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Draughting water

Draughting water from static water supplies such as creeks, rivers, ponds, dams etc. is a skill rarely practiced in fire fighting operations in the Darwin rural area and is often forgotten by fire fighters.

Grass Fire Units carry two hard suction hoses with 40mm female camlock fittings both ends, often with one short length and the other 2-3 times as long. These must be maintained with rubber washers in good condition and no leaks or damage. A light smear of grease on the cams makes them easy to operate, ensuring that no grease or oil gets on the rubber washers. Don't use spray lubricants, such as CRC, WD-40, etc.

The closer you can get to the water supply the better; just make sure you don’t get bogged.

Set up as follows:

1. Connect foot valve/strainer to longer hard suction hose and fill hose with water (prime).

2. Connect other end of hose to pump’s spare suction inlet.

3. Immerse foot valve in water supply, ensuring that it is sufficiently covered with water. Keep it above the bottom to avoid sucking in sand or grit that may damage the pump. If the supply is too shallow a piece of shade cloth, fly wire netting or metal gauze makes an effective screen.

4. Connect the shorter hose to the pump’s spare discharge port with the other end to the water tank’s camlock filling point.

5. Turn the suction valve to the draughting position.

6. Start the pump and check that water is entering the tank. Increase engine speed to increase water flow.

7. On completion, stop the pump, disconnect hoses, replace blank caps and return the suction valve to its original position.

If draughting is unsuccessful check the following:

1. Suction hose is in good condition, rubber washers intact.

2. Suction hose connection to pump is making a good seal with both cam arms closed.

3. Suction valve is in correct position for draughting.

4. Suction hose has maintained its prime.

5. Foot valve covered with sufficient depth of water and not sucking air.

6. Foot valve/strainer clear and not blocked.

7. No obstructions in suction and discharge hoses.

8. Too far from water supply – too high a lift. The maximum theoretical lift is 7.5m, but we don’t carry hoses that long and the pump certainly wouldn’t draw that high.
 The Darwin River between Leonino and Cox Peninsula Roads is a quarantine area for cabomba weed. Do not draught water from the river in this area. 

Be alert for crocodiles when draughting from Top End rivers, creeks, lagoons and dams .

Yes, that is a crocodile trap in the water, so he's smart to be standing on the back of his truck.
Photo courtesy Davo McLachlan
Lambells Lagoon Volunteer Bushfire Brigade
Frank Dunstan,
Sep 7, 2009, 5:43 PM