By Erica Thomas, managing editor
CENTER POINT — It doesn’t happen often, but when firefighters run out of water from their trucks and do not have access to a fire hydrant, training comes into play. That’s why the Center Point Fire District participated in fire-water training on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Fire Chief Gene Coleman had his crews out at Cosby Lake, along with crews from Trussville Fire and Rescue and Pine Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, to learn how to get water from alternative sources.
“We’re learning how to draft out of static water sources such as lakes, ponds, swimming pools,” Coleman explained. “This is in case there is not a domestic water service or a municipal water service, such as up around Lake Zamora, or some of those areas.”
Coleman said each fire truck already has 500 to 750 gallons of water on board. Although that is enough to extinguish most fires, firefighters need to have a backup source in order to ensure they have enough to fight large fires. With the water-fire system, up to 1,500 gallons of water can be pumped per minute. It takes about 10 minutes to set up the system, if there is not a dry hydrant available.
“Dry hydrants make the process quicker,” Coleman said. “Particularly, at Lake in the Woods and Lake Zamora, there are things already in the water that we can connect to and that makes for a quicker transition because we don’t have to get as close to the water source.”
The water source must be 3 feet deep in order for the pump system to work.
Coleman said, for his district, it is rare that firefighters would need to use these operations and that’s why it’s so important to continue training.
“There are so many things that we do in the fire service, or in the emergency medical service,” said Coleman. “You have to constantly train on specific items. This is a skill that is not routinely used, so it’s more important to train on this because of lack of practice and because of lack of familiarity.”
The training also helps the crews work on teamwork skills and interdepartmental skills.