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Monarch Fire News

Fire Hose Reels - Are they right for you

Hose Reel Types

There are 2 main types of hose reel available and these come in many guises to suite the environment they are to be employed in.

Manual Hose Reels.

Manual hose reels require the user to turn on the water supply before deploying the hose, this normally means turning a tap mounted close to the reel. The tap would normally have a red top to identify that it is to do with fire although this is not a requirement.

Automatic Hose Reels

Automatic hose reels turn the water on as you pull out the hose, they contain a valve mechanism inside the drum which when the hose is pulled out the water is turned on and when the hose is wound back in the water is turned off. The normal turn to activate is 1-1.5 revolutionss of the reel and 2.5-3 to close the valve. as with the Manual Hose Reel you will find a valve located close to the reel but this valve does not have a tap on it instead it requires a special key to turn it off. If you currently have automatic reels with taps then you should request that these be replaced with the key type.

Hose Reel Designs

Fire Hose Reels are designed to fit in a large number of locations, in order to do that they need to be designed differently, the basic design is a fixed fire hose reel, this reel is bolted to a wall and the hose is dragged off and through a guide located in a position to allow the hose to run freely. Recessed fire hose reel, a recessed reel is deigned to fit in an alcove or cabinet allowing it to be mounted in a narrow corridor, these reels are mouted on a swinging arm which can be left or right hand mounted they are also usefull for allowing the hoses to be pulled off much quicker as they do not require a hose guide.

Is a fire hose reel suitable for your business

So before we ask the suitability question let us look at some of the other options available, the standard reel comes with a 30m hose length, the standard diameter of the hose is 19mm, the end of the hose has attached an adjustable nozzle which when twisted changes the water flow from a jet to a spray or can be used to stop the water flow. some more specialist environments such as mobile home parks will require a longer hose length such as a 45m length, in this case the reel must also be a special order to make sure that the drum is large enough and the mechanism can manage the additional weight. So should you have hose reels? firstly your Fire Risk Assessment will answer this question but if you are conducting your own Fire Risk Assessment then can I offer the following pros and cons for the use of Fire Hose Reels. If you have a warehouse that has little electrical equipment and lots of open areas and are willing to have your staff trained then fire hose reels are a good option, however, if you have a lot of electrical machinery, flamable liquids such as fuels and oils then these are not suitable at all. additionally you need to assess the escape routes from your building, are they fitted with fire doors? a hose run down a corridor will stop a fire door closing and as such allow smoke and fire to spread easily, they can cause a trip hazard as people try and escape the building. My main concern is that people can be trapped in a building when trying to tackle a fire, fire extinguishers last around 90 seconds and if the fire isnt out by then it is too big and should be tackled only by trained fire fighters. Fire Hose Reels do not run out of water so the operator can find themselves trapped in a dangerous situation. This also then means that the crew commander will be forced to place his fire fighters in danger in order to attempt a rescue.

A point to note here is that a fire crew commander will not send his fire fighters into a life threatening situation unless they believe people are trapped, in such an event if a firefighter or member of staff is injured during such a senario then the investigation will look at the policies of your company and if they deem you liable then you will be prosecuted.

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