There are two main systems for handling large-diameter fire hose: reeling and flaking. When comparing the two systems, each has unique characteristics often seen as the driving point in choosing between them. Crusader Hose maintains that the benefits of a reeling system outweigh flaking.
Crusader Hose, the well-known and trusted Australian fire-hose manufacturer for over 36 years, has worked alongside and in consultation with fire chiefs and offers a large selection of fire hose to comsuit many brigades’ requirements.
Fire hose is typically made in 38mm and 64mm diameters up to 30m long. These configurations limit the weight of the hose, allowing a firefighter to carry the hose into buildings and up flights of stairs. However, this weight limit does not apply to woven large-diameter fire hose, also known as large-diameter layflat hose.
Large-diameter layflat hose is manufactured very similarly to standard fire hose. The large-diameter hose can be made in long lengths of up to 200m and coupled together to create longer pipelines when required. This is just one of the numerous benefits of using large-diameter layflat hose. Although very useful to manage problematic fires, the weight of these longer lengths can be over 350kg, making them impossible to handle without mechanised equipment.
The mechanised equipment designed to handle large-diameter layflat hose either winds the hose onto a reel or flakes it. Winding a hose onto a reel is not dissimilar to winding a fishing line onto a fishing reel. Flaking is a folding method, usually done into a crate onto the back of a truck.
While the deployment of hose by unreeling or unflaking is similar in ease or speed, the main difference is in hose recovery. The flaking typically requires more physical manual handling than reeling. Flaking requires people in the back of a moving truck to bend over and flake the hose manually. A reel system is mechanised and does not require the same manual effort. Recovering hose onto a reel reduces OH&S issues and is safer and more efficient.
Layflat hose wound onto a reel is very compact compared to hose flaked into a crate. Reeling ultimately results in fewer trucks required to transport a large quantity of hose on reels as compared to transporting the same amount of flaked hose in crates.
Some proponents of flaking feel storing flaked hose in stackable crates is a practical use of space. They have yet to recognise that Crusader Hose reels are also stackable and use space economically. When considering the manual handling and effort of work for firefighters when recovering large-diameter layflat fire hose via flaking, Crusader Hose maintains the reel system is far superior. Convincing users of flaking to use reeling is not that easy.
‘In my discussions with some fire chiefs, the reeling vs flaking matter feels like a Ford vs Holden discussion, their decision seems very personally driven,’ said Francois Steverlynck, Managing Director of Crusader Hose. ‘However, the educated firefighter is in a position to compare objectively all the differences using a weighted scorecard, and when they do, we firmly believe they will agree that the reeling method is far superior.
‘Based on the experiences of rolling and testing up to 2,000m a day at our factory, we have backed these up by investing in reel designs. We have designed and developed a range of five-reel systems to cover most fire brigades’ needs,’ he concluded.
For more information, go to www.crusaderhose.com.au