In a survey on the aspects of the MARK-3® pump that needed improvement, ease of start was the second most requested improvement after weight reduction. Many firefighters expressed trouble starting a MARK-3® with one arm, either due to a lack of strength or fatigue. To compensate, some firefighters stand on the base to hold the pump down. But, because there’s little space on the base to stand on, this presents a risk of injury from muffler burns. Failing to start a MARK-3® pump in the field can be a source of wounded pride. Some respondents reported anxiety when starting the pump for fear of looking weak or unqualified.

Given this feedback, our team set out to improve this aspect of the MARK-3® pump by significantly reducing the force required to pull-start the MARK-3® Watson Edition.
The addition of a foothold for steady pull-start—positioned away from the muffler—improves stability while ensuring firefighter safety.

Firefighters who had the chance to pull-start the MARK-3® Watson Edition during the tour were delighted by how easy it was. In order to quantify exactly how much easier it was to start, our engineering team put together a formal test plan.

Results demonstrated that the MARK-3® Watson Edition required 40% less force than its predecessor and generated 3 times the rotation speed, resulting in a much easier pull-start. Below are the results of the test.

Results & Observations

The pulls on both pump units were completed following the same procedure with the test setup shown in the photograph to the right.

The pull force, rotation speed and total number of revolutions completed were compiled and listed in the tables below.