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Step 1 How Much Water is Needed?

Before you think about such things as what kinds of pumpers and water tenders to use and how to pump water from a lake, focus on the water needs of your district. That means determining how much water is required to extinguish a fire at each structure in your area. You can calculate this amount once you know three pieces of information: the materials stored in the structure, the building's construction materials, and the size (total volume) of the structure.

You find out all this information by performing on-site surveys of all the buildings in your area.

And while you're performing the survey, take the time to note any nearby water sources so you won't have to make a repeat visit.

NFPA 1231, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting, contains further information on the considerations used in calculating minimum water supply .

How to calculate the minimum water supply needed for a particular structure...

In your community, you probably have many kinds of structures. Your mix might include homes, barns, warehouses, feed stores, mobile homes, and schools. Classify each structure by its contents, and assign it an Occupancy Hazard Classification number. Flour mills and chemical plants, both extremely hazardous, rate a 3, commercial barns and stables come in at 4, and apartments and schools rate 7.

If the building has a sprinkler system, you should not assign it an Occupancy Hazard Classification number.

Then, analyze the structure's construction materials. Assign a Construction Classification Number, based on the combustibility of materials.

The last piece of information you need in order to calculate minimum water requirements is the property's measurements, in cubic feet.

How Much Water is Needed?

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