Portable water tank

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Fire Department using a Portable Water Tank in South San Jose

A portable water tank is a collapsible temporary tank designed for the reserve storage of water in firefighting, emergency relief, and military applications. These tanks can be either supported or unsupported. The supported tanks have a steel or aluminum frame and range in size from 600 to 5000 US gallons or larger by custom design. Portable water tanks are also unsupported such as self-supporting tanks (onion tanks), blivets and pillow or bladder tanks and are available in sizes ranging from 100 US gallons (380 L) up to 80,000 US gallons (300,000 L). The patent for a spillway on the folding tank was applied for in 1954 by Fol-Da-Tank Co. founder/inventor Giles Eldred, and a patent for the "Float Dock" floating strainer for firefighting was applied for by Eldred in 1955. In 2013, rectangular tanks, or Single Lane Tanks (R), gained a great deal of popularity, for their narrow profile, sitting no wider than the width of the fire engines. Elongated tanks with six sides, Single Lane Type II (R), and elongated frameless tanks, Single Lane Self Supporting Tank (R), are also available, again for keeping a narrow profile while in use for narrow road water shuttling operations. The Rol-La-Tank (R) and Rol-La-Tank Type II (R) fast assemble tanks that store compactly in a 4' - 5' long duffle bag.


It is primarily used in rural areas where fire hydrants are not available. They are carried on water tenders and are deployed at the scene of a fire during a shuttle operation. A portable water tank is usually set up near or front of an attack engine.[1] , or possibly next to a supply engine.[2] This enables tenders to quickly drop off their load of water and return to the fill site as soon as possible. They are designed to be set up in around a half-minute with two firefighters.The engine may then use suction hose to draft the water in the tank.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mahoney, Gene (1986). Introduction to Fire Apparatus and Equipment. PennWell Books. p. 181. ISBN 0-912212-12-8. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  2. ^ Thomson Delmar Learning. The Firefighter's Handbook: Essentials of Fire Fighting and Emergency Response. Second Edition. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Publishers, 2004.
  3. ^ Eckman, William F. (1994). The Fire Department Water Supply Handbook. PennWell Books. p. 285. ISBN 0-912212-35-7. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

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