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Fire Fighting Pumps For Your Farm, Camp or Cottage!

What Is A Fire Pump?

What Is A Fire Pump System?

A portable fire pump system is firefighting apparatus that can be easily transported to a fire scene and quickly made operational to deliver large quantities of water onto the fire. For home fire fighting purposes, equipment classed as "forestry" is commonly used due to its portability and light weight. The following components are needed for a typical system:

Fire Pump

This is the heart of your system. The pump has several requirements to make it appropriate for this type of duty:
  • designed for fire fighting applications (not transfer, dewatering or trash pumps)
  • light in weight so that it can be transported short distances (100 m.) by one person
  • able to produce high water pressure -- 80 psi and above (175 ft. head or more)
  • rated to pump large volumes of water (1 gallon/second or greater)
  • push the water the needed distance both horizontally and vertically and still shoot a strong stream
  • reliable easy-to-start and easy-to-maintain engine -- gasoline or diesel powered
  • operate for 45 minutes or more between refuellings
  • draw the water from a reservoir and lift it to the pump

The pump is the most critical part of your system. Your situation will determine which pump is appropriate. The amount of transport required will point you toward or away from certain units.
Firepump If your pump can be semi-permanently staged into an operating position, then the larger pumps will be able to perform better. If it must be hauled quickly from its storage location to the water supply, then look to the lighter pumps -- but remember, there may be a performance trade-off. Pump price will also be a factor. The Wickman (Wick) line is professional quality. It is used by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (as well as other organizations) for fighting forest fires. These pumps are proven high performance units. Be aware that both 2 & 4 stroke engines are used for power. Generally speaking, 2 stroke units are lighter with higher performance but are more expensive.

Be wary of trash pumps or transfer pumps that you may find locally. These are not designed, tested or approved for fire fighting -- and do not provide the performance and reliability for safe, effective fire fighting operations.

Discharge Firehose

This hose will deliver the water from the pump to the fire. Typical size is 1½" (38 mm) in diameter -- same as that used by the fire department -- and in lengths of 100'. Sometimes, 1" hose is used where large quantities of water are not required. The 1½" will provide a lot Firehose of water and can be handled by one person (a full hose can get heavy!). It is usually constructed from a synthetic fabric that is light, strong, resistant to abraision, and does not require drying after use. For storage, it collapses flat and rolls into a compact coil. Rigid hoses (garden hose style) are not normally used for fire fighting because of the bulk, weight & failure potential. Hoses come in 2 types -- weeping and non-weeping. A weeping hose is designed to pass moisture through the wall so that it becomes damp on the exterior. This serves to protect the hose from heat, hot embers and also serves to lubricate it for dragging along the ground. The non-weeping type remains dry on the exterior. In most cases, single jacket forestry hoses will be the ideal choice.

Note ... You can never have too much firehose. Remember that when the hose is charged, it does not like sharp turns. Long gradual turns will prevent kinking and the cutting off of water flow. Also, you need the ability to change positions at the nozzle end. Being able to get to the side or back of a fire is invaluable. Also, it saves the operator from 'eating' a lot of smoke. Good advice -- have three times the amount of hose that you think you need.


This is the business end of the fire hose. Think of your garden hose. Generally, there are 2 types of nozzles:
  • stream ... water exits in a fixed stream -- no adjustment
  • fog/stream ... adjustable from stream to fog (spray) to off.

Nozzle Stream nozzles are good for penetration through a burning surface into the lower layers of a fire. These are most effective when you wish to kill the fire that is smoldering inside materials -- to put the fire out! Fog is deal for attacking a brush or grass fire or knocking down a structure fire. An adjustable nozzle allows you to adapt to the fire and circumstance. Most people are comfortable with the garden hose style of nozzle which is an adjustable stream/fog unit.

Suction Hose

This is the hose that goes from the water supply to the pump. It is different from the discharge firehose in that it must be of a rigid structure to prevent it from collapsing from the suction generated by the pump. You want the length to be a short as possible -- 10' to 15'. Realistically, it must be long enough to go from the pump and extend into the water supply a short distance with a bit to spare. Be sure to allow for various water levels that occur at different times of the year. Care must be taken in handling and storage to prevent this hose from kinking or being damaged. If it is run over by a vehicle or is kinked, it can no longer be used.


This attaches to the end of the suction hose that exetends into the water supply. Under no circumstances should the pump draw from an open water supply without one. It prevents larger foreign objects and debris from being drawn into the system as well as helping to maintain water flow into the pump. Ingesting something could stop the water flow if you are lucky. Drawing in debris could cost you your expensive pump! Even if drawing water from a swimming pool, failure to use one could result in your pump eating your pool toys or even the pool liner. It is suggested that an optional slip-on filter should be used where sand, grit or other small contaminents might be present.

Footvalve A footvalve also acts as a check-valve that prevents water from leaving the pump (following the rules of gravity) and returning to the lake, river, pool, etc. Once the pump is actually pumping water, this is not a problem. However, when you are first attempting to start the pump or when you shut the pump down briefly to change the hose lay, refuel, or other reason, you may lose the pump's prime and its ability to deliver water. This can be a frustrating problem as it takes time to prime the the pump and does add significant wear to the system as it attempts to prime itself.

One Stop Fire Products Inc.
Markham, Ontario
L3P 7H9
Tel: (905) 946-1033