Fire hose is among the most important equipment used by a fire company. Hose is used to move water for two primary purposes -- primarily to fight fires, and secondarily to supply water for fire fighting.
West Grove Fire Company operates with approximately 17,000 feet of hose across its apparatus fleet. About 1/3 of that total is large diameter, 5" supply hose designed to move large volumes of water to supply fire scenes. The rest of the hose is typically either 1-3/4" attack hose (used for most firefighting), 2-1/2" hose (used for fighting large fires, and also for water supply), and 3" inch hose (used mostly for water supply). A complement of suction hose is also used to draft water from ponds or other water sources.
WGFC recently completed its annual hose test at the New London Station. Annual hose testing is required to assure that hose will safely operate under pressure. During yesterday's test, 11,000 feet of hose was tested, with hose put under extreme pressure to check for leaks. Suction lines are also put under "over-pressure" to also assure reliable and safe operation. Only two sections of firefighting hose failed tests this week.
To conduct the test, each apparatus has to be emptied of their hose loads, and all spare hose from each of the three stations is also transported to New London for testing. After the test, which takes about 30 minutes, the hose has to be reloaded onto each fire truck. This unloading and loading process takes about one hour per fire truck. This year's hose test took about 9 hours.
WGFC's 5" supply hose is brand new to the department, so this hose was not tested this week.