Different Type of Tanker
Body tips to discharge 1000 gallons in one minute
The problem of providing additional tank water capacity has been solved in a novel way by the West Liberty, Iowa, Volunteer Fire Department.
Our 30-man department serves an area with a radius of about 5 miles that contains 300 farmsteads and a city of 2,500 population. About half our calls are to locations beyond the municipal water mains, so on these rural calls there is concern for maintaining an adequate water supply. At large fires, water usually has to be hauled from city hydrants as our apparatus carried a total of 2,250 gallons of water before our newest unit went into service.
The solution to our problem started when the West Liberty Fire Department received a free l1/2-ton truck chassis from the Forestry Division of the Iowa Conservation Commission in cooperation with the United States Forest Service under the excess federal property program. The volunteer firemen decided to equip the truck for use as a tanker and to pay for the conversion with department funds rather than to ask for tax money.
Various tank configurations, using either gravity discharge or an auxiliary pump, were considered. But none of the proposals was as appealing as a suggestion to adapt a local manufacturer’s product to water tanker use. The McCrabb Bros. Mfg. Co., Inc., of West Liberty had developed a tank that it sells for hauling and dumping liquid fertilizer. When the company offered to install one of their units on our truck chassis on a trial basis, the department accepted the offer.
Christened the Tip Tanker, this unit answered several calls in the first six months of service, and it brought forth favorable comment from men in neighboring fire departments who saw it in action. On two occasions, mutual aid calls specifically requested the Tip Tanker and our 1,500-gallon tanker, which were sent.
The Tip Tanker carries 1,000 gallons of water, which can be discharged by gravity through a 6-inch hose in 60 seconds. A PTO-driven hydraulic pump powers the hydraulic cylinders that tip the tank for dumping. The hydraulic system control is in the left rear corner of the truck bed. The 9foot, 6-inch discharge height enables the tanker to dump directly into the tanks of pumpers or into portable ground tanks. Filling can be done from ground level through a 21/2-inch hose connection or through the 6-inch tank vent on the top, which has a clapper valve.
A highly desirable feature is the low cost of this tanker. The fire department investment was less than $2,000. There are many rural departments that need more tanker capacity but are doing without it simply because they cannot afford conventional equipment.
Multiple unit mounting
Although West Liberty uses a single Tip Tanker unit, two or three units can be mounted on a truck chassis of appropriate length. In multiple use, the tanks would be mounted to tip toward one side of the truck. The tank units are 6 feet wide, 7 feet, 5 inches long, and 5½ feet high.
Despite a gawky appearance in comparison with most modern fire equipment, our newest tanker offers advantages that make the West Liberty Fire Department proud to demonstrate it at every opportunity. Fireman James McCrabb and I, the principal developers of the Tip Tank, displayed the unit at the Iowa State Fire School last June.
Low initial cost, simple, durable components, no parts to freeze, fast discharge, and a minimum of operator training are areas in which this tanker makes up for lack of eye appeal.