Five Things to Know About Drop Tank Drain Sleeves

rapid release on a portable water storage tank, jumbo drain sleeve for quick dump firefighting

Joel Wright, CEO at FOL-DA-TANK discusses five key features of drain sleeves

FOL-DA-TANK first made the portable drop tank in 1954 and recently they’ve become more common outside of the United States as rural firefighters recognize the usefulness of the tool. The first folding frame drop tank was modeled after the FOL-DA-TANK founder’s infant daughter’s Playpen, and it revolutionized rural water supply. 

Modern drop tanks are made with a folding metal frame and a flexible fabric liner that is watertight. But what about getting leftover water out of the tank? The drain sleeve was the answer. Important features of a drain sleeve include:

1.      Cannot leak when the tank is full.  The drain sleeve is held in place so the discharge is above the water level when the tank is full. It is usually fixed to, or tied over, the top rail. 

2.      Easy to fix in place and then release when the leftover water is to be drained.  The newest innovation in this area is a low-profile integrated clamp and lever mechanism called the rapid release.  

3.      Allows water to drain in a reasonable time. The standard drain sleeve releases about 300 gallons per minute (gpm) (1350  lpm) whereas the jumbo drain releases about 1,800 gpm  (8200 lpm). The most popular size tank is 2,100 gallons (7500 liters) which takes 3.5 minutes to drain with two standard sleeves or a little over 1 minute to drain with a jumbo drain. Being able to drain quickly is important for maneuverability in the field.

4.      Is wear resistant and durable to last the life of the liner.  Standard liners and drain sleeves are made from 22oz PVC vinyl or HPR®, which is more flexible in cold temperatures. Heavier vinyl such as 28oz is more abrasion resistant than 22oz and can be specified if the intended use requires extreme durability.

5.      Can be located even in the dark.  When fire scenes are dark, the hi-viz drain sleeve is easy to locate because it’s made from vinyl or HPR® of a contrasting color to the liner.

Drain sleeves are a simple and elegant solution to getting leftover water out of drop tanks. Feedback from real-world use has helped FOL-DA-TANK improve the simple drain sleeve since its first use in 1954.

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