When it comes to ensuring firefighter safety and optimum performance on the fireground, choosing the right fire hose is essential. You want a hose that performs and keeps you and your team safe. So how do you choose the right hose? What kind of questions do you ask to find out what hose works best for you and your unique station?
While there are universal industry hose specifications, it’s important to first consider your department’s size and workload. Ask yourself questions like: are you fighting two blazes a month or two a day? How large are these fires? Do you need to have a hose that pushes out a lot of water quick? This helps decide size and durability you need from a hose.
Also consider your stations environmental and working conditions. Are you fighting high rise fires or forest fires? This helps determine how much length you need and what material the hose should be made out of.
Asking and answering these question will help you understand what size and type of hose works best. This way, you have all the information you need in order to select the best hose to meet your exact needs.
Diving deep into your answers and really understanding what hose you need based on your usage and criteria will make it that much easier for you to find not only the perfect hose but the perfect manufacturer.
After you answer these questions, follow our checklist to make sure the hose is a perfect match for your needs.
✔ Choose certified hose.
Fire hose should meet these industry requirements below. If not, the hose may not be up to standard to perform each and every time the hose is used.
- NFPA 1961 Standard on Fire Hose
- NFPA 1962 Standard for the Care, Use, Inspection, Testing of Fire Hose
- NFPA 1963 Standard for Fire Hose Connections
- A certified hose manufacturer i.e. ISO Certified
✔ Choose a reputable manufacturer.
The hoses should be 100% made in America and all components should be made in house, starting from quality raw materials all the way through to final proof test. It's much more beneficial to have a hose that is manufactured from start to finish in one facility because of the oversight to the process, manufacturing, finishing, and testing of the hose.
✔ Ask about hose service tracking.
It is critical to maintain tracking and service test records for hoses to ensure safety in the field. Hose that comes with some kind of certification or serial number helps keep better track of what that hose has already been through. An awareness of the history of your hose shows the full picture of the health of that hose and can help you make more informed choices on how and when to replace.
✔ Insist on quality couplings.
The hose manufacturer should use a quality coupling manufacturer. The hose manufacturer should couple and proof test every length and provide certification. You don't want to find the perfect hose and find out the couplings aren't up to par. Make sure the entire hose assembly is of highest quality and standards.
✔ Match hose performance ratings to your exact user requirements:
What do you want the hose to do for you? How does the hose need to perform in order to meet your unique needs and requirements? Make sure that each of these areas are addressed and you feel satisfied with the answers.
- Operating pressure
- Supply or attack rating
- Friction loss
- Flow data
- ID of fire hose
- True diameter
- Hose weight
- Kinking properties
- Abrasion resistance properties
- Heat and/or burn-through resistance properties
- Coating and colors per NFPA 1901
✔ Take a test drive.
Before purchasing, or at the time of bid, request whole length samples for evaluation to inspect quality, markings and performance of the fire hose proposed for your department. Ask your manufacturer if you can demo their hose to ensure the hose works for you. This way you can try before you buy and feel confident in your choice. A company that stands behind their products will be happy to provide a demo length of hose for you to make sure it meets your needs.