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Suction Strainer Flow Test Project:Test Results

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Ohio Flow Tests - Low Level Strainers
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By President Mark Davis and Member Lee Adams
September 5, 2019

Many thanks to Lee Adams (one of our website Members) for sharing the info presented in this News Story.

The Ohio Fire Chiefs' Water Supply Technical Advisory Committee (WSTAC) focuses on the need for better information and consistency in the fire protection water supply delivery process. The WSTAC is comprised of folks from all corners of the State who have an interest in fire department water supply operations. One example of the WSTAC's work is recent research working on dump and drafting rate measurements utilizing some "outside of the box" techniques. The goal is to be able to more accurately and predictably measure "true" average dump rates for tankers. Dump rates are viewed as a problem because while NFPA references a 1,000 gpm ability in the mobile water supply apparatus standard, the ability to have an easy, repeatable test in place could help keep manufacturers more accountable in production, and provide good "apples to apples" comparison data for consumers when purchasing a tanker.

Similarly, Mr. Adams (WSTAC Member) and other WSTAC members felt low-level suction strainer performance was poorly addressed in the available literature and the data available from manufacturers widely varied, leaving the WSTAC "scratching their heads" about testing procedures and how available manufacturer data was produced.

Over the course of Fathers Day Weekend 2019, WSTAC folks were able to conduct flow tests on six different brands and models of low level suction strainers. Their goal was to perform a repeatable test in as real-world conditions as possible; Mr. Adams believes this was accomplished.

One of the other goals of the WSTAC flow test project was to improve fire service knowledge in the area of understanding pump intake hydraulics. There is a commonly held belief that a "front suction can't do this or that" but in truth, no component determines a system's ability, it is the sum of the parts that determines that. By adding a crappy strainer to a crappy front suction, the situation gets worse. If a high-performing strainer is used on the same suction point on the same truck, the difference might surprise some folks.

According to Mr. Adams, "We all think we know what our trucks can do, and I am constantly surprised. Sometimes I am surprised by how much I'm able to do that I thought likely wasn't possible, sometimes by just how poorly my equipment performs when I thought a task should be easy. At the end of the day we usually get away with whatever hodgepodge of equipment we have because "all fires eventually go out". That mindset is embarrassing to me and I think to a lot of us. We have a duty to do better, and if our group (WSTAC) can help to provide some of the information that breaks up assumptions and old wives tales , I think it's well worth our time to provide that information."

The findings of the WSTAC's work are attached as a down-loadable file to this News Story. As always, we appreciate all research work that strives to improve water supply operations. Many thanks once again to Lee Adams and the WSTAC for sharing their findings.

Photo credit to the photographer.

Attachment OFCWSTACLowLevel (1).pdf  (1,049k)

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