Windsor Uses Eductors to Supply Hose Lines
CELLAR EDUCTORS, commonly referred to as siphons and tools, have joined the Windsor, Ontario, Fire Department as front-line fire fighting weapons. The department ran an extensive series of siphon tests to obtain information about the potential amount of water which can be obtained for fighting fires in areas where water is available, but due to various reasons, drafting with hard suction is not possible.
The tests were initiated by Fire Chief Ray May and District Chief W. J. Berthiaume, who was training officer for the department at the time. An 840-Igpm (Imperial Canadian gallons equivalent to 1,000 U. S. gallons) pumper was used for the tests, and three 50-foot lengths of 25-inch hose were used for the siphon hookup. [In all tests, the operators were concerned with lift, distance from the engine to the fire, siphon settings, nozzle and hose sizes, nozzle pressure, number and length of fire lines, distance from pumper to siphon, engine rpm’s and engine pressure, and compound gage pressure.]
Successful operation of the siphon depends entirely on the water in the booster system and maintenance of a definite amount of water flowing between the pump and the siphon at all times. The first concern of the operator on bringing water back from the siphon, once the operation has started, should be to replenish the booster tank. Water from the booster tank is diverted through one of the three siphon lines to start the operation.
The operator must exercise strict control over the amount of pressure allowed in his charged lines. In all tests it was found that a successful operation can be maintained with a pressure as low as 5 psi showing on the compound gage.
Fifty to 100 psi should be the maximum pressure. Pressure in excess of 100 psi reduces efficiency and could result in the loss of the entire water supply. In this case, the whole cycle would have to be repeated.
Assuming the siphon is discharging water back to the engine at a rate of four to one, it can readily be seen that a surplus amount of water is entering the pump. This surplus can thus be diverted into 1 1/2-inch hose lines for fire fighting operations.
The operator can at all times be aware of this water surplus by watching his compound gage. Any drop in pressure should alert him to reduce the amount of water entering the fire lines. This is done by partially closing one or possibly two discharge gates, or if necessary, closing one entirely. This action guarantees additional water to the siphon, bringing pressure on the compound gage back to a safe working pressure and guaranteeing siphon efficiency.
The number of 1 1/2-inch lines that can be operated vary depending on distance and lift, but in all tests it was found possible to operate one or two 15-inch lines at pressures ranging from 50 to 180 psi, with lifts ranging from 6 to 30 feet, with lines from 50 to 300 feet. In some cases it was found that the booster line could also be brought into play in addition to one or two 1 1/2-inch lines.
In setting up, a 50-foot length or more of 2 1/2-inch hose is connected to the discharge side of the pump, running to the siphon. Two 50-foot lengths or more of 2 1/2-inch hose are then connected to the siphon and returned to the intake side of the engine.
Since the tests were run, this method of handling troublesome fires along the Windsor waterfront has proved itself admirably several times. Sparse hydrant placement, dilapidated docks and piers and cluttered waterfront areas had made it difficult in the past to handle fires in this area, most of which could be easily extinguished with 1 1/2-inch lines.
In several instances, fires which had been all but extinguished flared up again when pumpers found it necessary to shut down and head back to the water supply to replenish their booster tanks. Siphons are now carried on all five front-line engines in the Windsor department. The operation could also prove of value to departments called on to pump from ponds, wells or streams, where the pumper cannot be spotted close enough for conventional drafting.