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  1. #1
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    Default Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    Seems this forum may be my best chance for some good advice. I've been googling for a while about this without much luck.

    I live in a rural area surrounded by wheat fields and I'm a part-time helicopter mechanic in my shop 200' from my house. My neighbor's shop just burned to the ground due to no firefighting capabilities and I am very concerned the same thing could happen to me-that'd be a very expensive problem. I have a private well with 4,000 gal holding tanks. I'd like to install some sort of electric fire pump with about 200' of fire hose so I could hopefully save my shop in the event of a fire.

    Any ideas or suggestions on where to look for this sort of set-up? Any help would be fantastic. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member eepete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    4000 gal is enough to give you a chance to stop it. If you can't get it with that, well, it was not something you could save.

    So here's the grown man solution: Your 200' of hose would likely be either 1.5" or 1.75" (they both use a 1.5" coupler). If the pressure out of the pump was about 130 psi, you'd see a pressure of around 100 psi at the nozzle end if you moved about 100 gallons per minute. This is pretty much the upper limit of what a single person can control, and the 1st time you try to use this (your "training") you will be knocked on your tranny. You can throttle back the nozzle for less flow and back pressure on you.

    Of course, I'm just looking at "real" firefighting stuff and sizes, but this might give you some ideas. If you got a 150 GPM pump, you'd have the flow you want. Hose is expensive, theright nozzle is in the $1K range.
    I'm sure there are other smaller solutions (1" line, flows of 50 GPM, pumps in the 75 GPM, nozzle cost in the $250 range) that would work too. I think that if the flow gets much below the 30 GPM range, you'd not have anything that was useful unless you were right there where and when the fire started.

    Finally, realize that you really can't go into the building when it's on fire. So you are looking at what you can do from the outside spraying in. Even if you were a cracker jack seasoned fire fighter, if it's just you going in alone is not an option. With good pressure/flow, you can put a lot of water in the far corner of a building from the outside.

    If you've got those big tanks, another thought to consider is sprinkler systems. There are residential sized/priced systems that have pumps to get the right pressure for a sprinkler system. You have enough storage for that to work. My house is sprinklered, but I'm on a municipal system so I don't need the booster pump and tanks.

    Hopefully others will have more afordable ideas, but there's my

    Pete
    '09 JD4520 Cab (60HP), '97 KubotaB21 TLB (21HP), MX6 rotary mower, SB1106 6' Sickle Bar, BB3272 6' box blade, GradeMaster 7' Landplane, 6' landscape rake, Woods GTC 40" tiller, PHD 9" auger, 4' x 8' chain harrow, '90 JD318 (18HP gas) with 48" MM mower, 54" front blade, 47" snowblower.
    Volunteer Firefighter.

  3. #3
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    JD 4320

    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    It sounds like you expect to be there to fight the fire. Why? I think you need an automatic fire sprinkler system, like most commercial buildings have. Since you already have the water storage problem solved, it shouldn't cost too much to have a professional firm do this for you. How big is the shop?

  4. #4
    Elite Member Mousefield's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    You mention the wheat fields, are you worried about fire from outside the shop? If so make sure you have an area around your shop cleared of combustible material. Not knowing the size of your shop a couple of good sized fire extinguishers would be a first response. Unless someone is at the shop all the fire pumping equipment will not be useful. Perhaps as an earlier post mentioned put in an automatic system. Often it is to late to save a building by the time one knows the building is even of fire, how would you know? One of the most over looked items is a monitored smoke or heat detector. You can get them with or without a security system. That way if you are not right there it would alert you or someone by phone and or siren that there is a problem. Usually you just don't begin with a big fire, it is something smoking/smoldering to start with. Having that detector can be the most useful item you can get. Not sure if you would have fumes from working on equipment in the shop then the smoke detector might not be suitable but the heat detector might. I have in my house and shop a monitored security system with smoke and heat detectors. I even get a discount from my insurance company for having both. If all else fails I do have good insurance, not that I ever want to use it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    I'm going to second the sprinkler system as a deluge system like they have on hanger decks. If that's no good, then fixed CO2. Don't forget a shunt-trip on your main breaker that's tied to the fire panel to kill the power to the building.

