many rural fire departments no longer use ponds as water sources. Silt, algae etc are not friendly with modern fire equipment. Maintenance of these trailers could be done by local fire corps volunteers. Just like a fire extinguisher in a public building they will require regular inspection.
      in Jul 2014
  3. I've been to many a rural fire. Water is the biggest need. Getting water on a fire quickly, to stop it's spread (enhanced by wind gusts) can keep a fire from becoming too large to manage.

    After the fire, it takes days of 24hr fire-watch to ensure it doesn't blaze up again. By stopping it ASAP with these nearby water trailers, we could greatly reduce the damage.

    And if the trailer had a gas-powered sprayer/pump on it already, all that would be needed would be a pick-up to go to the storage site, hook it up (like any trailer), and take it directly to the fire, while the fire department is still enroute! LOTS OF TIME SAVED and an instant opportunity to begin fighting it right away.
    in Jul 2014
  4. Richard,

    I can only respond from the viewpoint of being a resident of a rural area in N/E San Diego County for the past 16 years. Our county has NOT gone the way of "water tenders" placed around our community. Lest you think that we haven't, our community AND our county has sustained three v-e-r-y large wildfires in the past 11 years. We also live with a 50 mile radius of three, active earthquake faults.

    We live within a 30 mile radius of two air fields where 90% of the air tankers [C-130's] are stationed for firefighting efforts.

    During the '03 fires, our "first responder" resources learned some lessons, as did the community, regarding wildfire fighting efforts. The many families that are NOW living in the foothills and mountains of San Diego County are beginning to see that the forest and chaparral are NOT the enemy. We are now beginning to focus on the home owner and what he/she can do to prevent an ember fire from consuming their homes.

    My wife and I teach the FEMA/CERT Academy to anyone who will listen. We constantly press the point that it is the responsibility of the HOMEOWNER to do all they can to keep their acreage and its flora as trimmed and clean and irrigated as is financially possible.

    In past fires, CERT team members have "red flagged" homes that have not abided by strict "suggestions" on how to keep their homes and property as fire-secure as feasible.

    Firefighters will no longer risk their lives, their fellow firefighters' lives to "structure protect" a residence where NO safeguards have been employed. Red-flagging tells the firefighters to "keep on going" to another structure that has the potential of being saved, in lieu of placing fire personnel in harms way to save a residence full of debris---and God-knows-what may be hiding in the garage...

    Alan...C.E.R.T. team member
    in Aug 2014
    1. Good one Alan,hadn't ever heard of we CERT that carry various colored "toe-tags" could be used for that as well,again,good one...

      Having Family with property in your area and think it was the '03 out of control wildfire that could of been disasterous to them as well is not the only reason I bring this idea back up,again,and will not go into all the super detailing of why it should work,point is this.

      It does not take much of an imagination if even understanding even in a limited way after some training of how a creepy-crawler fire gets its motivation though via CERT training as well raised as I and my two siblings were with an 22 year Veteran volunteer Fireman/Dad helps that imagination...but think of the ways the united military air forces of ours/U.S. could help out in the ground support of controlling an out of control wildfire...just saying,don't want to over on the original Posters design but if I recall,last I heard anyway that we are currently with another run-away out that way.

      One matter again that I will mention,well two. 1.) is like a hand to a glove the Presidents CAP plan works right into it-Climate Action Plan and for 2.) besides over the years Locals have become frustrated where our our Militaries do ordinance training and rightly so on the frustrations but they (Military) could get live action training by helping out the ground support and again,just saying...
      in Aug 2014
    2. AWESOME! I'm a big believer in CERT training. I recently completed CISM training with our local Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) and was scheduled to do the CERT Training when work hours knocked me out of the opportunity. There are things that "training" gives us that are important things to know ...

      The Bible says a wise man will acquire wisdom and with all of that wisdom he will also acquire knowledge and understanding. It is important to know the ins-and-outs of larges fires, how they get started, and more importantly how to keep them from starting.

      KUDOS on the CERT comments!
      in Aug 2014
  5. Water is a critical resource in rural fire fighting -- but without trained personnel the water in the suggested units would usually be wasted.

    I think that security and maintenance of the equipment could be handled (each unit would need to be parked on someone's property anyway) but what I don't see anywhere in the original suggestion is a plan for who is going to pay to buy and maintain all these water trailers. Who is going to manage the training needed (and, of course, who is going to fund that training).

