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East Sussex FRS Uckfield Volvo Water Carrier
Fire Engine Photos
No: 14239   Contributor: Harvey Dan   Year: 2009   Manufacturer: Volvo   Country: United Kingdom
East Sussex FRS Uckfield Volvo Water Carrier

East Sussex Fire And Rescue Service

GX57 EUV New Volvo Water Carrier
Based at Uckfield

Photo Taken While they where Training at Uckfield
Picture added on 23 January 2009
add commentComments:
Thanks for this posting Harvey. A concept that has crossed the pond and has applications world-wide I believe. What is the capacity of what I am presuming to be a 'Hoover' tank. What size the air compressor to drive the system? What is the compartment on top of the tank for? How long to fill and discharge?
I'm not however too sure of what looks like a rear wheel steer system. Hope it never ever 'flips' if driven too hard.
Thank you if you do have further information on this very interesting machine. Looks right, does it work right?

Added by Old Kiwi on 26 January 2009.
hi harvey nice picture mate that seems to be a mixture of our wrc and the bulk fuild at burgess hill so i gather the tank is about 12000 litres ???
hope they don't have to many teething problems we still have a few when it goes out like valves that don't get used for a couple of weeks sticking when trying to unload etc keep em coming mate

Added by Calvin Fox on 26 January 2009.
Thanks Harvey its a an interesting concept. Am I alone though in not seeing the point in these machines? In my time the main need for bulk water was on rural shouts. The obvious size and lack of all wheel drive on this type of machine would stop it gaining access in most situations. I can see its role on a major road incident, or supporting a foam tender. Basic points I know but hopefully a discussion might enlighten me as to the thinking.

Added by John Stott on 27 January 2009.
hi ya fellas the use of this appliance is to help in a major fire ova make pumps 5 and also as Uckfield Is close to the ashdown forest where in the summer there are alot of fires and before we got this appliance West sussex sent along there appliance.
yes you are right the tank is 12000lrt the rear whell steer makes it easy to get in tight areas. there is no teething problems at the moment and hope there wont be.

Added by Harvey Dan on 27 January 2009.
Thanks for that Harvey, if its a local answer to a need it makes sense and it would seem there is one for your brigade.

Added by John Stott on 27 January 2009.
yes this is the only WrC East Sussex have and its a lot better and bigger than are old one we had that got written off in the marlie Farm blast see picture #4844 for east sussex old WrC at Uckfield

Added by Harvey Dan on 27 January 2009.
I had a look at picture #4844 Harvey, bulk water carriers seem to be getting popular here. There were some Suffolk pictures posted few weeks ago, I think they are converted milk tankers. I still struggle with the thought of getting this through a farm gate tho! lol!

Added by John Stott on 28 January 2009.

They are increasingly popular in a lot of countries.

Basically, they exist to compensate for otherwise inadequate water supplies for firefighting, and often they are a cheaper alternative than building the water mains, hydrants, tanks, sumps or ponds which would really very often be a much better solution.

They are inherently dangerous, because truck chassis which can carry 12, 000 or more liters of water have never been designed anywhere in the world to be driven fast, especially around corners!

In America, big tankers with 3000 to 3500 gallon tanks account for more than 70% of single vehicle fire service road accidents, although they are only around 15% of the fleet.

Long wheelbase tankers with low height octagonal section tanks are much the safest, but they are also unfortunately almost always the most expensive. High, round, pod-mounted tanks are among the worst, and almost impossible to drive safely at any kind of high speed.

6X6 and 6x2 rear steer (and even 8X4) are used in France, Poland, Belgium, Portugal, central Europe and the Nordic countries, but 6X4 tend to be the norm in the USA. The US practice is to use collapsible "dump tanks", and a relay of tankers to keep them full. One or more regular pumpers then either relay water via hoses to units at the fire ground, or replenish their tanks as they circulate back to the fire. These tanker relays can involve upwards of a dozen 3000 gallon tankers at a major rural structure fire at a farm or processing plant!

Big tankers are rare in Germany and Japan, except on airports and in industrial brigades. But these countries take the provision of hydrants or fixed firefighting water supplies a lot more seriously than most other countries.

Added by Rob Johnson on 10 July 2018.
I don't understand people questioning the "concept" of this vehicle even though the comments are from almost a decade ago. Water carriers have been around for donkeys years. In rural areas they are an almost essential tool. Staffordshire purchased two 4-wheeled-drive tankers by Carmichael on the impressive Bedford TM chassis in 1983. They proved very successful during the many vegetation fires that they attended in places like the Staffordshire Moorlands and Cannock Chase - places that in recent days have seen significant wildfire activity; although today those duties are undertaken by two MAN 26.363 (6x2) Angloco bulk fluid carriers, where "fluid" denotes the carrying of foam as well as water. And in the current heatwave they have been extremely busy: Staffordshire F&RS responded to almost 400 vegetation fires in June alone, with two of the biggest taking over a week to extinguish - on the moors near Leek and at Dimmingsdale near Cheadle.

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 12 July 2018.
I totally agree Yelp. I'd also question the cost and practicality of installing hydrant networks in rural areas, especially some of the forests / designated park.ands that are protected. These vehicles are not frontline pumps, it's unlikely they will be driven at high speed and thrown around corners! Just because other countries may have different approaches. It doesn't mean that this is a questionable concept, anymore than the different solutions other counties use. East Sussx has a vast expanse of woodland known as Ashdown Forest, which is a significant risks during dry hot summers, this alone easily justifies such a vehicle. If tankers similar to this are so dangerous, maybe we should stop deliveries of milk, fuel, heating oil and the many other fluids transported on our roads every day!

Added by Michael G on 16 July 2018.

Unfortunately, the facts speak for themselves. Big tankers operated by fire services in the US represent only 15% of all apparatus, but represent 70% of single vehicle accidents by fire department vehicles responding to alarms.

Nobody is saying big tankers are unsafe if driven carefully - but they are very susceptible to roll overs if driven too fast around corners!

Added by Rob Johnson on 20 July 2018.
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