The portable fire pump revolutionized fire fighting in Canada

The Mark 3 fire pump is one of the most widely used pieces of firefighting equipment in Canada. The popular firefighting pump was first introduced in 1965 and quickly became a core component of initial attack units across the country. Though there have been several improvements and enhancements over the years, this reliable pump remains similar to what was first introduced in the 1960’s. With a weight of close to 27 kg (60 pounds) the pump can be carried to remote water sources and is ideal for getting water to the fire through hose lines. Setting up pumps in tandem enables fire fighters to move water over longer distances and setting up pumps in parallel provides fire fighters with higher volumes of water.

Because of the relatively small size of the Mark 3 pump (58 cm x 31 cm x 41 cm) and light weight, it can be handled by one fire fighter and can be easily transported by ground or by air. Whether it is the Mark 3 pump or its competitor the Wick 375, these portable fire pumps are a cornerstone of fire fighting in Canada.

Firefighting agencies in Canada maintain an inventory of close to 6,400 of these portable fire pumps and share pumps when necessary through a national resource sharing agreement.

The history of fire pumps in Canada dates back to the early 1900’s. In a Canadian Forest Service technical report from 1977 it was reported that “Mr. H.C. Johnson, a fire inspector for the Board of Railway Commissioners of Canada, designed the first Canadian portable forestry fire pump in 1915. This gasoline-powered, positive-displacement pump revolutionized methods of forest fire fighting.”

Prior to the introduction of portable pumps, fire fighters relied on hand tools to fight fires. The construction of fire line with pumps and hose increased the efficiency of the fire crew and enabled them to extinguish fires more quickly and achieve a much higher initial attack success rate.

For more information….

Waterax Mark 3

Mercedes Wick 375

Fireline Equipment – Power Pumps, D.M. Townshend, Candian Forest Service, 1977