Where does the name WATERAX come from?

The origin of the company being the Watson Jack & Co. which was founded in 1898 by Montreal native John Colquhoun Watson Jack, in 1925 introduced a powerful 200 psi portable fire pump called the WAJAX (an acronym of Watson Jack’s name). After Watson Jack & Co. and its F.H. Hopkins subsidiary were acquired by B.J. Coghlin & Co. Ltd. in 1954, the operations of the two newly acquired businesses were merged to form a single subsidiary. This subsidiary was titled Watson Jack Hopkins Ltd. until 1959 when it was renamed Wajax Equipment Ltd.

The WATERAX brand name and trademark was introduced in 2010 as the series’ name for our portable high-pressure fire pumps. Today, the WATERAX brand captures the powerful meaning and essence of the historical names Watson & Jack Co., Wajax and Wildfire. WATERAX is truly going back to its roots by doing what its ancestors did really well and aligning ourselves with the original purpose of the company. This new brand identity better communicates the core nature of our manufacturing activities and our distinctive portable pump products brand.

We also made slight changes to the visuals accompanying the WATERAX logo. For example we replaced the flames in the red “W” with a wave symbol, to better reflect our “WE MOVE WATER” tag-line. It’s the same great service you’re accustomed to under a new name!

Who are the people behind WATERAX?

The three John Molson School of Business EMBA students, Raffaele Gerbasi, Marcello Iacovella and Frédéric Lefrançois, met in 2006 and are now at the head of WATERAX, a fire pump manufacturing company they snapped up from Tyco in a management buy-out in 2010. One of the fundamental reasons the three partners are now together are good core values and shared beliefs, they were very ambitious people who liked to work hard and play hard.

Iacovella is a WATERAX veteran. He joined the outfit in 1995, the year Montreal-based WAJAX sold its North American fire-control business to newly formed Wildfire Fire Equipment. Today, he is VP of Sales & Business Development of WATERAX, which has operations across Canada and in the U.S. Iacovella, Lefrançois, who left game giant Ubisoft to join WATERAX and Gerbasi, who has a pedigree of beefing up technology companies, began targeting companies to acquire. In 2009, Marcello called Raffaele and said WATERAX was on the block and asked him if he would be interested in looking at this together. He was. By then Gerbasi and Lefrançois had intimate knowledge of WATERAX — Iacovella had frequently made it a focus of his case studies.

The three EMBA graduates grasped the concept of the business model, customer base and different obstacles the company faced and always said what a waste of talent it would be not to get together and form a company one day.

They have not looked back since and this has sealed their friendship, partnership and fate.

Check out our team

Why choose WATERAX fire pumps?

WATERAX is a centennial company established in Montreal since 1898. We pioneered the wildland fire control industry under the name WAJAX by designing and manufacturing high-pressure fire pumps since the 1920s. Introduced in 1964, our MARK-3® has become the standard wildland portable high-pressure fire pumps used by initial attack crews and adopted by forest agencies around the world.

We design and manufacture high-pressure centrifugal pumps that are ideal to move water over long distances and to reach high elevation. Our high-pressure pumps have been time-tested and are trusted by firefighters to perform under the most extreme conditions.

Since the 1920s our commitment is to help firefighters use nature’s most powerful force to protect our forests and our communities with the most trusted high-pressure fire pumps.

Product training

Do you offer product training?

To have more information on product training, please contact our team at info@waterax.com

Do you offer product orientation sessions?

To have more information on product orientation sessions, please contact our team at info@waterax.com

Who should I contact for technical support?

You can contact our technical team at techsupport@waterax.com

Where can I find product demos and videos?

You can find product demos and videos on our YouTube Channel or on our teaching videos page.


What is the typical delivery time for WATERAX fire pumps?

We constantly strive to maintain an extensive inventory to service your needs. In most cases, WATERAX fire pumps can be shipped from the factory within one to two weeks. Every effort will be made to ship in a timely manner, however, delivery schedules are approximate.

What happens if my pump is damaged during shipping?

