Sponsored by IDEX Fire and Safety
By Sarah Calams for FireRescue1 BrandFocus
A pump operator’s job is vitally important while on the fireground. After all, without a well-trained pump operator, a scene can go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds.
The role of a pump operator requires extensive water supply knowledge in order to troubleshoot potential hoseline problems – all while understanding the complexities of gauges on a fire truck to identify and resolve an issue.
Traditionally, a pump operator could be found on the side of a rig at the pump panel. However, with today’s advances in technology, an operator has the ability to step away from the rig and focus on the fireground without compromising efficient water flow.
The SAM system was invented by 19-year veteran firefighter Jason Cerrano. Cerrano’s goal was to make pump operations simpler for his fellow firefighters. His invention – a system that manages water flow – allows pump operators to spend more time assisting on the fireground instead of standing at a pump panel.
With SAM’s simplified and intuitive panel, firefighters can rely on the built-in efficiencies to help manage common fireground challenges.
For example, with just a few swipes on a 10-inch display screen, pump operators can use presets to set discharge pressures as well as manage a rig’s pump, tank, intakes and discharges.
Is your department searching for ways to free up pump operators while on scene? Here are four ways the SAM system can help transform your department’s pump operations:
1. Getting water from the rig to the crew is easier.
Firefighting has been named as one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. And while some stress cannot be avoided, other causes of tension can be prevented.
For example, firefighters can bypass the heightened stress they experience while arriving on scene by using the SAM system to help get water from the truck to the crew quickly and efficiently.
Instead of scrambling to see how your pump panel is reacting, saved presets allow pump operators to set discharge pressures. Pump operators can also rely on SAM to maintain set pressures.
Additionally, SAM automatically opens the tank-to-pump valve, giving pump operators and the crew peace of mind that water is in the pump and ready to discharge at a moment’s notice.
2. Pump operators have the ability to step away from the pump panel.
Every second counts on a fire scene. However, because pump operators are not able to fully assist their fellow firefighters while on scene, a slowdown of operations can occur.
To bypass this potential issue, crews can rely on SAM, which helps pump operators:
- Focus on critical tasks
- Pump from a safe and secure location
- Locate a hydrant and pull LDH
- Pull additional lines
- Take a fan to a door
- Easily hear calls for additional water
- Worry less about manual valve feathering
Moreover, SAM monitors intake pressure and switches back to the tank in the event of potential water supply disruptions. Pump operators can also trust SAM to automatically refill the tank – ensuring it is always full and ready for crewmembers.
3. Transitioning to a hydrant while supplying water is made simple.
Disruption in water flow can have catastrophic consequences. But, with one swipe, the SAM system can take care of this potential problem.
For instance, when an operator needs to transition to a hydrant, SAM controls the engine speed while ensuring water flows smoothly to the crew without disruption. SAM does this in a unique way by changing the discharge valve positions as well in order to keep the new pressure from ever making it to the handlines.
The system also helps:
- Bleed LDH
- Open intake
- Close the tank-to-pump
- Pump operators focus on other fireground tasks
If, for any reason, there is a water supply problem, SAM will automatically switch to the tank and alert the operator to address the issue.
4. Common fireground challenges are virtually nonexistent.
SAM was developed by a firefighter, for firefighters. The system, which was first installed on a St. Louis Fire Department rig, helps firefighters perform their jobs safely and efficiently.
With SAM in place, crews can avoid these common fireground challenges:
- Interruption in water flow
- Pressure spikes
- Water supply issues due to loss of hydrant pressure
- Miscommunication regarding water while on scene
- Lack of crewmembers while on scene
- Rotation of pump operators who may be unfamiliar with the rig
SAM is safe and reliable
There are many valued traditions in the fire service. But, as technology evolves and changes, performing certain fireground tasks the traditional way doesn’t always mean it’s the safest and smartest approach.
SAM’s electronic pump panel solution is designed and engineered with firefighters in mind. Ultimately, the system helps crews execute critical tasks – no matter the environment they’re operating in. With SAM, pump operators can rest easy knowing the pump is running smoothly.