Ask the Expert: From experience to innovation

Chris Ferrara, President/CEO, US Fire Pump Company reveals exclusively for International Fire Buyer the ins and outs of submersible fire pumps and how they aid emergency response

A veteran of the Fire Industry for over 40 years, Chris Ferrara, President/CEO, US Fire Pump Company, has been recognised as a leader in the innovation in manufacturing of Fire Apparatus and Equipment.  Chris’ passion is to find innovative ways to protect the lives of the public and firefighters while minimising property loss. 

As a company born from experience and innovation, how do you ensure you stay ahead of the curve?

That’s a great question. I believe the first thing you should do to “stay ahead of the curve” is to be open to new ideas. If you only look at traditional methods of firefighting or equipment used in firefighting, you are really boxing yourself into doing what everyone else is doing. I find that listening to the people in the field who do the job everyday is the first place to start when looking for new ideas. You can learn a lot from front line personnel because they are the ones who have the daily challenges of adapting to overcoming obstacles. The information I receive is invaluable and myself and our team at US Fire Pump are put to the challenge of creating a solution. Right now, as we speak, we are working on never-before-seen pieces of equipment that were born from gathering ideas from the field –  Stay tuned!

How do submersible fire pumps aid fire fighters?

The number one concern for a firefighter is where the water supply is going to come from. That does not matter if it is in Municipal Firefighting or Industrial Firefighting. Using submersible pumps is nothing new as they have been around for hundreds of years, and until now the use of the submersible hasn’t been widely adopted. 

I have a great example of a recent emergency response where we were contracted for services. The water main providing water supply to the plant was compromised during the explosion. This left the hydrants and fire water supply out of service. The fire was still raging and there were spheres that had product inside and they needed to be cooled immediately to avoid secondary explosions. After scouting the area for water, we found a river a little over 1.5 miles away. We deployed our 10,000 gpm submersible pumps into the river, giving us unlimited water supply, which fed our in-line boost pumps all the way back to the scene. With the use of the submersibles to provide the much-needed water, the surrounding community was spared a major disaster.

Why has US Fire Pump invested so heavily in Emergency Response?

Another great question. Firstly, my career started as a firefighter, so I have always been passionate about firefighting and service to the public and private sector. To provide a service to a person or a company in need is very rewarding, that’s the root. 

Our investment in Emergency Response is twofold. For starters, we design and manufacture industry leading equipment for these emergency response events. Secondly, it was apparent to me that the companies that were providing these services were not all in on emergency response. Their fleet of equipment was, in most cases, only large enough for deployment to one incident. Additionally, no two incidents are alike and different equipment is needed for these different responses. 

So, I made the decision to have a fleet ready to support multiple events simultaneously. We have done that too, we have been on several response events in multiple locations, more recently when the Southern US was hit with the “Big Freeze” we had personnel and equipment on eleven different emergency responses. The equipment needed ranged from Submersible pumps to Temporary water systems. We were busy to say the least!

Pump technology is becoming increasingly advanced, where do you see the future heading?

I don’t think that this industry is much different than most industries where everything is going “Smart”. I see automation as being a big part of the future in pumps and firefighting technologies. 

How has Covid-19 impacted the industry and process of firefighting/training?

How could it have not? Training has greatly been impacted. Travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines have really taken a toll on the industry’s ability to train. I am hopeful that these restrictions will ease up as vaccines are rolled out and restrictions are lifted. 

As you may already know, we moved into a new state of the art manufacturing facility right in the middle of this pandemic. Luckily, we had already designed our facility pre-pandemic and had incorporated a large training room and training grounds. We have been fortunate enough to provide virtual training to organisations from our facility that is outfitted with the latest technology for getting to the public virtually.

Do you have any exciting plans for the near future that you could disclose to us?

All I can say is, Stay Tuned!

Anything else to note?

I would love for you to visit our website at www.usfirepump.com to see the innovative products and make sure you follow us on social media for daily updates and news about US Fire Pump. If you need us for a Emergency Response you can call our 24/7 number at +1-225-209-6551

About US Fire Pump

US Fire Pump is a collective of over 200 years of experience in design, manufacturing, marketing and purchasing. The company’s founder, Chris Ferrara, has been involved in the firefighting industry for more than 40 years. Chris started his career as a Fireman where he later used his skills learned and his innovative ideas to found Ferrara Fire Apparatus. Under Chris’ leadership over 6000 fire apparatus were built for customers across the Globe.

Protecting the lives of the public and fire industry personnel while limiting property damage is the primary mission of US Fire Pump.

US Fire Pump began with the idea to create a large volume fire pump which was lacking in the industry at the time. Chris Ferrara and a team of engineers began the development of our flagship product, the High Velocity Pump. This pump is the largest compliant, single impeller fire pump in the world. In addition, a complete line of submersible pumps for municipal or industrial applications were developed and made available. US Fire Pump also supplies a full complement of supplemental fire equipment needed for municipal and industrial fire professionals to effectively do the job.

With US Fire Pump’s world class product offering, Chris was able to use the company’s platform to return to his first passion, firefighting. US Fire Pump has the largest Emergency Response team and equipment fleet globally. Understanding that no two incidents are alike, and that they can happen simultaneously, US Fire Pump has made a conscious investment in emergency response assets. US Fire Pump has been contracted and responded successfully to landfill fires, ship fires, rescue events, vapor suppression events, refinery and terminal fires as well as a wide array of other major emergency events.

US Fire Pump Hydraulic Submersible Pumps

US Fire Pump has a solution using old technology with a modern twist to get water from a static source. The use of a hydraulically driven, submersible float pump is nothing new but now has been incorporated and adopted by the firefighting industry. Using a submersible pump is the perfect solution for getting pressurized water from static sources. Whether it be in an industrial, municipal or forestry setting, using a submersible pump system has many benefits. 

For municipal or forestry operations, particularly in rural regions, imagine having a water source right in front of you but you cannot access it with a fire truck; or you are prohibited by the lift height for drafting operations.  The answer may indeed be using a submersible pump to supply your engine with the water it needs. What about distance and lift? This can be achieved from distances up to 175’ and with a lift height up to 40’. 

Using submersible pumps, in many cases, allows for greater water flow than can be achieved with hydrants or drafting pumps. For example, one single submersible pump can supply either 3,000 or 5,000 gpm and can fit in the back of a standard pickup truck or mounted to a small trailer. Both of these single submersible pumps have been a popular option among municipalities and smaller industrial complexes. For example, municipalities have deployed, into a static water source, one 3,000 gpm submersible pump and supplied up to three fire engines during firefighting operations. The most popular combination used by industrial complexes has been using dual 5,000 gpm submersible pumps to achieve their desired flow of 10,000 gpm. This can also be configured with three and four 5,000 gpm submersible pumps to achieve higher flows of 15,000 and 20,000 gpm, respectively.

 

US Fire Pump engineers and manufacturers a full line of submersible pumps in their Holden, LA USA facility. Ranging from 3,000 gpm to 20,000 gpm with multiple configurations available including skid mounted, trailer mounted, open or enclosed designs. More options are available. For more information visit www.usfirepump.com , call 225-209-6551 or email info@usfirepump.com

 

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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Fire Buyer

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
Email: editor@firebuyer.com

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