I wonder how many times our hose gets handled in its lifetime. On some of our trucks it may not move very much. On others it is unloaded and loaded on every call. I know we could get into a long conversation of what loads are the most effective. We could spend hours debating what size and brand delivers the most flow with the least effort. I’ve seen hose with reflective arrows on the couplings to show the way out. I’m certainly not against any of these conversations and love a good debate however, the key to getting the wet stuff on the red stuff is stretching the line efficiently.
Having to stop and untangle hose isn’t good no matter what system you are using. To effectively accomplish this goal takes preparation. The hose needs to be inspected for defects prior to loading. This includes the couplings and gaskets. They should be pliable and the connections clean and easy to spin. When loading the hose, place the flat in the same plain so they lay flat together (or on edge) if that is the load your department chooses. Be certain the water and air are out of the hose to prevent it from becoming a loose/bouncy load. Take the time to be a craftsman when loading. Be certain the folds match on the ends. Be certain no coupling must change direction to come off the truck. Use a dutchman to ensure this.
For large diameter hose, use a hose roller and keep the ends fold over until on the truck to prevent air from entering the line. The more air there is, the less hose you can load efficiently. You can test the load to see if it is too tight by seeing if you can insert your hand between the layers.
Upon completion, the department should be able to…
• Identify types and sizes of hose your department uses.
• Discuss typical hose loads your department uses.
• Demonstrate the ability to inspect your hose.
• Demonstrate the ability to load the hose.
Scott Meinecke is a member of the Sheldon Volunteer Fire Department, Director of Safety for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, and field staff for the Fire Service Training Bureau. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com