2007 - Volume #31, Issue #3, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Compact Tractor Firefighting Rig
Edwardz and his wife, Julie, bought a compact 24 hp tractor to use in their terraced orchards on two acres on the outskirts of La Habra Heights, California. They decided the tractor could also be used for firefighting.
As a news cameraman and volunteer firefighter, Edwardz understands the real threat of wildfire in the area. He also understands the restrictions of fire departments.
"A wildfire can be stopped if you get on it quick and fast," Edwardz says. "I don't believe we need to fall victim to it."
He found a high pressure, high volume diaphragm pump that would work on his tractor's 540 rpm pto. He had a modified 3-pt. sprayer custom built and attached a pump and a 110-gal. water tank. He purchased a $250 nozzle and 300 ft. of fire hose. He used stainless steel piping and fire hose fittings.
The New Holland tractor's 3-pt. hitch can easily handle the apparatus, which weighs 1,100 lbs. when filled with water.
A 1 1/2-in. line fills the tank and the 1-in. fire hose can shoot a 100-ft. stream of water at 30 gpm at 290 psi, equivalent to the minimum rating for fire engines (Type 7).
During practice drills Edwardz drives the tractor and engages the pump. Julie rolls out the hose and starts spraying water, while Edwardz hooks into the nearest water source. The couple has a seasonal swimming pool, a private hydrant attached to city water, and two 550-gallon tanks of potable water.
"This is the most interesting piece of fire-fighting equipment I've used," Edwardz says. Because of the tractor's small size, it can go places fire engines can't fit.
Since building the apparatus in 2005, the Edwardzes haven't needed to use it for firefighting, but it's been handy for spraying down their driveway and irrigating their orchards. They wash mites off their avocado trees spraying water at 100 psi.
When their area is in high fire danger they have the apparatus filled with water and mounted on the tractor. Costing less than $4,000 to build, the Edwardzes believe it's a smart investment and that people who live in extreme fire hazard areas should empower themselves by making their own firefighting rigs.
Firefighting equipment is available through municipal surplus sales and internet sites.
"I highly recommend people get some training," Edwardz says. "Safety is important. You have to know your limits."
Edwardz is willing to advise people interested in making their own firefighting rigs.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, George Edwardz, 1642 Fullerton Rd, La Habra Heights, Calif. 90631 (ph 562 483-4800; email@example.com)
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