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Professional equipment for wildland firefighters

Setting up the Black Hawk 4 portable wildland fire pump

A step by step guide on how to set up and start operating with the BH4 wildland portable fire pump

Mastering the art of choosing the right equipment for your fire suppression operations is essential, but knowing how to set up and entertain your machinery and gears is equally important. 

Last week we presented the Black Line Series, a new range of portable fire pumps, new addition of the vft pumps family. All of the portable pumps listed are made and designed using the latest technological advances, innovations, and materials, which are certified to meet or exceed EN Standards. 

Included in this first release, our Black Hawk 4 portable fire pump, equipped with a 4-stage centrifugal pump that can be combined with 3 different 4-stroke engines, offering the best weight / power ratio (up to 28.8 bar and up to 397 l/min). A rugged, reliable, powerful and easy to use portable fire pump, made out of the higest components to ensure long lasting life span.

Keep reading this step by step guide on how to start operating with the BH4, and get the most out of your equipment. Follow our tips and learn how to avoid any cavitation or damage on the pump.


First steps, considerations before starting the engine

  • Look for a stable water source, this will prevent air from entering the pump 
  • Place the fire pump on a level point close to water
  • Immerse the suction hose at a minimum depth of 20 cm (8 inches) to avoid any possible cavitation


Priming the pump

  • Tight on the suction hose to the pump and prime it (you can either agitate the foot valve fo the suction hose or use a hand primer)
  • If you do use a hand primer, we strongly recommend to tighten it up with a wrench (otherwise the pump might not prime properly)
  • When priming with a hand primer, you will know the pump is primed once you see water coming out of the spout on the primer
  • Once your pump is primed, you can connect your water hose


Fuel filling: how to proceed, tips and precautions

  • Remind to keep your fuel away from the muffler
  • Make sure that the engine is off before adding fuel
  • Connect your fuel line to you jerry can and start priming. Once you see some fuel coming out at the end, you can connect the fuel line to the pump, and gently start squeezing the primer bulb again
  • Keep an eye on your fuel line to avoid flooding the engine


Use 86 octane gasoline (naphtha) or higher octane gasoline. No oil is required in the fuel.


Ready to start the engine?

Instructions for a cold start of the engine:

  • Place the starter switch in the open position. Close it once you have started the engine
  • Place the gas cam in a 1/4 position 
  • Place the electrical contact switch in the "ON" position.
  • Pull the retractail rope gently until you feel resistance, then pull it hard
  • Let the engine warm up for a few minutes before increasing speed


If you do a hot start of the engine, follow the same instructions but keep the starter closed.


We produced a video to show you how to start operating with the Black Hawk 4 portable fire pump. Watch it here: