BY ALAN M. PETRILLO
Hydrant valves and tanker (tender) dump valves have been around for a long time, but manufacturers continue to refine and redesign the equipment and fine tune it for ease of use, delivery of the maximum amount of water, and safety for the users.
HYDRANT AND HYDRANT ASSIST VALVES
Philip Gerace, vice president of marketing for Task Force Tips (TFT), points out that TFT makes a range of hydrant assistant and shutoff valves, including the Hydrant Master in a four-inch Storz by four-inch Storz configuration, a lightweight, low-friction-loss hydrant valve that can be used in many water supply operations. Water pressure from opening the hydrant automatically turns on the valve’s electronics, which allow the valve to be opened and closed under radio control. Gerace says the valve weighs 31 pounds and consumes extremely low power. The Hydrant Master uses a handheld controller with pressure display and positive feedback of valve position at a range in excess of 1,200 feet. “The Hydrant Master maximizes crew efficiency by allowing the hydrant firefighter to move to the scene after preparing the hydrant and gives the apparatus operator the ability to open and close the hydrant supply remotely,” Gerace says.
The Oasis Hydrant Assist Valve made by TFT is designed to improve flow delivery from poorly performing hydrants or long supply hose operations by boosting pressure and increasing flow, Gerace notes. He says it can be used as a hydrant booster, a gated wye, and an inline pump in long relay operations. He adds that TFT’s stainless steel half-ball design not only allows for an open waterway but also helps cut the friction loss to 15 pounds per square inch (psi) at 1,000 gallons per minute (gpm).
Task Force Tips also makes the LDH Water Thief for large-diameter hose (LDH), a rugged unit with two valved discharge ports, each with a 2½-inch waterway and folding quarter-turn valve handles. Gerace notes that the LDH Water Thief, when connected to a charged hoseline, allows a firefighter to tap into the line without shutting down the water flow, especially useful in wildland fire situations. TFT’s Hydrant Under Monitor (HUM) is a low-friction-loss valve designed to supply a monitor and is configurable with either two LDH ports or one LDH port and one 2½-inch gated wye outlet. The HUM often is installed in industrial facilities for firefighting efforts.
Lou Thomas, product specialist for Kochek Company, says Kochek makes the Hydrassist Valve that can be used when hitting a hydrant and also inline on a long hoselay where a pumper can come in and hook to the valve to boost pressure in the line without shutting down the water flow. “A lot of fire departments like it, especially in areas where there is low hydrant pressure,” Thomas points out. “It allows the department to hook an engine into the valve to boost pressure without interrupting water flow operations.”
The Hydrassist Valve has three settings, Thomas notes: straight flow out of the hydrant and down the hoseline, boosting pressure by an engine (controlled by a single lever), and emergency shutoff. “Once a pumper hooks into a Hydrassist Valve that’s flowing water from a hydrant and then overcomes the hydrant pressure, a check valve inside the Hydrassist diverts the water from the hydrant waterway and into the pumper and then back into the valve and down the hoseline,” Thomas says.
LARGE INTAKE VALVES
Pete Lauffenburger of Akron Brass Company, an IDEX Corp. company, says Akron Brass makes several external intake valves, including the Revolution, Black Max, and Butterfly Valve. “Our most popular design is the Revolution,” Lauffenburger points out, “which comes in straight and swivel elbow models. Most people prefer it because of the compact nature of the valve on the pump panel and also because of its large, heavy-duty hand wheel.” He adds that the hand wheel on the valve is designed to blend in with the valve’s body so it does not obstruct surrounding equipment on the pump panel and that its ball sector for controlling water flow makes the Revolution reliable, efficient, and robust.
Akron Brass’s Black Max Piston Intake Valve is a corrosion-resistant stainless steel and polyimpregnated aluminum valve that has a large oval waterway, Lauffenburger says, that “increases efficiency while reducing the overall size.” The Black Max is capable of a 2,000-gpm flow with a friction loss of only 7 psi, he adds.
The Butterfly Valves that Akron Brass makes can be gear, manual, or electrically actuated, according to Lauffenburger. The 7960 Butterfly Valve has a six-inch full-flow waterway, he says, operates at 250 psi, and meets National Fire Protection Association 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, with regard to opening and closing speed when used with gear, air, or electric actuators. A version with a manual quarter-turn handle is available for dump valve applications, he says.
Larry Schetter, sales manager for A.H. Stock Manufacturing, says his company makes the Newton Dump Valve in two styles: gate and plunger operated. “From there, we have many versions, manual, air operated, electrically operated, air/electric actuated, and with a handle on the top left or right of the valve,” Schetter notes. “Also, we make extension chutes of various types in manual, air, and electrically operated versions.”
Schetter says that the typical Newton Dump Valve is a 10-inch square model, although the company has made 10-inch round dump valves in the past. “A 10-inch square dump valve dumps between 15 and 20 percent faster than a 10-inch round dump, so we stopped making the round dumps,” he points out. “If a department has enough room for a 10-inch round dump valve, we can make a 10-inch square dump valve fit.” He adds that A.H. Stock’s original dump valve was a 12-inch plunger style, but the company then developed its gate-style dump valve, which dumps faster than a plunger style. “Our 10-inch gate dump valve was dumping faster than the 12-inch plunger valve, so we stopped building the 12-inch models,” he says.
A.H. Stock recently redesigned its Newton swivel, which attaches to the end of the valve at the back of a tanker and swivels 180 degrees, allowing a dump to the rear, left, or right and eliminating the need for dump valves at the sides of the truck. “With the dump valve, swivel and telescopic extension, the unit is 31 inches stored and 67½ inches extended,” Schetter says. “A standard Newton dump valve is 24 inches long, but we have made them up to 60 inches. And, we can go as short as 16 inches on our standard valve but make a shorty dump valve in a top handle manual version that’s only 10 inches long, which is usually used with a swivel.”
Kevin Quinn, president of E.J. Metals, says E.J. Metals makes the Maddic™ stainless steel dump chute mated with an Ebro valve that maximizes flow and minimizes leakage. “We customize our chutes to fit any new tanker or tender or will retrofit and upgrade a department’s existing apparatus,” Quinn says. “With the Maddic, a flip of a switch in the cab or on the apparatus body automatically extends the dump chute and opens the Ebro valve, allowing the water tank to be emptied at 2,500 gpm.” The Maddic is available in eight-, 10-, and 12-inch diameters; in manual or air-operated configurations; and with controls at the rear, in the cab, or dual.
E.J. Metals also offers 180-degree dump chutes with full side-to-side rotation, a three-position locking mechanism, an outer extension of 20 inches with stops so it can’t be pulled off or pushed in too far, and a 10-inch air-actuated butterfly valve with an aluminum-bronze butterfly disc and Buna seat to limit corrosion and leaking.
Dennis Ford, owner of Company 2:10, says Company 2:10 makes the Dump Chute Fill Adapter that slides over an existing dump chute and is engineered so an operator can either fill a water tank or dump a water tank through it. “The adapter bolts onto the existing dump chute in about a minute,” Ford says, and can be adapted to four-inch, five-inch, or six-inch LDH. “Instead of filling the water tank through a 2½-inch or four-inch hole, you’re filling through a 10-inch dump valve,” he adds. “It gets the tanker back to the scene so much faster, and instead of eight to 10 minutes to fill a tanker, it takes from one to 1½ minutes.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.