Techsmart: Hoseline Advances
Maintaining situational awareness on the fire ground is critical to firefighter safety.
September 10, 2013 By Olivia D’Orazio
Maintaining situational awareness on the fire ground is critical to firefighter safety. Losing that awareness can have fatal consequences, especially inside a structure fire; for example, not noticing that your water pressure is decreasing can put you in a bad situation – one that could easily have been prevented.
Many things can cause water pressure to drop to dangerous levels, such as a kink in the hoseline or a problem with the truck’s electronic pressure governor. While these unpredictable events can still happen, Akron Brass has developed a tool to mitigate the surprise factor.
The company’s HydroFX flow indicator fits on the top of the nozzle and alerts users if the water pressure is dropping or is at a dangerous level: a green light indicates optimal pressure, a yellow light describes water pressure below the desired flow and a red light indicates low pressure.
Departments can customize the indicator to their own standards, and the device can be retrofitted onto all one-and-a-half-inch or Mid-Range Assault nozzles.
“In terms of nozzle pressure, the indicator [for a nozzle firefighter] is usually the force of the water that we feel, or the stream quality or how far [the stream] reaches,” says Tim Lewellyn, a career firefighter for the Allegheny County Airport Authority in Pittsburgh, Penn., and a columnist for Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly.
“So a visual indicator like that is an interesting concept.”
However, he says that many firefighters may be wary of a product that removes the human component from
“I can see a lot of firefighters . . . saying that, with proper training, the pump operator can make sure there’s proper pressure so that the nozzle firefighter doesn’t have to pay attention
Either way, Llewellyn says that water flow is the most important thing on the fire ground, and anything that can help maintain or improve firefighter safety is something to consider.
“Adequate water flow is one of the most important factors that fire-ground commanders and incident officers need to ensure they are providing to firefighters.” says Llewellyn
For more information on the HydroFX indicator, visit www.akronbrass.com .
|All-American’s Kryptonite hose is made of a circular, woven polyester jacket, covered with a urethane polymer, resulting in a supply line that weighs about 40 per cent less than typical rubber lines. Photo courtesy All-American Hose
kryptonite hose is lighter, stronger
The average firefighter’s helmet weighs about two kilograms (five pounds). Bunker gear, on average, weighs almost 16 kilograms (35 pounds). SCBA weighs another 14 kilograms (30 pounds). That’s an extra 32 kilograms (70 pounds) of weight – on top of your own body weight – to lug around the fire ground.
Firefighters obviously don’t need to add more weight to their work on scene, and that’s why fire-service manufacturers are working to use lighter materials in the products they make
All-American Hose has joined the list of manufacturers of lightweight materials with its Kryptonite LDH supply lines. The hoses are made of a circular, woven polyester jacket, covered with a urethane polymer. The result is a supply line that weighs about 40 per cent less than typical rubber lines.
“Lightweight hoses definitely make a difference,” says Lewellyn.
“Especially in the beginning stages of a fire, when there usually aren’t enough people, so you’re pulling hoses on your own – the lighter it is, the easier it is for firefighters to do all the things they need to do.”
This material also makes the hose thinner, so it takes up less space on the truck, and makes the hose stronger. The polyurethane material reduces friction loss, while maintaining the hose’s flexibility.
For more information on the Kryptonite hose, visit www.all-americanhose.com .
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