Any shortage, damage or error in shipment should be reported to WATERAX immediatly upon receipt of good and at the latest within 10 days after delivery. All packages should be carefully inspected for visible damage prior to acceptance from the carrier and delivery refused or damage noted when signing for receipt of packages.

What is your return policy?

Please contact our customer service department with full details concerning the return of any goods and the issuance of a Return Goods Authorization number (RGA). Material returned for reasons other than defective replacement will carry a handling and restocking charge as per our Terms & Conditions.


What is a multi-stage centrifugal pump?

A multi-stage centrifugal pump is a pump containing more than one impeller on a common shaft and within one pump casing. The water is routed from the discharge of one impeller to the intake of the other one, thus increasing the generated pressure. Multi-stage pumps are generally more efficient than single stage centrifugal pumps by producing greater pressure at lower speeds.

What kind of pumps does WATERAX offer?

WATERAX has designed and manufactured high-pressure fire pumps since the 1920s. WATERAX offers a complete portfolio of high-pressure portable and vehicle mount centrifugal fire pumps that are powered by 2-stroke, 4-stroke and diesel engines.

Why are high-pressure centrifugal pumps used to fight wildland fires?

Higher pressure pumps are required by wildland fire fighters for a number of reasons:

First, the greater pressure helps to overcome distance and elevation. It allows for longer hose lays for attacking remote and hard to reach areas.

Second, it provides better safety and fire control for the fire fighter by providing higher and longer reach of the nozzle stream, and the greater pressures also provides for better penetration in thick brush and ground debris.


Why is the MARK-3® powered by a 2-stroke engine?

Where fires are in remote areas such as wildland forest fires, the unmatched power-to-weight ratio of a two-stroke engine provides for a powerful yet lighter and more compact unit for carrying. This is critical for quick response, quick relocation, and quick movement of the unit without slowing down or tiring a fire fighter.

What kind of oil do you recommend using with your 2-stroke powered MARK-3® and what is the recommended fuel-mix ratio?

The recommended oil to use with your WATERAX MARK-3® pumping unit is any API-TC, JASO FD, ISO-L-EGD certified two-cycle oil. The optimum fuel mix ratio is 50:1. This new fuel mixture reduces carbon deposits in the exhaust port extending the service life of the MARK-3®. The 50:1 fuel ratio was found to work well with the older versions of the MARK-3® as well.

Why does WATERAX use a detachable pump end?

Fire personnel cannot afford to have a pump down or out of service for a couple of days let alone 2 to 4 weeks for a replacement pump part. While the WATERAX pumps are highly reliable, there are always some unforeseen instances where a pump may require service. This can be detrimental in the midst of a fire. The detachable pump end allows for the pump to be swapped out in seconds, enabling the operator to be back up and running in no time. It also allows for the pump needing service to be put aside and serviced at a convenient time without taking essential fire apparatus out of service for an indefinite period of time.

Why are some WATERAX pumps like the BB-4®, B2X, & STRIKER equipped with a drive belt system while some other brands use a gearbox?

A fire fighter has large amount of equipment he/she must maintain and service. WATERAX lessens this demand on fire personnel by providing a drive belt system that unlike a gearbox requires no maintenance, generates less heat, and is designed to last the service life of the pump. An added fact is that it is also quieter than a gearbox providing less background noise when communications need to be heard.

Can I pump salty water with my pump?

WATERAX anodizes its aluminum pump components. This provides a protective barrier on the aluminum surface making it resistant to corrosion. This allows salt water to be used in the pump. However, because salt water is highly corrosive to most materials, to extend the service life of the pump, salt water should not be left in the pump after use or between the pumps use. The pump should be flushed with fresh water for at least 5 minutes after salt water has been run through the pump.

Why are WATERAX pumps components made of anodized aluminum while others are made of bronze?

