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Old 12-01-2011, 05:44 AM   #1
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RV as Fire Fighters

Was reading post discussing pros and cons of traveling with full tank of fresh water when it occured to me that maybe we all should. Just think about the miles we cover and the number of times you have seen small grass fires along the highway. One more mod is added to my list, a hose connect on the fresh water system. Just in case. Not suggesting we try to fight forest fires but 50 or more gallons of water can go a long way on a small fire.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
Was reading post discussing pros and cons of traveling with full tank of fresh water when it occured to me that maybe we all should. Just think about the miles we cover and the number of times you have seen small grass fires along the highway. One more mod is added to my list, a hose connect on the fresh water system. Just in case. Not suggesting we try to fight forest fires but 50 or more gallons of water can go a long way on a small fire.
A commendable thought! But, I would be hesitant to park my MH close enough to a grass fire in order to attempt to extinguish it. I'm a retired fire chief and I know how quickly a grass fire can spread particularly with a change of wind direction. Better to call 911 and get the professionals enroute. / Larry
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:57 AM   #3
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Interesting idea. I came across a brushfire while traveling northbound on the I17 to Flagstaff. Used 2 fire extinguishers to help put it out and 2 things struck me:
1) I only got ~10 seconds of actual spray from each of them.
2) It cost me quite a bit ($45 to replace those extinguishers).

I bet it wouldn't cost much more to retrofit the TT and my freshwater tank would probably go much further than those extinguishers...

Thanks for the idea...
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:49 AM   #4
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I've been told by an RV repair guy that traveling with water in the holding tanks will cause them to die an early death from cracking. That along with the added fuel costs when carrying extra water at 8pounds/ gallon makes me hesitate to do this. I have only once in 60 years seen a roadside fire that I would have considered stopping to put out. I drove to the nearest house and alerted them to call the fire dept. Within a minute I heard sirens. They were there and had it out before I could have gotten to my water.

i'll leave fire fighting to the pros, but I applaude your willingness to help. Just, please, make that call first in case you can't get it out right away.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:12 AM   #5
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with the lack of water pressure generated by the onboard water pump and the close proximity of the rv to the fire, I would rather try my fire extinguisher on a small fire.
Otherwise I'll stick to calling 911 and let the trained people take care of it.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:27 AM   #6
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It's not a simple as putting wet stuff on the red stuff!

To engauge in a fire fight with water you need two things in your arsenal to be successful.
A quanity of water sufficient for the fight. (There are ways professionals use to calculate fire flow.)

A delivery system that provides you both volume of water flow and water pressure sufficient enough to produce a good stream of water.

The water pump on most RVs does NOT produce enough pressure to accomplish this task. The pump moves say 3 to 5 gallons per minute and you want to push that water through your 1/2" hose 50' long and expect to produce a fire stream... NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

My recommendation is without training and experience leave it to those who are trained.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:55 AM   #7
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Not a overall good idea. Intentions are good but even figuring hand pumped back packs, the average grass fire is beyond a one or two person job and a brush fire.... the best tool is the cell phone.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:19 AM   #8
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with the lack of water pressure generated by the onboard water pump and the close proximity of the rv to the fire, I would rather try my fire extinguisher on a small fire.
Otherwise I'll stick to calling 911 and let the trained people take care of it.

I agree, not to mention hauling an extra 750# around the country.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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I agree the best tool is a cell phone.

Even if you used the on-board water pump, It's not fast enough for effective firefighting.

My 20 pound powder bottle might help on a SMALL grass fire.. But .. Well, i've only seen one that small and I hit it with 50 PSI at several gallons per minute Over 4 times what my RV can pump.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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I'm disappointed. Don't get involved, it won't work, you can't do it, it costs too much, don't even try, you don't have enough water, pressure, training. No, no, no.

What the hell happened to can do? What happened to do the best you can with what you have? Where did, maybe I can help, go?

Have you been on the roads thru Texas, Wyoming, eastern Washington, northern California, where the closest fire station is 15 miles away, and it's staffed by volunteers who have to stop what they're doing, lock their business, go to the fire station and then drive 15 miles to where they think you reported the fire being?

Did you ever think that a pan of water out of the kitchen sink on that cigarette butt thrown out by the car that went thru 5 minutes ago, the one that is smouldering with a small smoke column, WILL put it out and WILL keep it from growing?

Did you think about calling 911 and then standing by until the FD got there to help guide them to the exact spot you saw smoke? Did you think that telling the dispatcher you'd be standing by might allow the FD to travel at highway speed until they see the MH instead of going more slowly looking for smoke in the grass? Not every roadside fire is big. Not every roadside fire is obvious to everyone driving by. Not every grassfire is too big for you to stop it. Someone said something to the effect that the "average" grass fire is more that a one or two person job. That means HALF of the fires ARE a one or two person job. And almost EVERY grass fire started small and you could spit it out.

