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Professional equipment for wildland firefighters

Setting up the Black Panther 4 portable wildland fire pump

A step by step guide on how to set up and start operating with the BP4 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 Panther 4 portable fire pump, one of the lightest and most powerful on the market (equipped with a 4-stage foam compatible centrifugal pump and a 125cc 2-stroke engine, a combination that provides a performance of up to 26,5 bar and a maximum flow of up to 380 l/min). A  rugged, light, 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 BP4, 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
  • Next you want to 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

It is important to keep in mind that the 2-stroke engine requires an oil / gasoline mixture. You should use only 98 octane unleaded gasoline bought at a gas station, and add 2% of good quality synthetic oil (the oil should be mixed with the gasoline in the jerry can, it should never be poured direct into the engine, and the mixture should only be done when we are going to use it). Never leave gasoline in containers for long time because its quality will suffer. 


*Only for American customers. The European range of octane is different from American:
For example. EU 95 octane = US 91 octane / EU 98 octane = EU 93 octane
For THOR engines you have to use a gasoline of high octane (not less than US 91)


Ready to start the engine?

  • Put the button in the start position "ON"
  • Open the starter
  • Pull the starter lever slowly until you feel resistance, then pull briskly and quickly upward.
  • Do not let go of the starter lever suddenly. Hold and guide the lever until it returns to its rest position
  • Move the throttle lever to a low forward position
  • Pull the retractail rope until the engine starts
  • Keep the engine idling for at least 1 min until it warms up
  • Close the starter 


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