Monthly Archives: November, 2013

“Is Your Relief Valve Set?”

Just thinking about the times, when I started training to become a relief driver, some 23 years ago.  The old open cab pumpers, manual gear shift, and the wind in your face as you drive down the road, and us firefighters standing on the tale board responding to a call.  It was a part of history, that I’m glad, I was a small part of.  In thinking, about the old open cab pumpers, and, with that in mind, I want to talk to you today about relief valves.   If I remember correctly,  to engage the pump,  place the manual gear shifter in neutral position and then, set the parking brake, next, engage the pump, which was a stick in the floor on some models or, it was an on/off switch, on the dash.  Next, place the gear shifter in the highest gear towards the seat, I belief it was, 4th gear, and let off of the clutch, which initiates the pump into gear.

The attack pumper at a house fire, with two or more lines pulled, the driver had to set the relief valve.  What the relief valve does, it relieves, the excess pressure back into the pump.  For example if you have 2 pre-connected 1 ½ hose  lines pulled off the truck, 200 feet in length, and charged at 160 psi, if one firefighter shuts off his nozzle, without the relief valve being set, the excess pressure would go to the other hose line.  This could be dangerous to the one, on the line, with flowing water.  By setting the relief valve, at the highest pressure that is being pumped, the excess pressure, of a line that is shut off, will go back into the pump.  Drivers are also, required to set their relief valves during morning check offs to operate the valve, which keeps calcium, from water, from corroding the intricate parts of the valve and also makes sure that it is good working condition.  The relief valve when working properly, allows the firefighters to hold their positions while fighting fire.  To set the relief valve, first establish your desired pressure you want to flow, and then turn the valve counterclockwise until the pressure drops, I think, 40 to 60 lbs.  Then slowly turn the valve clockwise until the pressure is at the original number you were pumping.

Today’s pumpers have electronic relief valves, called pressure governors.  They operate by setting the electronic pressure gauge to the desired pressure, and it automatically sets itself, and again, is called a pressure governor. The pressure governor relieves excess pressure by engine RPM’s.  Once you set the pressure that you want to flow, the engine RPM’s does the rest.

Application for you, and me:

We all need a relief valve in our lives.  Someone that we can talk to, who can help, by listening, in return, may relieve the pressure of a friend in need.  May I say that, God is a very good relief valve.  He is always near, and He has a great interest in your life.  When the adversity hits, just like a 3 alarm fire, and you have no place to turn, but to battle.  Hold your position and turn to God.  He is a relief to all under pressure.  I am again, reminded of the life of Gideon, in the Bible, and how the pressure, of leading his people to take back their land from the enemy. Gideon gave God every excuse in the world why he could not do, what God desired of Him.  God reminded Gideon, of who he was, in Gods eyes.  Judges 6 v 12- When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  Verse 13 – (Gideon’s response, Life of Pressure)  Verse 14 (Gods Response) – The Lord turned to Gideon and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of the Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you? Verse 15 (Gideon’s response – I am weak, pressure of life)  Verse 16 –The Lord Answered “I will be with you…  God is our relief in a pressure filled world.  Every excuse Gideon had, God reminded Gideon of who he was in God’s eyes.  Finally, Gideon was ready for battle.   Judges 7 v. 21 Gideon and his men held their position, as they surrounded the camp of the Midianites, all the Midianites fled, crying as they fled.  22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, (300 men Gideon lead to battle) to the Lord caused the Midianites throughout the camp to turn on each other….

When our relief valve is set on the pumper, It will allow the men on the fire hose to, hold their position, when  someone on another hose line, shuts off their nozzle.

When our relief valve, our pressure governor is set in the Lord, He will allow us, to hold our position, when something, or someone, causes us to go through, the pressures of life.                            Have a Great Week.

Relief Valve

Image of Detail of the relief valves and gauges on a fire truck