What's on Your Tanker? #10 - The Problem with Tenders
 
By President Mark Davis
August 31, 2017
 

While us "East of the Mississippi River" folks often kid around about tankers versus tenders, as long as those units can haul water efficiently for structure fires we really don't care what you call them. One concern that certainly arises with tenders is the ability for the wildland (forest service) tenders to offload at rates high enough to support a 500 gpm or greater fire attack operation. We have seen a number of off-loading configurations during our travels throughout the United States and Canada and it is pretty clear which FDs plan on using their wildland tenders for structure fire water supply support. Those fire departments have figured out a way to dump that tender's water in short-order and get that rig back on the road for another load.

Therefore, part of a FD's water supply planning process must include knowledge of the water hauling units available in their mutual aide response area and the method by which those water hauling units best offload their water. We all like a 3,000-gallon tender coming to our farmhouse fire, but if it can only dump out of a 2-1/2-inch outlet or pump off at 200 gpm....well, there is going to be a problem. If you have forestry service or private water haulers serving your area, see what you can do to get a large dump or two on those tenders.

 
A forestry service brush tender that can really dump and run if needed.
A forestry service brush tender that can really dump and run if needed.
Nothing fancy here.
Nothing fancy here.
 
Not pretty, but when they need to dump and run...they can do it!
Not pretty, but when they need to dump and run...they can do it!
Most of the time, this rig is running across the prairie lands of Kansas chasing grass fires.
Most of the time, this rig is running across the prairie lands of Kansas chasing grass fires.
 
Another forestry brush tender set up to fight prairie fires and also dump its water fast...when needed.
Another forestry brush tender set up to fight prairie fires and also dump its water fast...when needed.
Nothing fancy here either.
Nothing fancy here either.
 
Meant for wildland work but can support structure fire water supply efforts as well.
Meant for wildland work but can support structure fire water supply efforts as well.
Dumping and running as a water supply drill in Marion County, KS.
Dumping and running as a water supply drill in Marion County, KS.
 
Dumps on wildland tenders make sense and provide versatility.
Dumps on wildland tenders make sense and provide versatility.
Plenty of water but a less than desirable dumping ability if this is a structure fire.
Plenty of water but a less than desirable dumping ability if this is a structure fire.