Fire pump failure: Close fuel supply valve after use

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
South Okanagan Valley
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Ken Hardy Contracting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

During a period of elevated fire danger rating, the supervisor at a logging site conducted an “extra” inspection of his fire equipment. He counted all tools and hooked up the four stroke pump to ensure it was in a condition ready to respond rapidly to any fire start.

The pump had been used to fill the water tanks within the month as the contractor moved onto the new block and had pumped water with no problems. At this check however, the pump was hard to start and then ran poorly once it was going. Inspection showed the crankcase was full of gasoline.

The contractor always has at least one spare pump on site for such a situation but any response would possibly have been delayed.

The pump was taken to the supplier for repair. The small engine mechanic determined that an internal valve in the carburetor had stuck open during transport. He said this can happen very easily so the main fuel supply valve should always be closed after every use minimizing the volume of gas available to flood the crankcase (see photo in attached pdf).

This is especially important if the pump is stored in a vehicle and for transport as any bouncing could cause the internal valve to stick open.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always close the fuel supply valve after use on all four stroke pumps.
  • Conduct emergency fire equipment checks regularly and increase the frequency as the fire danger increases.
  • Ensure the checks include running the pumps and producing water. This often identifies problems or missing key components.
  • Whenever possible have spares of the key components of the water delivery system.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information contact: Don Hardy (Ken Hardy Contracting Ltd.) 250-212-0253

File attachments
Fire pump failure: Close fuel supply valve after use.pdf
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