LARGE-DIAMETER SUPER AQUADUCT FLEXIBLE PIPELINE APPLICATIONS IN THE FIRE SERVICE
BY SAM GOLDWATER AND ROBERT F. NELSON
The fire service, especially the industrial fire service, is called on for a multitude of emergencies. We are better suited to respond to some than to others and train more for some than for others. We like to think we are ready for just about any emergency. As the emergency responder on-site, the fire brigade has to handle many “emergencies” that are not in the purview of the fire department.
What happens when the water system fails? The upstream part of the hydrant system? It`s an emergency for everyone, especially in the industrial environment. Not only do the hydrants not work, but all domestic use of water ceases–no drinking water, no sanitary water (toilets), no process water for industry. Most industries cannot function without water. That means that every hour without water is costing a lot of money.
It`s not necessarily spectacular, but it`s an emergency nonetheless. It can happen to anyone, and it does. It happened in Prince George`s County in Maryland in the late 1970s. Fire engines had to pump water from Washington, D.C., into the Maryland water system. It happened in Golden, Colorado, when heavy metals were found in the water supply. It happened in Northridge and Oakland, California.
It seems that failure of the supply goes hand-in-hand with undersupply. How many times has your department been constrained by the lack of flow capacity? How many times have your operations and tactical response been restricted because of hose-diameter limitations or the amount of hose required? Our industry lives and breathes flow capacity and distance. What happens when conventional fire hoses are not large enough?
SUPER AQUADUCT FLEXIBLE PIPELINE
Angus Fire and the Angus Flexible Pipelines Division are introducing a complete line of large-diameter “FLEXIBLE PIPELINE,” known as Super Aquaduct. These products, available in eight-, 10-, and 12-inch diameters, provide municipal and industrial fire operations with a revolutionary tool to integrate into their fire operations.
Derived from U.S. Army Rapid Deployment research and development, the Super Aquaduct product range offers a number of features that can be applied to every large-volume fluid operation.
Six-, eight-, 10-, and 12-inch sizes can achieve at least a 150-psi working pressure.
Continuous 660-foot lengths are available.
Construction is of heavy-duty polyure-thane.
The National Sanitation Foundation 61 has approved them for the transport of potable water.
They are extemely lightweight.
The system has the potential to be integrated with rolling stock and hardware components.
These products, made from polyurethane extrusions, are also more abrasion-resistant than other fire hoses. By virtue of the extrusion process, delamination of a liner is not possible. Delamination historically has been a problem with polyurethane-lined fire hoses and one of the main reasons fire departments have shied away from them. Also, polyurethane-lined hoses have the highest friction loss of all fire hoses, whereas extruded hoses have the lowest.
SUPER AQUADUCT SYSTEM
Having taken more than 15 years of military experience with rapid deployment, fluid logistics systems, and work done by Shell Oil with the first Super Aquaduct product, 10-inch size, the Flexible Pipelines Division has designed and manufactured a complete Super Aquaduct System. This system is designed to accommodate the rapid deployment and limited personnel doctrine of the military and the fire service. It has three fundamental components: (1) Super Aquaduct Flexible Pipeline; (2) deployment vehicles; and (3) couplings, manifolds, and hardware.
A number of customization options make the system extremely flexible. Deployment equipment can be designed around trailers, reels, trucks, or “flaking” boxes. The pres-ent coupling is a Victaulic-type end. A number of different types of manifolds can be configured to allow five-inch supply line tie-ins.
LOGISTICS, TACTICS, INTEGRATION
When faced with water supply problems or constraints, fire departments historically have responded by going to tanker (tender) operations in hydranted areas and augmenting the water system in whatever way it can with 212-inch through five-inch hoses. In many cases, the fire flow is severely reduced. This tactic will not work in the industrial environment, where 20,000+ fire flows are common. Other examples include responders for the petrochemical industry, where incident commanders plan on hours of setup time to get standard five-inch lines deployed and positioned.