    Years ago some rural fire departments in the western part of the US had used tank-and-pump systems that can be carried in the back of an ordinary 3/4 ton pickup truck. Such units are kept at the home of regular members of the fire department. Depending on the location and type of a call, the member backs his pickup under the unit and secures it in position, then proceeds to the fire. Other departments had fire trucks built on converted Army surplus 2-1/2 ton trucks that were kept at individual member locations instead of at a centralized fire station. I don't know if any rural departments are still doing anything like that today, but I do know that at least some of the departments that were doing things like this stopped because it just was not effective.
    in Aug 2014
    1. Community Member Idea Submitter
      I don't see this a wasted water. To assume that only trained people can deploy water on a small fire while waiting for trained firemen really lacks faith in their fellow man. Excessive training requirements are part of the reason rural volunteer firemen are disappearing.
      in Aug 2014
    2. I have to agree with "Community Member" ... you don't really need training. If you're living in the country, you're no idiot. You already have to do a great deal more than most folks do ... yourself, and hooking up a water trailer to your pick-up and heading off to be the first on-the-scene to fight a fire requires little "know-how".

      I'm not knocking training ... that's always a good choice, but not always a requirement. In this case, we need "anybody" who can operate the darn thing to be "out there" and spraying water at the base of the flames while the experts are enroute.
      in Aug 2014
  6. I like the idea on the fire department maintaining these, only in a rural area the fire department "are" those rural members. The pond water and algae mentioned could easily be avoided by a cup full of chlorine bleach introduced into the tank before towing it to its destination. The towing and shaking about would distribute and mix it accordingly, and prevent algae and "critter" growth in the tank.
    in Aug 2014
    1. I see not only the local volunteer Firemen going extinct from what we of the older generation have been trained for in various programs that we had from the First Grade and beyond both during and after schools hours that are being put under some form of attack and disappearing as well (including Boy/Girl Scouts)but causes to much emphasis being put on the teaching Staff making them more like Babysitters to do all this training in this newer edu. tact when actually survival tact must be one of the oldest things there is in the education field...Teachers shouldn't be expected to do it all when,and if lost to the younger generation are the reading,writing and arithmetic ways would make true education the real victim when if all that is taught are survival skills and for that by the loose term would make us all to big for our britches...and again just say'n.
      in Aug 2014
  7. Besides again did not intend to "over" on your post Community Member by going off subject but intended to write opinion of what doesn't make us to big in our britches goes to here in NE/Indiana as example local schools are installing Recourse Officers (that can do the survival teaching on the side and [hmmmmm] and of an National interest idea could they double-down on CERT recruiting?)but anyway these Recourse Officers are being implemented here in local NE/Indiana schools after these last years' of school shootings/etc etc.
    in Aug 2014
  8. richard & everittron...

    When my wife and I teach the "disaster preparedness" C.E.R.T. module, we press the issue of HOMEOWNER responsibility for keeping their property "fire-fighter" safe, for the reasons I express in my earlier post.

    It is also necessary to remind home owners that it will be an ember "storm" which will be responsible for consuming their home. It's been our experience that a 100' long firestorm, "wall of fire" engulfing structures will not. We have "Santa Ana" winds which reach 80+ MPH gusts; these winds can uproot trees and send them 100' or more.

    Our fire department is just now beginning to condone a "shelter-in-place" philosophy, so that once the ember storm passes through your property, you can emerge from your "fire shelter", look at your home/property and can take immediate steps to put out any small or smoldering fire in your home or around the perimeter of it.

    If you evacuate the property, you will be placing the safety of your home in the hands of the firefighters. This is not a bad thing, IF they happen to be in your neighborhood, see the fire and can extinguish it before it gets out of control. The likelihood of this being the case varies!

    My wife and I also disabuse our students of their stubborn and irrational attitudes...

    There exists in the minds of many citizens a reasonable expectation, that by virtue of taxes paid, each is entitled and guaranteed to “sufficient resources” [i.e. Fire, Sheriff, EMT’s, etc.] in place now and anticipated to be in the future, affording every need, under every circumstance, for everyone in the community.

    Citizens fail to realize that these agencies are incapable of caring for every citizen even in the best of times!
    in Aug 2014
  9. If you watched the "COCOS" fire news in April of this year, you also may have noticed that there were about 12 helicopters from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in San Diego and elsewhere which assisted greatly in getting the fires [10 fires!!] under control in less than a week.

    We salute them and give thanks for their heroic efforts!; God only knows of the potential for damage that could have ensued without their presence.
    in Aug 2014

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