Water and a pump aren't the only ways to put out a fire. Removing the fuel by scraping a line in the dirt might just keep it from spreading. Stomping on the edge of the fire line temorarily removes oxygen and compacts the grass/fuel slowing down the spread. And of course spraying the edge with your extinguisher will slow the growth by stopping the chemical chain reaction. (look up fire tetrahedron)

Use your common sense, park in as safe an area as you can. Give as exact a location as you can. Don't become part of the problem, but do your best to solve the problem. Every fire starts small. Keep it small.

I still can't believe how far we've come down the road of don't do anything, let someone else do it.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:23 PM   #11
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Bucks, I like your way of thinking...it is a shame and I mean really a shame so much of our society has gotten into the "it's all about me and only me" train of thought. Man created this great nation...and man is going to destroy it!!
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucks2 View Post
I'm disappointed. Don't get involved, it won't work, you can't do it, it costs too much, don't even try, you don't have enough water, pressure, training. No, no, no.

What the hell happened to can do? What happened to do the best you can with what you have? Where did, maybe I can help, go?
...
...
I still can't believe how far we've come down the road of don't do anything, let someone else do it.
The OP was asking about hauling a full tank of fresh water in the event one was to come upon a brushfire. The responders mostly talked about the pros and cons of that idea. I don't believe the majority of folks on this board have a 'don't even try' or 'let someone do it attitude'. The ideas put forth were mostly common sense. I agree with most of the comments about cell phones. First thing, make the call. If the fire is small, do what you can. If it's bigger, then a job better handled by professionals should be handled by professionals.
Much like you said:
"Use your common sense, park in as safe an area as you can. Give as exact a location as you can. Don't become part of the problem, but do your best to solve the problem. Every fire starts small. Keep it small."
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:28 PM   #13
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We always travel with a full fresh water tank Our last 5er was 13 years old, never did have a problem from that. Our present 5er is 6 years old, no problems with it either.
The weight adds very little to the effort required to move an RV along the road.

Now to the thread title, an RV will make a poor firefighting tool. If I were to use my onboard water to extinguish a small grass fire, I would carry water in a bucket, wet a broom with it and drag the broom along the fire line. A shovel, used the same way, is another good tool for putting out small fires. An RV-a poor choice.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:04 PM   #14
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RIGHT ON! We certainly not put out the fire if we don't try. We have become a society of whimps. All we can do is to call the 'professionals'. It is too dangerous, too hard, or something else for the 'average' citizen.
Don't wait on someone else to do it - DO IT YOURSELF - YOU ARE EMPOWERED!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucks2 View Post
I'm disappointed. Don't get involved, it won't work, you can't do it, it costs too much, don't even try, you don't have enough water, pressure, training. No, no, no.

What the hell happened to can do? What happened to do the best you can with what you have? Where did, maybe I can help, go?

Have you been on the roads thru Texas, Wyoming, eastern Washington, northern California, where the closest fire station is 15 miles away, and it's staffed by volunteers who have to stop what they're doing, lock their business, go to the fire station and then drive 15 miles to where they think you reported the fire being?

Did you ever think that a pan of water out of the kitchen sink on that cigarette butt thrown out by the car that went thru 5 minutes ago, the one that is smouldering with a small smoke column, WILL put it out and WILL keep it from growing?

Did you think about calling 911 and then standing by until the FD got there to help guide them to the exact spot you saw smoke? Did you think that telling the dispatcher you'd be standing by might allow the FD to travel at highway speed until they see the MH instead of going more slowly looking for smoke in the grass? Not every roadside fire is big. Not every roadside fire is obvious to everyone driving by. Not every grassfire is too big for you to stop it. Someone said something to the effect that the "average" grass fire is more that a one or two person job. That means HALF of the fires ARE a one or two person job. And almost EVERY grass fire started small and you could spit it out.

Water and a pump aren't the only ways to put out a fire. Removing the fuel by scraping a line in the dirt might just keep it from spreading. Stomping on the edge of the fire line temorarily removes oxygen and compacts the grass/fuel slowing down the spread. And of course spraying the edge with your extinguisher will slow the growth by stopping the chemical chain reaction. (look up fire tetrahedron)

Use your common sense, park in as safe an area as you can. Give as exact a location as you can. Don't become part of the problem, but do your best to solve the problem. Every fire starts small. Keep it small.

I still can't believe how far we've come down the road of don't do anything, let someone else do it.
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