    Prevention may be cheaper, and a good look over by a fire chief/inspector or your insurance agent may be a good idea.
    Al Yelvington
    Russell, PA
    Kubota BX-24 & Kubota RTV-900
    FEL, BH, chipper, box grader, back blade, ford rake, disc harrow, sub-soiler, mid-soil buster, post hole digger, brush hog, spreader, sprayer, quick hitch, log splitter, block heater and lots of lights!

    www.youtube.com/ayelvington

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    I have to direct you to a thread by LAGEORGE who built his own fire pump rig. It may be impractical for you, but it's a fun read.

    LA George's Fire Pump
    Jim


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    This has been discussed here in the past. A search of this site should give you some ideas.

    I'm a volunteer firefighter. I would start, with smoke detectors for early warning. Then get some fire sprinklers; they are good at minimizing a fire.

    You are talking some big equipment and $$$ if you want to put water on a fire; as has been mentioned, 150psi minimum, 100gpm minimum to go after a structure fire. If on an engine, I would go right for an 1-3/4 line, and be thinking seriously about a 2-1/2" line.

    The other thing is, if you do not have safety gear, you should not be in there. And, you should not be in there alone, even if you have safety gear.

    Not knowing all the details, I would start with prevention. Make sure the fields are cut back a minimum 100' from the building. Make sure all trees are trimmed, away from the building, and away from the ground(ladder fuels). Make sure all shrubbery is cut back. Cal Fire used to recomend 30', but now 100' is the minimum.

    For interior, like mentioned above. Smoke and CO2 detectors. Sprinklers. Good extinguishers, big enough to handle a larger fire.

    Learn to use the setup you get. Don't try to learn it when you need it.

    And don't risk yourself. The shop, tools, aircraft, can be replaced. You can not.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    Factor in NO power from the grid too.

    Several 2.5 gallon extinguishers charged with Cold Fire is a good start. It gives you the fire fighting power of 7x of tap water and is good for all classes of fires except electrical unless you have a fogging extinguisher.

    If it is going to freeze you will need some antifreeze in the charge.

    As stated you can keep fuel away from the building to limit external threats. Wheat straw can get hot but it does not last very long so it cools very fast when the straw is gone.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    Good information in the thread but the most important thing is missing: adequate insurance. (No, I'm not connected with any insurance company.)

    As many have said, what about when you are not there?

    Couple that with: you are there but can't stop it. And, of course, risking your life or body isn't worth it.

    Actually, even a garden hose will accomplish a lot if it's caught early enough and you know what you are doing. You might check with your nearest fire department and see if they will let you observe a training session.

    Flow rate (gallons per minute) is less important that the proper nozzle (you want a spray) and how you use it. In the distant past, I was on two different fire departments. One was rural and fought most fires with about 30 gpm flow (important when the truck only carries 500 gallons and the tanker only 1200 gallons). The other department was a suburban city department. Nothing less than an inch and a half line (150 gpm?, it's been a long time) for small fires and 2-1/2" for everything else. Panic if there wasn't a fire hydrant available. Both departments got the job done but they had very different approaches.

    I concur with everyone that you would need to stay outside if it's anything larger than a waste can.

    Prevention and automatic sprinklers are probably your most important approach.

    BTW, seeing that it's your first post, welcome to the board!

    When you say there are no firefighting capabilities, are you really that remote, or is your local department just undermanned? If they later, you could always volunteer and help out and get some training along with helping your community.

    Ken

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fire pump/hose to protect rural shop

    I store gas, diesel, hydraulic oil and gear oil in an external building.
    Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

    2006 Jinma 354LE w/YD485, ZL-30 FEL, LW7 backhoe, Rear blade, tiller, brush hog, box blade, post hole auger, snowblower, boom pole, carry all

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