S-211, Portable Pumps and Water Use

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This course is designed to provide knowledge and skills to design, setup, operate, troubleshoot, and shut down portable water delivery systems. The focus is on portable pumps – it does not address water delivery for engines. Topics covered include: portable water delivery systems; equipment; roles and responsibilities; and system design and hydraulics. There is also a field exercise where students will apply what they learned in the classroom.

Course Objective:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills to design, set up, operate, troubleshoot, and shut down portable water delivery systems.

Course Required For:

  • None at this time.

Course Recommended For:

S-211 is recommended for personnel desiring to be qualified as Firefighter Type 1 (FFT1) or Incident Commander Type 5 (ICT5), or those wanting to learn more about portable pumps and water use.

Where This Course Is Offered

Information on training schedules can be found at National Wildland Tire Training, S-211 page.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training


S-211 Instructor Information

Instructors must be knowledgeable in the use and maintenance of portable water pumps. Hydraulics unit requires competency in that subject matter.

Also see NWCG Instructor Information page

Please use the pre-populated order form to order course materials


S-211 is available in the following format:

  • An instructor led class at 16-20 hours.

S-211Course Materials


  1. Introduce instructors and students.
  2. Discuss course logistics.
  3. Present course overview.

Unit 1: Portable Water Delivery Systems


  1. Define the ultimate goal of a water delivery system.
  2. List two reasons why portable water delivery systems are important for wildland firefighting and prescribed burning.
  3. Identify key factors to consider when designing, setting up, and operating a portable water delivery system.

Link to Unit 1 Module

Unit 2: Equipment


  1. Distinguish the differences between the two cycle and four cycle engines and identify which one of these differences is most important to a pump operator.
  2. Label the parts of a commonly used portable pump.
  3. Identify the purpose of a suction hose and a discharge hose.
  4. Match types of wildland fire appliances and tools with their respective purpose.
  5. Identify nozzle types.
  6. List one type of national portable pump kit.

Unit 3: Responsibilities


  1. Given scenarios and photos, identify risk management, fuel handing, and environmental concerns.
  2. Identify methods to prevent cavitation and water hammer.
  3. List the four components that should be included in the design of a portable water delivery system.
  4. Given photos, critique a portable pump setup.
  5. Identify how to prevent the engine from flooding when starting the pump.
  6. Identify how to troubleshoot common problems with portable pumps.
  7. Identify how to select nozzles and apply water to achieve tactical objectives.
  8. List general guidelines for maintaining and retrieving hoses.

Unit 4: System Design and Hydraulics


  1. List one reason it is important for a pump and nozzle operator to have a basic understanding of hydraulics.
  2. Given scenarios, determine flow and pump discharge pressure, and select appropriate pump(s).
  3. Given scenarios, draw a schematic of the design of a water delivery system, and troubleshoot the delivery system.
  4. Given scenarios, determine whether parallel hose lay, series pumping, or parallel pumping would be the best option.

Unit 5: Field Exercise


  1. Participate in portable water delivery system set up, operation, troubleshooting, and shut down.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate risk management activities, such as wearing PPE (including ear and eye protection as appropriate) and fuel handling procedures.




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