Haines Fire & Risk Consulting

HFRC wants to make the Hytrans system a predominant method of moving water.

When it comes to fighting fires, you need equipment that you can rely on. Haines Fire & Risk Consulting (HFRC) makes sure that clients have the equipment that they can count on in an emergency, President Stephen Haines says. “We’re not just selling anybody’s pumps or hose appliances,” he declares.

A longtime veteran of the industry, Haines founded the Southampton, N.J.-based company in 2008. Today, HFRC provides fire protection consulting and emergency response planning to its clients in the oil, chemical, gas and power industries.

The company’s focus on the planning and design of fixed and mobile water supply systems led it to become a distributor of Hytrans Fire Systems. The system consists of flood, relay and special application pumps, foam proportioning, hoses, hose layers and containers, and appliances and fittings.

Haines encountered Hytrans’ system five years ago on a project for a refinery that required a large volume of water to be moved a half mile inland from the sea and over 100 feet up hill. “I’ve never seen anything with the high-pressure pumping capabilities that Hytrans was able to produce from a draft site,” he declares.

He also was impressed by how the system’s integrated submersible pumps eliminated drafting issues. “When I came back from that trip, I reached out to them to become a distributor,” Haines recalls, noting that HFRC has had a good relationship with Hytrans ever since.

“I like the way they work,” he says, explaining that its associates will provide precise, technical answers to questions, as opposed to guesswork. “You’re dealing with engineers and craftsmen versus salesmen. It’s very clear.”

Educating Users
The Hytrans mobile water supply system has been utilized worldwide since 1988, and the company has manufactured more than 1,000 pump units and 600 hose recovery units to date. Haines notes that the system has been applied to various uses, including dewatering and water transfer for mobile water management in mines and quarries, ship dewatering and salvage, flood control for levee protection, and the dewatering of buildings.

It’s also widely used for transporting disaster water supplies and firefighting water supplies for storage tank and process facility fires, rural structure fires and wildland fires. But even today, the remote operated, high-volume submersible water supply pump system is still relatively new to the North American market, he says.

“As a result, their capabilities and the potential benefits of the technology are not well understood,” Haines states. “HFRC is adapting to this by focusing on educating potential end users on how these systems operate, what their capabilities are and how they can be utilized in the field.”

The company also is helping fire departments understand how the technology can expand the quantity of viable water sources in their districts. According to Haines, this can improve ISO ratings, improve tanker shuttle flow rates and expand the reach of hose relay operations while reducing the number of personnel and apparatus that must be detailed away from the fire grounds.

HFRC is accomplishing this goal by spreading the word via the media. “We’re really starting to push forward into some of the publications and websites for the different industries to get the technology out there [so] more people understand what it can do for them,” he says.

The company also is working with Hytrans to expand the use of its hose deployment and recovery systems. These can significantly reduce the time required to deploy and retrieve long hose lays, particularly those utilizing very large diameter hoses, Haines says.

“[The reason] why you see folks shying away from really large diameter hoses is the issue of trying to pick it up,” he says.

The Hytrans Hose Recovery Unit (or HRU) resolves this as the machine takes on the muscle work with little to no assistance by personnel. In fact, one can pick up 3,000-plus feet of hose and have it ready for redeployment in about 40 to 45 minutes using an HRU. In reality, “It’s the people that drive the amount of time it takes to pick up the hose; it’s not really the machines.”

Although it previously was not considered practical to use long hose lays for small events such as house fires, that is changing, Haines asserts. “The equipment is catching up to where we can start doing these things,” he reports.

Above the Competition
HFRC has observed many U.S.-based competitors to the Hytrans line in the North American market. “However, all of these competitors are basically offering prototypes and beta test equipment for sale,” Haines says.

Most of its competitors, he explains, have only been designing their products for a few years and only produced and sold a few systems. Meanwhile, Hytrans offers significant depth in quality, capabilities and technical support.

Haines notes that this is based on 31 years of system design, production and continuous improvement involving applications located in a wide variety of industrial and emergency services applications, as well as extreme environments. “They’re literally everywhere from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the frozen tundra of Siberia,” he says.

Haines advises that there are really no industry awards handed out for this type of equipment. However, Hytrans’ years of experience in the worldwide market and the quantities of equipment it has deployed to date speaks volumes. “The Hytrans line has been recognized for its quality.”

Strong Support
Haines is proud of HFRC and how it has grown over the last 10 years from a one-man shop to a staff of 11 technicians, consultants and engineers. “We’ve got a really good team,” he says, adding that they are more than salespeople or sales engineers.

“All of HFRC’s consulting staff has years of experience in the engineering, design and deployment of mobile water supply and transfer systems,” he says. “As a result, we are much better qualified to design systems that will actually meet the end user’s needs and specifications.

“In short, our staff works from experience-based engineering and application practices (most of HFRC’s key staff members have firefighting backgrounds), not by quoting sales brochures as many of our competitors do,” Haines says, noting that its employees fully understand the science behind Hytrans equipment.

This can leave the client well assured that systems and equipment specified meet their needs and perform to specifications. Additionally, “HFRC can provide the technical support needed to utilize their systems to the fullest extent and apply them in difficult situations,” he says.

Branching Out
Haines sees a strong future for HFRC as it continues to spread awareness of Hytrans. Today, “It’s an unknown technology,” he says. “Once we get a couple more systems in play in the different industries in the United States, [it is] going to take off.”

“People know about submersible pumps, but they never thought about submersible pumps as an appliance for providing emergency water,” he continues. “As people get more comfortable with it, it’s going to become one of the more predominant methods of moving water (in lieu of drafting with vacuum primed pumps).”

HFRC also will grow its range of specialties. For example, “We’re really striving to expand our ability to do service on equipment especially on pump systems, hydraulic systems and firefighting foam systems,” he says, adding that the company has taken steps to expand in the past year.

It also has a patent pending on a new method for testing fire apparatus pumps, which it introduced in 2018. “The biggest advantage of that is we don’t have to draft,” Haines says. The system can be used anywhere with a suitable hydrant and away from environmentally sensitive areas like ponds and river banks. Also, “We only need very low water flow rates from a fire hydrant.”

When HFRC tested a 3,000 GPM pump, the water demand was only 300 gallons per minute. “It’s easier to set up and there’s less equipment involved, also the environmental impact is lower because you’re not drafting,” he says.

“If a piece of a vehicle has a problem (such as a coolant or oil leak), it’s not getting into a pond,” he says, noting that this gives HFRC’s clients more control. “The oil and gas industry is very environmentally driven, so that’s a big plus for us.”

Custom Quality
Based in Lemmer, the Netherlands, Hytrans Fire Systems started operations in 1988 and today employs a staff of 50 who custom build most of its equipment. “As a result, they have seen almost every practical application and are capable of customizing their equipment to the needs and environment of the customer,” Stephen Haines says.

Hytrans’ equipment can be quickly set up and disassembled, which is a benefit to HFRC’s clients, which not only includes the oil and gas industry, but also the power generation (particulary nuclear) and mining industries. “They’ve got a wide selection of submersible pumps that could be used in this [market].” Hytrans and their sister company produce submersible pumps used for most everything including emergency water supplies, ship dewatering and salvage, emergency sewage pumps and dredge pumps (such as those used in sand mines).