Using Salvage Covers For Basins and Drains
The Volunteers Corner
Salvage covers are used for purposes other than the usual covering of furniture, merchandise or machinery. They can collect water and debris to minimize the area of damage, and they can become waterways to drain off water without causing further property loss.
The easiest way to make a basin from a salvage cover is to spread the canvas on the ground so that three or four fire fighters can walk around the perimeter and roll the edges toward the center as they circle the cover several times. The first man starts rolling the cover at a corner and continues to roll the edge as he walks around the cover. The men following him merely do a little more rolling in his wake.
Bulky but sturdy roll: The starting roll by the first man is moderately tight, and the roll becomes progressively larger and somewhat loose. A little practice, like doing it two or three times, will result in a useful roll-bulky enough to contain 3 or 4 inches of water yet sturdy enough to maintain its form.
The cover is rolled until an oval or flat material, about 4 feet in diameter, is left. Two men can then easily pick up the rolled cover and place it where it is to be used. Once in place, the cover can be unrolled to cover a larger area.
When it is to be used as a basin to catch water dripping from a ceiling, the cover can be unrolled only to the extent that will leave the remaining rolled material stable enough to retain the water. On the other hand, if you use the cover to protect a floor from plaster being pulled, then the cover can be spread to its fullest extent if desirable.
Need for a drain: Once you collect more than an inch or so of water in a basin or catchall, it can be removed only by draining or with a portable watervacuum tank. The reason is the weight of the water. It takes only 3 inches of water covering an area 4 x 6 1/2 feet to add up to slightly over 400 pounds. Put a couple of 200-pounders in a salvage cover basin and then find out how difficult it is to pick up the cover and move them. And it is even more difficult to handle the same weight in sloshing water.
A drain is made by spreading a salvage cover and tightly rolling the long edges toward each other until they touch. The rolled cover can then be carried to the place of use, where the rolls are pulled back about 6 or 8 inches for draining a basin.
To secure the drain to a basin with water in it, a corner area of the basin is lifted up and unrolled to reach the corner without spilling water. Sufficient corner material is laid atop a drain end so that the drain end can be folded toward the other end, enveloping the basin comer. This locks the basin corner and prevents the water from flowing underneath the end of the drain as it leaves the basin. As the locked fold is lowered to the floor, the basin will start to drain.
Drains can be laid to an outside door, a floor drain, or a stairway that cannot be harmed by water or has been covered for this purpose.
Protecting stairs: To cover a stairway, start with salvage covers rolled lengthwise as we have described. Spread the rolls apart as the covers are placed on the stairs and lock each cover to the one below it as is done for locking a drain to a basin.
Covers should conform to the stairs so that men can still use the stair. An average straight stairway will take two covers, and if there is a landing, an extra cover will be needed.
For dirty jobs, such as pulling ceilings, an old salvage cover that is of little value should be used. Don’t throw away wellpatched covers, save them for this type of rough usage.