What is a Water Tender?
A wildland water tender is a specialized vehicle capable of bringing water, foam, or dry chemicals to fire trucks in the field. Water tenders have a large truck-mounted tank with a minimum of 1,000 gallons and up to 4,000 gallons of water.
Water tenders are typically larger, less agile apparatus. These vehicles are specifically designed for fires in more rugged terrain to help supply water for the fireline. Many modern water tenders can be used tactically to supply critical incident hose lies directly.
Tenders are typically used in wildfires because urban fire departments usually get their water from water supply infrastructures. In contrast, rural departments transport large volumes of water to the fireline with water tenders because of a lack of access to municipal water systems.
Tactical water tenders can perform some of the functions of a wildland fire engine, such as deploying hose lengths. Unlike support water tenders, tactical water tenders are capable of a technique of pump-and-roll.
Type of Water Tenders
Support Tender Type 1
This tender has a max capacity of 4,000 gallons of water but cannot pump and roll. It takes this engine about 30 minutes to refill and must have a minimum of 1 personnel in the cab.
Support Tender Type 2
Support Tender Type 2 can hold a minimum of 1 firefighter and takes 20 minutes to refill its 2,500-gallon tank.
Support Tender Type 3
This tender takes 15 minutes to refill its 1,000-gallon tank. It must hold a minimum of 1 firefighter and doesn’t have the capabilities to pump and roll.
Tactical Tender Type 1
Tactical tenders can pump and roll, which makes them used more frequently on the wildland fireline. Type 1 has a max capacity of 2,000 gallons of water and holds a minimum of 2 personnel.
Tactical Tender Type 2
Tactical Tender Type 2 isn’t much different than Type 1 besides only holding a 1,000-gallon tank.
Tenders allow for access to water before having to find a water source to put out the fire. It is essential to understand the difference in tenders to understand your department’s apparatus needs better.