By Alan M. Petrillo
A wide variety of reels can be found on nearly every kind of fire apparatus, from rescue trucks and pumpers to ARFF vehicles, wildland trucks, and utility terrain vehicles (UTVs). Reels also have found popularity in several applications inside fire stations, whether it be for electric power, hydraulics, water, or hose.
Water Hose Reels
Jennifer Wing, marketing manager for Hannay Reels, says Hannay makes reels for every type of fire operation, with fire hose reels being used for flat, booster, and foam hose as well as large-diameter hose (LDH) and other models for breathing air, utility air, hydraulic, and electric uses. “We offer reels as compact as possible, depending on the length of hose it is to hold and where the truck builder wants to put it on the vehicle,” Wing says. “We are seeing an uptick in booster hose use and a growing number of reels being used on UTVs, pickup trucks, and all-terrain vehicles that are varying in width and height, depending on the space available, but almost all using booster hose.”
Wing notes that Hannay makes four series of reels for large- and small-diameter booster hose, the 1800, F4000, F, and FF Series, which can be found on pumpers tankers, rescue trucks, and wildland vehicles. The 1800 Series handles 5⁄8-inch or 3⁄4-inch inside-diameter (ID) hose; the F4000 Series handles 3⁄4-inch or one-inch ID hose; the F Series carries 3⁄4-inch or one-inch ID booster hose; and the FF Series handles 11⁄4-inch or 11⁄2-inch ID booster hose or 11⁄2-inch or 13⁄4-inch collapsible hose.
“We also make large frame and collapsible LDH hose reels on the back of vehicles,” she points out, “and the F7100 dual-agent hose reel and a small portable reel for one-inch forestry lay flat or standard lay flat hose.”
Jerry Medley, vice president of sales and marketing for Cox Reels, says motorized booster reels are the most popular use of reels on pumpers, tankers, and wildland vehicles. “We will make the reel with a different type of roller bracket, depending on where the reel is to be mounted,” Medley says. “Our 1600 Series reel is specifically designed to fit into different types of fire apparatus, and we are able to change the size of the discs and the drum to handle the size hose to be carried.”
Other motorized hose reels made by Cox include the 1125 Series that handles hose up to 3⁄4-inch ID, the 1175 Series for hose up to one-inch ID, and the 1185 Series for hose up to 11⁄2-inch ID.
Mark Bedwell, director of technical sales and service for Reelcraft, says he believes fire hose reels are making a comeback on fire trucks, especially on quick-attack and wildland pumpers. “These are mostly reels for one-inch booster hose,” he says. “We don’t see a lot of collapsible hose reels on those kinds of trucks because you would have to remove all the hose off the reel before charging it, where with noncollapsible hose, you can run the water through the reel with hose still loaded on it.”
He adds that Reelcraft has had its reels mounted in some unusual locations on fire apparatus. “We’ve had reels mounted upside down under the bed or a truck and put booster lines in front bumpers, rear compartments, dunnage areas, and side compartments,” he says. “It’s all about how the fire department wants to use the reel.”
Bedwell notes that Reelcraft is developing a new reel called the Nautilus for up to one-inch hose that will allow the hose to transition out of the spool without using a traditional gooseneck. “We designed a new connector and fastener that gives additional strength to the reel that is simpler in design and lighter in weight,” he says, “so the hose will lay flat on the spool from the first wrap outward.”
Wing says that Hannay makes the TEF Series dual spool reel that can be used for breathing air, utility air, electric power, or a hydraulic source. “This series of reels can be built in any configuration that a customer needs,” she says. “The TEF twin reels each have their own motor and rewind function and can carry any combination of breathing, electric, or hydraulic lines on them.”
Hannay also makes the EF2200 reel for CORE™ Technology hydraulic rescue tools, the ELFCR1600 onsite power live cable reel, and the F1500 reel for utility air or breathing air. “Our rescue reels can be made to be truck mounted or as portable reels to handle any type of situation,” Wing notes.
Medley says that Cox Reels makes both the T Series and FH Series reels for hydraulic hose use that can be configured to fit into the extended front bumper of a pumper or rescue truck. “We’ve also placed a lot of our 1600 Series reels for use with dual hydraulic hose in front bumpers too,” he observes. “But the typical dual hydraulic model we sell is a 1275 Series reel, on an A-frame welded base, which can be made to handle up to 10,000 pounds per square inch, depending on the fluid path.”
Cox offers different motor mounting positions on all its reels, using electric, air, and hydraulic powered motors, Medley adds. “And by nesting motors, we are able to get the reel into pretty small spaces,” he says.
Rex Larkin, Reelcraft’s vice president of sales and marketing, says Reelcraft makes both single and twin line hydraulic reels that will handle 1⁄4-inch, 3⁄8-inch, and 1⁄2-inch hydraulic hose. “These hydraulic lines rely more on pressure than on flow, so they don’t need a very large inside diameter,” Larkin says, “so the size of the reel and where it’s located on the truck depend on the length and size of hose needed to accomplish the task.”
Fire Station Reels
Wing says Hannay makes a wide variety of reels for use in fire stations, from electric cable reels to keep fire apparatus batteries charged that are typically mounted at ceiling level and have a spring rewind function for wash-down water reels that handle 1⁄2-inch to 5⁄8-inch hose.
Medley notes that Cox Reels makes two series of reels that are very popular for use in fire stations. “Our PC series electric power cord reels get a lot of use in firehouses, and we construct it with a quick disconnect feature and our EZ coil system with slow retraction,” he points out. “Our P series reel can be configured as a utility air reel for filling tires and also as a water reel for washing vehicles. The 1125 in a hand crank model on a dolly is very useful for washing fire trucks outside.”
Larkin points out that Reelcraft makes power cord reels for indoor and outdoor use and for fixed and portable applications. “We offer two styles that vary the number of conductors and the gauge,” he says, “plus the difference of what’s on the end of the cord. These reels can be made either motorized or with springer tractable (automatic retract) style.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist; the author of three novels and five nonfiction books; and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.