Networking for the Common Good of Fire and EMS

 By:  Robert Avsec

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As some of you may know, in addition to running this “shop” I also am a regular contributor of on-line content for FireRescue1.com where I write on just about any topic that my editor sends to me each month (Thank you, Rick Markley!).  Not infrequently I receive e-mail messages from someone who’s read one of my articles and liked it and wrote to say so—or tell me something that I forgot! (The latter doesn’t happen t-o-o often, right Rick?).

So today I received the following message from one of our readers and after responding back—with the same information I’m about to share with you—I thought, “There are probably some other folks out there who could benefit from this as well.” (That’s how us bloggers think!).  So here goes…

Dear Chief Avsec,

I found your article LDH: Get big water to big fire

Knowing how to use and care for large-diameter hose is critical for effective fire ground operations.  I need some advice from a sage like yourself on the LDH.

I was a professional FF and retired after 25 years from Va. Beach, Virginia.  I have been out of the fire service for 10 years and recently re-joined to help the local department.  This is a small town in Utah and the hydrants are supplied by a 6” main.  We have 6 volunteers who have no experience.

They were given 4” hose from a California Department.  The hose was put into service in California in 1999.  When I did hose testing half the hose had pin holes in them and huge bubbles.  Since we did not have enough 4” hose left I removed it from the truck and put on 1,000 feet of 3” instead.  There is only one 3” intake on the truck so I could not do double lays of 3” hose if I wanted to.  (Double lays = the way we did it in the 70’s, 80’s 90’s before LDH).

So my question to you is.

  1. Are the pin holes…and the large bubbles for sure a reason to take it out of service? (I am assuming yes)
  2. How long does LDH last? No time limit just pass test?
  3. To keep the price down (small town FD) should I purchase new 4” and couple the old hose that passed the test, as I don’t feel comfortable with only 3” hose as my only supply line.
  4. Or should I purchase 5” or 6” instead?

Of course I could purchase an adapter for the 4 1/2” intake to a 2 1/2 to connect another 3” hose for supply line. But would still have to purchase 700 feet of 3” to lay double lines to Engine.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

[Name withheld for privacy concerns]

Here’s what I told the Chief in my response:

Don’t know that I’m necessarily a “sage”, but thank you for the compliment 🙂

Here’s what I can offer you in the way of technical information sources and my opinions.

Your questions to me:

  1. Are the pin holes…and the large bubbles for sure a reason to take it out of service? (I am assuming yes)
  2. How long does LDH last? No time limit just pass test?

One can never go wrong by starting with “what the standard says”.  This is the applicable NFPA standard for all things hose:

National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 1962: Standard for the Inspection, Care, and Use of Fire Hose, Couplings, and Nozzles and the Service Testing of Fire Hose, Chapter 4.7 Cleaning and Drying. 2013 Edition. Available in Read-Only format on-line:  http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-pages?mode=code&code=1962

The next website is a great resource for practical hose care and maintenance questions and answers (It’s one that I consulted when writing the article you read).

North American Fire Hose Corporation. Fire Hose Care, Handling & Maintenance. http://nafhc.com/care

 These are some other articles that I’ve written for FireRescue1.com dealing with fire hose that you might find useful, particularly the one on hose rollers (given you limited number of people):

Keys to Hose Care

Video: 5 Great Ways to Load Hose

Hose Rollers and What They Offer

Your next set of questions:

  1. To keep the price down (small town FD) should I purchase new 4” and couple the old hose that passed the test, as I don’t feel comfortable with only 3” hose as my only supply line.
  2. Or should I purchase 5” or 6” instead?

Of course I could purchase an adapter for the 4 1/2” intake to a 2 1/2 to connect another 3” hose for supply line. But would still have to purchase 700 feet of  3” to lay double lines to Engine.

Here are my thoughts on the subject—which I think go beyond your questions about hose and hose sizes:

Firefighter pulling hoseI would like to see more departments that spec their apparatus and equipment based on what they need to accomplish from that apparatus tactically, e.g., what hose to carry, how much water and what size pump.  I remember reading several times over my career where NFPA states that approximately 90 percent of structural fires are extinguished with 100 gallons of water or less.  Don’t know how accurate that statement is, but I do know from anecdotal experience that we always seemed to drain more water from fire hose before repacking it than we used to extinguish the fire in most cases.

Align your community’s fire risk with the apparatus and equipment—including hose—that you spec.  What FD doesPurchase apparatus and equipment that provides the capabilities that your department needs to handle the “90 percentile” of calls you handle annually, not the “10 percent” that happen maybe once every ten years.  (We still spec fire apparatus primarily as a “fire truck” when 70 percent or more of a department’s calls are for EMS and other non-fire emergencies).

I’m a 100% supporter and advocate for Compressed Air Foam Systems (Retired Chief Alan Brunacini of the Phoenix Fire Department–and one of my fire service role models for sure–believes that all new pumping fire apparatus should come with CAFS standard).  I think when you read the following article, you will be as well.  CAFS is technology that can help you and your department to maximize your available water resources, put out fires more quickly with less overhaul, and keep your people from “taking a beating”.

See:  A Case for CAFS: 5 Ways it can Help You

???????????????????????????????If I were you, I’d spend my limited money on equipment to put CAFS into my firefighting arsenal instead of buying LDH; the 6” water mains in your town really don’t justify the use of LDH.  I think that maintaining your 3” supply line cache and combining it with CAFS will give your department plenty of tactical firefighting capability.

I hope that you find the above helpful.  Please let me know where you “go” with all this!

Best wishes,

Robert

Robert P. Avsec

Battalion Chief (Ret.), Chesterfield Fire & EMS

Chief Content Creator

Talking “Shop” 4 Fire and EMS

571.377.9141

RobertAvsec@fireemsleaderpro.com

So, what would you have told the Chief?

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, rpa1157@gmail.com.