Fire Crews, Tanker Force Move Water Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

Fire Crews, Tanker Force Gathered Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

SANATOGA PA – Tanker and pumper trucks staffed by fire company and department volunteers from across western Montgomery County (above), who gave up hours of time with their families to practice protecting the public, assembled Thursday night (Sept. 17, 2020) in a Sanatoga parking lot for extensive drills on ferrying water to a fire scene.

It was the first time in more than a year that dozens of firefighters and apparatus, which make up what is known as the region’s “Tanker Task Force,” gathered to participate in such specific training, its members said. Their goal: to prepare for situations or areas where fire hydrants don’t exist, where water pressure is low, or where massive water volume is needed.

Without water tankers in those instances and others, buildings might burn out of control.

Among participating fire companies and departments were, in alphabetic order, Gilbertsville, Limerick, New Hanover, Ringing Hill, Sanatoga, Upper Frederick, Upper Pottsgrove, and West End of Stowe.

Fire Crews, Tanker Force Gathered Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

Crews pumped water from a nearby creek and lake into waiting tanker trucks, then quickly but safely drove it about two miles to several 3,000-gallon temporary holding tanks (at top and above) set up behind the Liberty Thrift store on East High Street.

Fire Crews, Tanker Force Gathered Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

Water was then pumped again, either through lengthy hose lines (above) to other firefighters who practiced aiming high-pressure streams at imaginary fire targets (below), or to other tanker trucks. Their drivers waited patiently to make a return run that would empty the trucks at the natural water sources, Sanatoga Lake on South Sanatoga Road, and Sanatoga Creek at East High Street and North Sanatoga Road.

Fire Crews, Tanker Force Gathered Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

The work was not without its hiccups, according to organizers, but to them finding the glitches was important so they could determine how things might operate more smoothly when it counted most, in a real emergency.

The fire companies’ turnout also attracted public attention. Parents of families who lived nearby brought their children out to watch firefighters work from a safe distance. Drivers in cars on East High Street occasionally stopped to ask what the commotion was about.

Fire Crews, Tanker Force Gathered Thursday in Sanatoga Drill

Photos by The Post