Apparatus & Equipment, Firefighting, Truck Company

Water Main Breaks: Preplan for Safety

Issue 10 and Volume 168.

BY FRANK MONTAGNA What problems will you face if a large water main in your response area bursts? At your next burst water main incident, you won’t have to deal with all of the challenges below at once, only some of them. Since you can’t know which ones you will encounter, consider the problems outlined below and how you might resolve them before you have to respond. Why Water Mains Burst Water mains suffer damage and burst for a number of reasons, most commonly the damage resulting from construction, the freeze/thaw cycle in areas with severe winters, old age, or some combination of the three. A burst water main can have far-reaching consequences and affect several occupancies. Let’s consider that a freeze/thaw cycle of several days has caused a large water main to rupture at 4:30 a.m. on a frigid February weekday morning. As you arrive, you see water streaming…

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