Though there are services out there that will test the hose your rig carries and document it for you, if your department has the time, going through the hose testing process is a good way to review some pump operations with your engineers as well as have your crew learn what goes into maintaining your attack lines so they don’t fail when you need them most. By following this week’s drill, you’ll be able to conduct an annual hose test in accordance with NFPA standards.
You’ll need a clipboard, chalk, marking pencil, test valve or gate valve, and tags for defective hose. You’ll also need a setup checklist. Howard A. Chatterton supplies one in his Volunteer Training Drills – A Week of Weekly Drills. Referencing NFPA 1962, Care, Use, and Service Testing of Fire Hose, Including Couplings and Nozzles will help you develop your own checklist if you so choose.
To prepare for the drill, review the test description in IFSTA’s Essentials of Firefighting, paying close attention to the safety requirements to secure the hose, to use a test valve or gated valve to control discharge during the high-pressure phase of the test, and to maintain safety zones during the test.
To run the drill, follow Chatterton’s checklist or your own. By conducting the drill, you’ll ensure that your various hoselines are in good condition. You should perform these tests annually. Remember that any time you receive a new length of hose, it is good practice to test it prior to placing it in service. You can use some of the steps in this drill to perform these tests.
At the drill’s conclusion, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what should be done differently next time.
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For more information on this drill, including a list of references and figures (if available), visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.