If you run a business of a certain size or in a certain industry, your building may have one or many fire hose cabinets. These stations around your property can be vital to protecting the people and items inside, so it’s well worth it to make sure you educate yourself on them.

What are fire hoses made of?

Fire hoses are designed and built to withstand high-pressure water, so they have to be tough. But, because fires can occur anywhere and they shouldn’t get kinked or else they can’t deliver water, the hoses must also be flexible.

Over the decades, many designs have been tried, tested, and enhanced with new materials and better technology to keep people safe and extinguish fires as quickly as possible.

Today’s fire hoses are typically made of woven nylon fabrics and various types of rubber. They vary in weight, length, purpose, and use.

Fire Hose Connections/Nozzles

Most fire hose connections are made from brass, although they can also be crafted from hardened aluminum. The connectors are threaded appropriately to be attached to the water supply they match with – be it a hydrant or a specific type of coupling.

Fire hoses come in a variety of sizes and specs.
Fire hoses come in a variety of sizes and specs.

Types of Fire Hoses

Suction hose

The hardest types of fire hoses are suction hoses. These are usually covered in rubber and are only semi-flexible. They’re used to suck water out of ponds, lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water that aren’t under pressure. They are typically 10 feet long.

Booster hose

These hoses are typically thick and covered in rubber. They are more flexible and used to fight small fires. They are typically about 100 feet long.

Forestry hose

These hoses are fabric covered and flexible. They are used to fight outdoor fires, so they are designed to be more lightweight and easier to carry. They are typically 100 feet long.

Supply & relay hoses

These hoses are large and fabric covered. The typical ‘fire hose’ you see attached coiled on a fire truck and attached to a fire hydrant, they are used to carry water to fight fires in or outdoors. They are typically 100 feet long.

Attack hose

These hoses are capable of withstanding higher pressure, while remaining highly flexible. They are smaller and shorter, typically only 50 feet long.

Most businesses that keep a fire hose on site may benefit from having Attack hoses attached to an internal water supply, or forestry hoses for outdoor property areas. By considering your business’ unique fire risks and fire suppression system, you can begin to consider the right fire hoses.

Do Fire Hoses Need Maintenance?

Yes. Like any other piece of equipment – especially emergency-response equipment – fire hoses need to be regularly inspected, cleaned, and repaired as needed.

Some of the most common problems with fire hoses occur after use. If not properly cleaned and dried, residual water can cause damage to the hose materials, or corrode the metal nozzles and attachments. Although treated to prevent this and extend the life of fire hoses, have a certified technician regularly inspect and certify that your property’s fire hoses are safe and ready for use.

Especially if your fire hoses are exposed to the elements, keep them maintained.
Especially if your fire hoses are exposed to the elements, keep them maintained.

Fire Hoses are Not Enough

Having a fire hose in a contained cabinet, directly attached to your building’s piping, is not enough to keep your property safe. Fire hoses are part of a larger fire suppression system that can include fire extinguishers, a sprinkler system, a series of fire alarms, and more. As part of your larger fire protection, fire hoses can be a unique item that most people are not familiar with how to use.

Train People to Use Them

Pretty much everyone has seen a cartoon of firemen pointing a hose and spraying an animated fire. Most adults instinctively understand the basics of “how to use a fire hose.” But in case one ever needs to be used at your property, make sure that the appropriate people have the appropriate training.

Consider who on your team may be responsible for accessing and operating any fire extinguishers or fire hoses at your business. Then, make sure to provide detailed, thorough training for each member who will be relied on to respond in an emergency. Training on how to use fire hoses and extinguishers reduces the fear and increases people’s confidence and ability to react when necessary.