Demonstrations That Explain Reasons for Hose Practices

Demonstrations That Explain Reasons for Hose Practices

The Volunteers Corner

Every once in a while it is worth the time to hold a drill on basic hose evolutions with demonstrations that show why the prescribed way is safer and easier.

You might start with stretching a booster line. The line should be at least 200 feet long and a 300-foot line is even better for this demonstration. The objective is to convince the participants in the drill that if the men on the line are at least 50 feet apart, the work will be much easier than when the men are bunched up at the nozzle.

If you can find a place where you can stretch the booster line up a grassy hillside, that is the ideal place for this demonstration. Use three men on the line and place them all on the lead length of hose. As they get almost all the hose off the reel, ask them to remember the amount of effort they are exerting.

Space men well apart: Repeat the evolution, but this time put the No. 2 man at the first coupling as it comes off the reel and have the No. 3 man grasp the second coupling—100 feet back of the nozzleman. As the nozzleman advances and more hose comes off the reel, have the line handlers ease back on the line so as to equalize the work load for all three men. Then ask them if the line advanced with less effort on their part. On somewhat difficult terrain—like a grassy hillside—the line will be stretched obviously faster as well.

Now try this as a one-man evolution. Let the man haul as much hose as he can off the reel and see how much effort he has to exert. Then have the same man pull hose off the reel until it begins to be a bit of an effort. At that moment, he must lay the nozzle on the ground, walk back to the reel, grasp the hose and stretch it to—or just beyond—the nozzle. This will usually lay out 300 feet of booster hose. If it doesn’t, then the nozzleman makes a second trip to the reel and repeats his previous action. After that, he advances the nozzle, either in one forward movement or by going back to move the rest of the hose forward piecemeal.

Point out that it is not necessary for a man to exhaust himself stretching hose. He should conserve his energy for fighting the fire.

Use with other sizes: This method of bringing loops of hose forward and advancing them in succession is used also for 1 1/2 and 2 1/2-inch hose when a company is shorthanded and carrying hose on your shoulder or dragging short loops over your arm is impractical.

Using 2 1/2-inch hose in this demonstration is quite convincing because a man finds that the 2 ½-inch hose that he can drag is limited to two or three lengths for practical work. Let him stretch six or eight lengths with the loop advancement system and see the difference in the amount of work he can do effectively.

From dry 1 ½ and 2 ½-inch lines, go to charged lines with large loops back of the nozzle. A straight drag will soon run out of steam, but if every time the nozzle is advanced a short distance the remaining loops are moved forward, the line will be fully advanced with minimum effort.

Open and closed nozzles: With plenty of looped 2 1/2-inch hose back of the nozzle, now have a three-man hose crew advance the line with the nozzle open. Remind them to sense the effort they put into the advancement. Then have them repeat the line advancement with the nozzle closed. They will then appreciate why you have trained them to shut nozzles on 2 1/2-inch lines before advancing a line—particularly inside a building.

If you have difficult training men to shut off a nozzle slowly, try this demonstration. Put a line gage in back of the nozzle. Close the nozzle very slowly and watch the gage needle. It will gradually climb to the pump pressure. Open the nozzle and this time shut it off a little faster. Let the men see how the needle goes beyond the pump pressure for a second. This surge of pressure can blow hose lines.

In doing this demonstration, I use 1 1/2inch hose because the pressure surge is just as dramatic as it is in 2 ½-inch hose but a possible burst hose is not as dangerous. By starting with a 50-psi nozzle pressure and 70 psi at the pump, shut the nozzle just fast enough to get a pressure surge of about 150 psi. So far I have never had a hose line burst. But I have convinced a good many fire fighters.

By brazing male and female couplings back to back and tapping a 1/4-inch pipe thread in one of the bowls, you can make a device for putting a line gage back of the nozzle.

Bending lines: Remember the old trick of making a vertical Z with a charged hose line and shutting off the water flow by having men compress the Z? Try this with a charged 1 1/2-inch line. A couple of men can do it with 1 ½-inch line with 120 to 140-psi pump pressure.

This emergency shutdown trick will never put hose clamp manufacturers out of business, but it will give you the opportunity to point out that when a hose crew pulls a hose around a door jamb or an external corner of a wall, they are effectively shutting down the water supply.

Demonstrations such as these can help men understand hose evolutions.

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