Heavy Pumping Unit
- 4 x 4
- 60m hose – the distance available to operate the pump from the appliance
- Demountable hydraulically driven pump
- Operated remotely
- The pump is placed into the water supply (ie. lake, river) where it floats
- Carries 3km of 6-inch delivery hose
Water is the basic weapon of the firefighter in almost every firefighting operation.
In a rural county such as Shropshire the provision of sufficient quantities of water to tackle the fire is always one of the prime concerns of the Incident Commander. Even where water mains are available they are generally of small diameter and are often only capable of supplying one or two small hand held jets, whilst the nearest open water may be many miles from the scene of the fire.
It is against this background that in 1994 Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service purchased a piece of equipment known as the Hydrosub which had been developed and used for over 10 years throughout Holland to provide long distance water relays. The Shropshire variant of the Hydrosub, which is known as the Heavy Pumping Unit (HPU), is the only one of its kind in this country. The system is based on two Multi-lift prime movers; one carrying the pumping unit and 1 kilometre of 150mm hose; the other carrying a further 2 kilometres of hose. The HPU has a vertical lift of up to 60 metres and a maximum output of 8,000 litres per minute. It is crewed and operated entirely by retained personnel from either Shrewsbury or Prees.
The main value of the HPU to the brigade is ensuring that water for firefighting is available throughout a large rural county. However, its importance in making the best use of very limited resources is also significant. Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority has long been conscious of the need to demonstrate best value to the public of Shropshire and in this context it is important to recognise the massive savings in both human and material resources that the HPU makes possible.
The HPU has been used effectively at numerous incidents in Shropshire and in neighbouring brigades. It has also proved invaluable in dealing with the serious flooding that affected Shropshire on a number of occasions during recent years, particularly when supported by the prototype Mini Hydrosub that was provided on loan by the manufacturers. This newly-developed equipment was found to be so effective that the Service has now purchased one of the first production models. It will be mounted on a rough terrain vehicle to enhance even further our water supply and flood relief capabilities.