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Get everything you need to know about WATERAX pumps and water-handling accessories.
Our company (originally called Watson Jack & Co.) was founded in 1898 by Montreal native John Colquhoun Watson Jack, who, in 1925, introduced a powerful 200 PSI portable fire pump called the “WAJAX” (an acronym of his name). Through a number of acquisitions during the twentieth century, the company became known as Watson Jack Hopkins Ltd, WAJAX Equipment Ltd and Wildfire. 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 as we seek to honour our roots and align with the company’s original purpose. Our new brand identity communicates the core nature of our manufacturing activities and our distinctive, proven brand of portable pump products.
Raffaele Gerbasi, Marcello Iacovella and Frédéric Lefrançois met in 2006 when they were EMBA students at the John Molson School of Business. United by shared values, beliefs, and ambitions—as well as the same desire to work and play hard, the three purchased the company from Tyco in a management buy-out in 2010, and now lead WATERAX. Iacovella is a WATERAX veteran. Lefrançois left Ubisoft to join WATERAX. Gerbasi has extensive experience in technology companies. As a team, they have not looked back since acquiring WATERAX, a move which sealed their friendship, partnership and fate.Check out our team
The origins of WATERAX date all the way back to 1898 in Montreal. We started designing and manufacturing high-pressure fire pumps in the 1920s and pioneered the wildland fire control industry under the name WAJAX. Introduced in 1964, our iconic MARK-3® series rapidly became the gold standard in portable high-pressure pumps for wildland fires. For more than 50 years, the MARK-3® has been championed by fire crews and adopted by forest agencies around the world!
WATERAX engineers and manufactures high-pressure centrifugal pumps that are designed to move water over long distances and take it to high points of elevation. Our pumps have been time-tested and are trusted by firefighters to perform under the most extreme conditions.
Since the 1920s our commitment is steadfast: to help firefighters use nature’s most powerful force in partnership with the most trusted high-pressure fire pumps to protect our forests and our communities.
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To best serve our clients’ needs, we constantly strive to maintain an extensive product inventory. In most cases, WATERAX fire pumps can be shipped from the factory within one to two weeks and we make every effort to ship in a timely manner. Please note however that delivery schedules can vary.
Any shortage, damage or error in shipment should be reported to WATERAX immediately upon receipt of goods 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.
Please contact our customer service department for full details concerning the return of any goods and the issuance of a return goods authorization (RGA) number. Material returned for reasons other than defective replacement will carry a handling and restocking charge as per our terms and conditions.
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 because they produce greater pressure at lower speeds.
WATERAX has designed and manufactured high-pressure fire pumps since the 1920s. WATERAX offers a complete portfolio of high-pressure portable and vehicle-mounted centrifugal fire pumps that are powered by 2-stroke, 4-stroke and diesel engines.
Higher-pressure pumps are required by wildland firefighters for a number of reasons:
First, the greater pressure helps move water over wider distances and points of elevation, allowing for longer hose lays able to service remote and hard-to-reach areas.
Second, they are safer and ensure better fire control for firefighters by providing higher and longer nozzle-stream reach. High pressure also provides better water penetration in thick brush and ground debris.
For fires in remote areas such as wildland forest, the unmatched power-to-weight ratio of a 2-stroke engine provides for a powerful yet lighter and more compact carrying unit. This is critical for quick response, relocation and agile movement.
The recommended oil for 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 and extends the service life of the MARK-3®. The 50:1 fuel ratio was also found to work well with the older versions of the MARK-3®.
Fire personnel cannot have a pump down or out of service for a couple of days, let alone for 2 to 4 weeks (the time it takes for a replacement part to arrive). While WATERAX pumps are highly reliable, there may always be unforeseen situations which necessitate pump maintenance. 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 means that the pump needing service can be set aside and serviced at a convenient time (without taking essential fire apparatus out of service for an indefinite period).
A firefighter has a large amount of equipment to maintain and service. WATERAX reduces this list 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. It’s also quieter than a gearbox—an important factor when communications need to be heard.
WATERAX anodizes its aluminum pump components. This creates a protective barrier on aluminum surfaces, making them resistant to corrosion and means that salt water can be used in the pump. However, because salt water is highly corrosive, to extend service life, salt water should not be left in the pump after use. The pump should be flushed with fresh water for at least 5 minutes after salt water has been run through it.
Pump parts made from different metals can attack each other when they’re exposed to water, causing one metal (the “sacrificial” metal”) to corrode. This process is called galvanic corrosion. The further the metals are from each other on the galvanic corrosion chart, the greater the corrosion of the sacrificial material. Bronze and brass are situated far from aluminum on the corrosion chart. When bronze or brass is combined with aluminum, aluminum becomes the sacrificial metal. For instance, a large bronze impeller will pull electrons from the aluminum components of the pump and cause them to corrode and degrade. WATERAX uses aluminum impellers to counter this effect and ensure that the pump’s aluminum parts last longer.
For a pump/engine unit: always store in an upright position. For short storage time frames (up to 3 months): add fuel stabilizer to the engine fuel and spray a light coat of WD-40 inside the pump intake and in any parts on the pump. If the pump will be stored in a region where it may freeze: a biodegradable antifreeze such as Amsoil low-toxicity antifreeze and engine coolant should be poured through the pump and added to the engine’s radiator, if equipped, to the manufacturer's specified water-to-coolant ratio. If storage is to be longer than 3 months: completely run the fuel out before storing and spray the inside of the pump with a long-term corrosion inhibitor such as WD-40 long-term corrosion inhibitor.
For a pump end (only): lightly spray the inside of the pump with WD-40 long-term corrosion inhibitor and store with the pump inlet down. Do not get the inhibitor on the pump mechanical seal.
VERSAX® Cart System
You can use a lake, creek, pond, private pool, or portable water tank. If you don’t have a water source close by, the RANCHER™ has a 65 or 125 gallon tank equipped with a lightweight fire pump.
Then you need a RANCHER™ with a 65 gallon or 125 gallon tank equipped with a lightweight fire pump.
You should never put yourself in a dangerous or life-threatening situation. In the context of wildfires, the VERSAX® fire pump wettens the perimeter of a property (using nozzle or sprinkler heads) which helps to prevent flying embers from igniting a fire. It is a preventive measure rather than being equipment specifically designed to fight fire head on. VERSAX® is suitable for rapid interventions which enable you to control a small fire on a property or private land before firefighters arrive. Always prepare your home and property in the wild-urban interface according to fire prevention information found at trusted sources such as the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise® Communities website, or FireSmart Canada. Evacuate as soon as authorities inform residents to do so or when it’s “common sense” to leave. Note that structure protection equipment is a value-added tool to all Firewise® and FireSmart measures.
Having a fire pump accessible at all times, for high-risk and high-value residential properties, means that you are ready and equipped. Protect your defensible space and reduce the chances of fire spreading to neighbouring homes or the surrounding forest. Being prepared 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.
The VERSAX® is a multipurpose fire pump that can also be used for rapid interventions, tank filling, water transfers and as an ATV slip-on unit. This portable pump is ideal for emergency protection against fire on farms, private properties and construction sites.
You can find all WATERAX partners listed on the Find a dealer page.