Supply and hose depot: quartermaster for the fire bureau
A YARDSTICK FOR IMPROVEMENT
Little-known division provides important functions for maintaining efficient operations
QUARTERMASTER of the Rochester Fire Bureau is the supply and hose depot located at fire headquarters. Commanding officer is a fire captain who is assisted by one lieutenant and seven firemen. Three of these men work the same tours as the line division, while all other members work nine hours per day Monday through Friday.
The primary responsibility of this division is the cleaning, drying, testing and disbursement of fire hose.
Rochester employs double-jacketed cotton hose purchased to its own specifications except for the 1-inch size, a high-pressure booster hose tested to 800 psi. In addition to the sizes listed in the table, each pumper carries two 10-foot lengths of 4 1/2-inch hard suction and one 10-foot length of 4 1/2-inch soft suction. Rocker lug couplings of the drop-forged type are employed with National Standard thread on all hose except 2 1/2-inch. All 2 1/2-inch couplings are cut to Rochester Standard which is 3-1/32 inches O.D. male by 7 threads per inch.
The fire bureau has been evaluating the advantages of 100 per cent Dacron hose for the past few years. Presently in use is 2,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch and 600 feet of 1 1/2-inch rubber-lined, double-jacketed hose of this type. The fire bureau has also replaced all cotton hose on aerial ladders with single-jacketed 100 per cent Dacron in 80foot lengths with lightweight 3-inch couplings.
All hose is washed and dried at the hose depot. If a fire company uses less than 10 lengths at a fire, it replaces the hose from the reserve storage at its quarters. The wet hose is then picked up by the depot truck and washed, dried and returned to the proper station. When a company uses more than 10 lengths, it brings the hose to the depot following the fire where it is replaced with dry hose. Occasionally hose is taken directly to the hose depot from the scene of a large fire by depot personnel. The machines used for washing and cleaning the hose were developed by members of the depot.
Hose is dried in a 75-foot tower with a capacity for 24,000 feet. In an extreme emergency the tower can be rigged to accommodate 42,000 feet at one time and heating fans expedite the drying. When hose is in the depot for routine servicing, all couplings are inspected, repaired and replaced when necessary. All hose is tested semiannually to 300 psi and defective hose is rarely found since none is kept in service over seven years.
A permanent inventory is maintained and when hose is over age it is turned over to other city bureaus for use. Such departments as the parks and playgrounds, sewer maintenance, ramp garages, etc., have a constant demand for this older hose. If, as seldom happens, the supply exceeds the demand, the discarded hose is sold to contractors for use on building projects.
All fire bureau apparatus carry self-contained breathing apparatus. Repair and maintenance of these masks, including recharging of cylinders is done at the hose depot. A three-stage series type, 3,500-pound capacity, air compressor, powered by a 10-hp electric motor is used for this purpose. Air is compressed to 2,400 psi, pumped into a water-cooled heat exchanger (or after cooler), and passed through a filter to remove moisture or any traces of oil. It is then channeled into a bank of twelve 244-cubic-foot cylinders.
From this reservoir the mask cylinders are charged to 1,980 psi and the cylinders are kept cool by a water spray while being filled. Aqua lungs for state and county police, as well as tanks for private industry are filled at the hose depot in an emergency. All cylinders are sent to the city chemist at regular intervals for determination of purity of contents and in addition, the cylinders are hydrostatically tested every five years.
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Hose Inventory—Rochester Fire Department
SUPPLY AND HOSE DEPOT
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Oxygen tanks and portable-pack cutting torch tanks used by the bureau are also refilled at the hose depot. Eight 244-cubic-foot oxygen cylinders are cascaded to accomplish this.
Each fire company carries one carbon dioxide and one dry powder extinguisher and two 175-pound dry ice converters are installed for the recharging of these extinguishers. All extinguisher cylinders are regularly inspected and tested and all valves, horns, hose and brackets are checked and repaired or replaced as required.
A fully equipped shop staffed by experienced craftsmen is located here to handle the many additional repairs necessary. These men operate drills, saws, a lathe and a heavy-duty sewing machine for repairing coats, and tarpaulins, as well as making covers for masks and other appliances such as generators, chain saws, portable lights, etc. An electrically driven hydraulic coupling ring expander is also located here and couplings from 3/4-inch to 6-inch can be installed.
The hose depot requisitions and issues all house cleaning and housekeeping supplies used in the fire bureau. These are purchased from the city warehouse and delivered to the various stations upon monthly requisition from the station commanders. Constant experimentation is necessary to insure that the proper materials are being purchased and used.
The city furnishes all fire fighting clothes to the fire fighters. Repair and replacement of these garments is also the responsibility of the supply and hose depot.
A central gasoline storage tank is located here with fuel for cars and trucks assigned to fire headquarters and fire alarm. During multiple alarms, the division responds with extra breathing apparatus cylinders, gasoline for generators, saws, portable pumps, etc. Cellar pumps are available upon call from the depot. In addition, the supply division dispatches a tank truck from the department of public works to furnish gasoline for pumpers at extra-alarm fires.
In order to do its part in fostering good public relations, the hose depot often assists commercial and industrial firms as well as Monroe County fire departments in the solution of their problems concerning hose or other fire fighting appliances. While a relatively obscure part of the fire bureau, the supply and hose depot is an important factor in maintaining over-all excellence.