Pump parts of unlike metals can attack each other when exposed to water. This process is called Galvanic corrosion. One metal (called the sacrificial metal) will corrode at the expense of another material less like it. The further the metals are from each other on a galvanic corrosion chart the greater the corrosion of the sacrificial material. Bronze and brass are far from aluminum in the chart. Unfortunately, the aluminum becomes the sacrificial metal. The large bronze impeller will pull electrons from the aluminum pump components and degrade them over time. WATERAX uses aluminum impellers to significantly reduce this effect inside the pump and offering longer service life for the pumps aluminum components.

How should I store my pump?

If a pump/engine unit, it should always be stored in an upright position. For short storage time frames (up to 3 months) a fuel stabilizer should be added to the engines fuel and spray a light coat of WD40 inside the pump intake and in any ports on the pump. If the pump will be stored in a region where it may freeze, a biodegradable anti-freeze such as Amsoil Low-Toxicity Antifreeze and Engine Coolant should be poured through the pump and added to the engines radiator, if equipped, to the manufactures specified water to coolant ratio. If storage is to be longer than 3 months, then the engine should be run completely out of fuel before storing and spray the inside of the pump with a long term corrosion inhibitor such as WD-40 Long-Term Corrosion Inhibitor.

If a pump end only, the inside of the pump should be lightly sprayed with WD-40 Long-Term corrosion inhibitor and stored with the pump inlet down. Do not get the inhibitor on the pump mechanical seal.

VERSAX Cart System

What do you use as a water source?

You can use a lake, a creek, a pond, a private pool, a portable water tank… If you don’t have a water source near you, there is also a unit (RANCHERTM) that has a 65 or 125 gallons tank equipped with a lightweight fire pump.

What if you have no pool, pond, etc ?

Then you need a RANCHERTM with a 65 gallons or 125 gallons tank equipped with a lightweight fire pump.

That won't do anything once the trees are torching. Best bet is to have it set up to sprinkler system preset up.

Yes! More and more fire chiefs are pushing to make sprinklers a requirement. A lot of people will also set up this fire pump to a sprinkler system and leave it running before evacuating.

Why not just have trees cut down far enough away from your home so you don't have to worry about a forest fire destroying your house?

Yes, you should always start and prepare your home and property in the WUI according to the fire prevention information found at sources such as NFPA’s Firewise® Communities website or FireSmart Canada.

Is it safe?

You shouldn’t place yourself in a situation that seems dangerous or life threatening. In the case of a wildfire, the effectiveness of the VERSAX® fire pump lies in its ability to wet the perimeter of a property (using nozzle or sprinkler heads) to avoid flying embers from igniting the structure. It is a pro-active measure rather than equipment designed to fight the fire directly.

This equipment is suitable for rapid interventions were you can control a small fire on a property or private land before the firefighters get there.

Always prepare your home and property in the WUI according to the fire prevention information found at sources such as NFPA’s Firewise® Communities website, or FireSmart Canada and evacuate as soon as authorities (or common sense) tells residents that they need to get out. Structure Protection Equipment (SPU) is a value-added tool to all the Firewise® and FireSmart measures.

Why should I own a portable fire cart system?

Having a fire pump accessible at all time, for high risk and high value residential properties, means you are ready and equipped. Protect your defensible space and reduce the chances of the fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding forest. Looking after your defensible space gives your property a fighting chance against an approaching wildfire before the firefighters arrive. While we do not encourage you to fight a raging wildfire on your own, you can make a difference with the right plan and the appropriate equipment.

What else can I do with with the VERSAX?

The VERSAX® is a multipurpose fire pump that can also be used for other applications such as rapid interventions, tank filling, water transfers and as ATV slip-on units. This portable pump can easily be used on farms, private properties and construction sites for emergency protection against a fire.

Value-added partners

Where can I find a list of all WATERAX partners?

In the Find a Dealer page. Coming soon…

Do you have any authorized service centers?

Check out the Authorized service centers locator page. Coming soon…

How can I become a WATERAX partner?

Take a look at the Become a partner page.

Need More Information?

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A product is only as good as the service behind it. At WATERAX, we back up our quality products with steadfast service. Trust us to be there when you need us.

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