The two basic planning and response components historically have been logistics and the tactical environment. Each is interrelated and identification of the constraints is short-listed to “How much do we need to flow?” and “What equipment do we have at our disposal to accomplish that?” Hose greater than six inches in diameter was not considered as a potential resource because of technology limitations. The simple fact was that larger hoses could not handle the municipal water supply pressure, which is up to 150 psi. Further, anything in the eight-, 10-, and 12-inch size range was incredibly heavy and bulky. Therefore, to achieve larger flows, the only alternative was to run “hard” pipe. This was not an option for obvious reasons: time, equipment, and personnel.
The Super Aquaduct Flexible Pipeline has bridged that technology gap. It will operate and perform within the working pressure window to which we normally conform. The hydraulics and deliverability of these products now provide a new strategic tool for firefighting operations planning. The challenge to emergency planners, incident commanders, industrial firefighters, municipal water departments, municipal fire departments, and water supply experts is how to best integrate this new technology into their present operations. A few forward thinkers are already doing part of this work.
What does this new large-diameter technology really mean? Planning tactical flow delivery is one of the cornerstones of every fire operation. And every firefighter has wondered about the equipment that would enable him to flow larger volumes of water as long as the operation makes logistical sense. Water supply training is not necessarily as glamorous as, say, high- angle rescue or haz mat, but your public will be able to understand that the lack of water will surely affect them. Much of water supply preplanning and training can be done on paper. Again, this is not so glamorous, but it is necessary.
How much you want to flow is based on fire flow or domestic flow requirements and how far you want to flow the supply. What is the pressure at your water source, and what pressure do you want at the destination of your hose lay? The chart on page 148 shows how far you can go from a source supplying 150 psi. If your source has a lower pressure, just multiply the percentage difference by the distance listed. For example, if you want to flow 1,500 gpm but have a source of only 75 psi (50 percent), then you could go only 1,000 feet with five-inch hose. Also, note that if you use double-jacket hose, you can go only about half the distance as that listed.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF WATER
Originally engineered and integrated into its fire operations, Shell Oil uses the 10-inch Super Aquaduct with its unique mobile system. Another system has been designed for and delivered to East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, California, for bridging municipal water mains damaged by an earthquake. The industrial firefighting professionals and manufacturers are already evaluating the new large flow potential of eight-, 10-, and 12-inch Super Aquaduct.
This technology was demonstrated recently in Berkeley, California. It coincided with the anniversary of the Oakland Hills fire in which the firefight was severely hampered by the lack of water. The demonstration was hosted by the City of Berkeley Fire Department, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, East Bay Regional Parks, and the Angus Flexible Pipelines Division. The theme of the demonstration was “firefighting in a wildand-urban interface.” The demonstration successfully showed how the water department and fire department must work together to solve water supply issues.
The Super Aquaduct large-diameter product undoubtedly will stimulate considerable discussion on large-volume fluid operations in the industry. Fire professionals concerned about or tasked with tactics and logistics now can evaluate and design new methods and procedures for the betterment and safety of their departments; communities; and the public, which relies on them for protection of lives and property. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look forward to discussing the applications of this new technology.
This special tender unit employs a hydraulic reel to lay and pick up 1,000 feet of 10-inch hose. The reel is strong enough to pick up water-filled hose.
At this demonstration, eight-, 10-, and 12-inch lines are running simultaneously. The “T” off the eight-inch line reduces to a six-inch line that feeds two five-inch lines that are supplying two aerial master streams flowing 3,500 gpm. Victaulic-type couplings are used for connections between length of super-diameter hoselines. Numerous varieties of connections are available.
This special 12-inch manifold, here reducing from 12- to 10-inch hose, has separate gates for four five-inch fire lines.
SAm goldwater has been a firefighter for more than 20 years. He has a degree from the University of Maryland and is a former staff member of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). He is the manager for Angus Fire in the Western United States.
ROBERT F. NELSON is the manager of Angus Fire`s Industrial & Government sales division and manages Angus`s Flexible Pipelines group. He has a degree in hydrology from the University of Virginia and a master`s degree in international business from the University of San Diego. He has 12 years of international experience in petroleum operations and fluid logistics. He was the team leader on the mainstream introduction of the large-diameter products to industry.