Trailer for Fighting Fires Built With Surplus Purchases
Using surplus equipment, fire fighters at Columbia, S. C., Metropolitan Airport have built a fire fighting trailer that is used for woods and grass fires, washdowns and hot training fires.
A ¾-ton Army trailer was bought through North Carolina state surplus facilities for less than $500. For another $100, a skid-mount military decontamination unit and a 400-gallon stainless steel parts dip tank were purchased. The decontamination unit included a pump, air-cooled four-cylinder engine, generator, gas tank, chemical tank, and two hose reels with aspirator nozzles.
The decontamination unit was installed on the trailer along with the large tank, which was piped to the pump. The chemical tank was used to hold 10 gallons of aqueous film-forming foam.
The trailer is hauled by a four-wheel drive, ¾ -ton Dodge Power Wagon that was obtained for $400. The truck, which has a mobile radio, carries chain saws, axes and other rescue tools.
This truck and trailer combination has been useful in getting into wooded and swampy areas around the airport where regular crash trucks are unable to operate. The fire fighting equipment has been tested on 200 and 300-gallon gasoline and jet fuel spill fires at the airport. On a 300-gallon spill with a three-minute preburn, the fire was extinguished in 21 seconds with 3 gallons of AFFF and 75 gallons of water.
Airport Chief James 0. Freeman, Jr., estimates that the fire fighting unit would cost between $20,000 and $30,000 new. Through the purchase of surplus property and many hours of work by airport fire fighters, the total cost of the unit was about $1500, Freeman said.
Inquiries can be sent to Freeman at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Crash/Rescue Department, West Columbia, S. C. 29169.