Fire Department using a Portable Water Tank in South San Jose

A portable water tank is a temporary collapsible 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 5,000 US gallons (500 to 4,160 imp gal; 2,300 to 18,900 L) 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 (83 imp gal; 380 L) up to 80,000 US gallons (67,000 imp gal; 300,000 L).


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


  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.