Water tanks for fire protection – some guidelines

In emergency fire fighting scenarios, the demand for water can exceed the supply available from the domestic water supply system. This is especially true for suburban or rural areas served by boreholes with limited and slow delivery capability (or malfunctioning municipal supply systems) and water tanks are an ideal solution for storing water for this purpose.

water tanks for fire fighting
Buildings like airfields, airports, schools, universities, hospitals, prisons, police stations, office buildings, data centres, and other institutional and commercial facilities need a reliable and redundant water supply – water tanks should be installed.

Consideration should be given to the type of water tank and its positioning.  Steel water tanks are more fire-resistant than plastic tanks and fibreglass tanks but their expensive and weight make steel water tanks less applicable to many situations in South Africa.  Polyethylene water tanks offer ease of installation and cost-effectiveness but must be protected from fire by positioning the water tanks in an area that has been cleared of vegetation and other flammable materials (i.e. a wide fire-break should be made around the tanks).

The water tanks can be fitted with pumps but ideally, gravity should be employed as fires may cause electrical shorts and outages.  This can accomplished by installing the water tanks on high water tank stands.  Steel water tank stands are also fire-resistant and tanks that are elevated 6 metres or higher will be protected from flames to a certain extent.

The capacity of the water tanks will depend on the size of the buildings/property that needs to be covered in the event of a fire.  A series of 10000 litre water tanks would usually be recommended, perhaps in two different locations.  Water from boreholes or other water supplies can be used to fill the water tanks but it is important to maintain the water tanks at full levels at all times.

Water tanks elevated from 6m to 9m will provide pressure for water bowsers to fill up with water beneath the tanks.  Any piping and fittings should be made from metal to prevent heat from interrupting water flow from the tanks.

As an alternative to installing water tanks up on tank stands, underground water tanks could be considered.  Being underground, these water tanks will be very well protected from fires.  A disadvantage is that some sort of pump (either at the tanks or using pumps mounted on water tankers) will need to be installed and in the event of a power outage, a back-up generator should be available for emergencies.  A series of underground water tanks placed at strategic points around a property would be advised.  A cost-effective, high quality underground water tank available in South Africa is JoJo Tanks’ 6000 litre underground water tank.

horizontal water tank

A small mobile fire-fighting tanker made with a horizontal tank

Fire-fighting water tankers can also be fitted with rugged poly horizontal/transporter tanks; in South Africa, JoJo Tanks’ 5000 litre and 5500 litre horizontal tanks are popular for water tankers.

Click on the links below to view the wide range of JoJo water tanks for all sorts of purposes, as well as chemical tanks, horizontal tanks, septic tanks, underground tanks, silo tanks, tank stands and other high quality JoJo Tanks products.

JoJo Tanks South Africa offer a wide range of products such as plastic water tanks and chemical tanks to suit every household, business or agricultural need, including silo tanks and silo tank stands as well as other high quality JoJo Tanks products.  See JoJo Tanks’ VERTICAL TANKS, HORIZONTAL TANKS (transporter tanks), STEEL TANK STANDS and OTHER JOJO PRODUCTS and see JoJo Tanks’ NEW 6000 LITRE UNDERGROUND TANKS. Also see our FAQ and WATER TANK PRICES.

JoJo’s superior polyethylene plastic water tanks and steel water tank stands make JoJo Tanks the leaders in plastic water tank technology and the quality, affordability and 5-year guarantee on these water tanks make JoJo products one of the best choices in South Africa.  *All JoJo Tanks polyethylene tanks and products now carry a 8 year warranty (on tanks purchased on or after 1 July 2013)*  JoJo’s water tanks and chemical tanks come standard with a number of features that are often lacking on cheaper/inferior plastic tanks made by other companies in South Africa.

We are authorised JoJo Tanks dealers in South Africa and dispatch orders directly from JoJo Tank depots to save on transport costs. Full range of JoJo Tanks products and JoJo water tanks for sale.  CONTACT US for a quote on the right JoJo water tank or other JoJo product for you.  Special discounts are available on multiple orders of chemical tanks and water tanks and to our commercial and government customers. We can usually delivery tanks and tank stands free of charge to business/commercial addresses in South Africa.


(15000 litre and 20000 litre JoJo vertical water tanks & chemical tanks are available on order directly from JoJo Tanks’ main factory)

Live in the USA and need rainwater harvesting equipment?  Click HERE!

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