The West Grove Fire Company has completed an upgrade and replacement of its 5" supply hose, across the entire fire apparatus fleet.
The WGFC maintains thousands and thousands of feet of hose for firefighting. Across our fleet of fire apparatus, hose is used for two primary purposes: to attack and extinguish fire, and to supply larger volumes of water to support fire fighting. Smaller diameter hose allows for flexible and easier deployment, and is typically used for interior firefighting -- usually 1-3/4" hose. Larger 2.5" hose is often used for higher volumes of fire or in commercial or industrial settings. Above 2.5", hose is typically used for water supply purposes.
At the WGFC, 5" hose is used for large volume water supply, either between fire trucks and water sources (like ponds, hydrants and tanker trucks), or to supply fire trucks -- like from a pumper to a ladder, or a tanker to a pumper. Because much of our district is rural, the West Grove Fire Company carries more than 1,000 feet of 5" supply line on each of its three fire pumpers, and typically this hose is deployed up long driveways to provide a water supply line from the road to the fire scene. This hose is typically configured in lengths of 100'.
This week, the fire company replaced and upgraded all 4,400 of its 5" supply line. The current rubber-jacketed hose was many years old, some in excess of 30 years old, and sections were failing annual pressure testing at an increasing rate. In 2019 alone WGFC lost over 1000' of 5" supply hose due to failed testing and age. The WGFC decided to upgrade the hose from rubber-jacketed to polyester-fabric-jacketed hose -- which provides a longer service life and has the added benefit of being slightly lighter. The hose features a double jacket of fabric and a rubber lining with quick connect Storz couplings.
Taking advantage of this replacement, the WGFC ordered a large supply of hose in yellow (the company's apparatus color), and a smaller quantity of red hose. The red sections are then packed on the truck in a way to signal to the crew that they have deployed half of the hose quantity, and then again to signal that the hose bed is nearly empty. This will help crews as they lay lengths of 1000' or more up long driveways or between water sources.
Crews worked over two evenings to replace the hose on three pumpers (which each carry more than 1000' of hose) and the rescue truck which carries 750' of supply line.
The hose was purchased with funds from the West Grove Fireman's Relief Association. The Relief Association is a sister organization to the Fire Company, and is operated solely to manage and disperse relief funds. Relief funds are allocated in Pennsylvania through local municipalities to nearly 2,000 volunteer firefighter relief associations to enable the purchase of training, equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters. Revenue for the state aid comes from a two percent tax on premiums paid for casualty and fire insurance sold in Pennsylvania by out-of-state insurance companies. In WGFC's case, relief funds are allocated each year by the municipalities we serve (West Grove borough, and London Grove, Penn, New London, Franklin and London Britain townships), and managed by the Relief Association officers and members, who meet each month to manage the funds for these purposes.
The hose replacement project cost $44,000.00.