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Tanker Tip



If you think you need one tanker, call for three. If you think you need three, call six.

Tankers are not just utilized for structural fires. Fire departments should have predetermined response plans to assure that at any incident that requires a water supply, there are sufficient tankers assigned. Having this pre-determined is ideal. This is referred to in many places as a box alarm plan.


When tankers are needed to provide water supply, an IC or water supply officer must account for the time it takes for them to refill, often this is not accounted for. A minimalistic approach to calling tankers is guaranteed to result in an inconsistent, interrupted water supply. This has, and will continue to be a key failure of fireground operations in many jurisdictions.


One of the first things to be considered is what the necessary consistent flow rate will be. The amount of water that each tanker can support in GPM will be impacted by a number of factors. Some of the most important include;

🚨Tank size (minus about 10%) 🚨 Dump rate 🚨 Fill rate 🚨 Travel distance/terrain 🚨 Dump site setup/efficiency 🚨 Nursing vs Dumping


There are a number of formulas used to calculate the estimated flow rate each can deliver, however the bottom line is that we can simplify things by calling sufficient resources immediately, there is a better chance of success.

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