had our 100-gallon pumper unit custom made. Sounds fancy-schmancy, huh? Not really. Once you begin the search, it’s actually the most practical way to do it! Our search began in a couple of ways. We looked for a ready-made unit but none had the functions or the size we wanted in one system. We asked around at organizations we volunteered with and none had a definitive answer; the answers varied from not sure because we’ve had it for years to we made our own unit; none were cited as from a specific manufacturer or retailer.
We know our unit needed to be flexible and on wheels. We had 4 requirements: 1) one that could be loaded and unloaded with just 2 people; 2) one that could be transported to burn sites; 3) one that can be used with either a truck or a UTV/ATV; 4) and one that could hold enough water to handle a burn when refilling wasn’t available.
After a bit of searching and asking around, we found Sun Valley Fabrication in Hollandale, WI. They do a good deal of custom metalwork for several industries including making professional firefighting pumper units for fire departments all across the United States. All this just 10 miles from us!!
We’re very happy with how it turned out. Its maiden flight was the spring of 2012 and it performed admirably! When it’s not being used for prescribed burns, we use it to water transplants from our propagation efforts.
Here are the specification for the unit:
- Davey centrifugal firefighting pump with a 5 ½ HP Honda engine
- 100 gallon tank
- hose reel with a hand crank that could hold up at least 150 of hose and could be locked in place,
- nozzle that could provide a wide or narrow stream of water with an easy shut off valve