Hoses: Large and Small, from LDH to Forestry Lines
BY ALAN M. PETRILLO
Hoses are a firefighter’s lifeline, whether providing water, protecting from fire, or even as a pathway out of danger. The various types of hoselines being produced by fire hose manufacturers run from large-diameter supply lines to firefighting handlines for structural and wildland use.
Mike Peterson, senior sales manager for North American Fire Hose (NAFH), notes that attack hose being used today is predominantly 1¾-inch, 2-inch, and 2½-inch hose. NAFH makes Dura-Built 800™ hose in two styles: with an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) synthetic rubber liner and with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomer liner. “Our EPDM rubber hose liners are vulcanized in by mechanical and chemical means, keeping the same adhesion properties regardless of elevated hose temperatures,” Peterson says. “Our steam-cure process causes a chemical reaction to the rubber backing, linking it to the inner jacket fibers as well as the EPDM liner, resulting in a liner attached for the life of the hose.”
Peterson notes that the premium yarn NAFH uses for fire hose is Nylon 66 because of its good resistance to abrasion and its ability to stretch and absorb shock. “The other yarn we use is polyester, but it has no shock-absorbing qualities and very little give,” he says. NAFH has its own Flow Lab at its Santa Maria, California, headquarters, Peterson says. “We tested our D-BAK 800™ (Dura-Built Anti Kink) 1¾-inch attack hose in a doorway kink test adjustable fixture set for a 16-inch opening, and the hose passes through without kinking while flowing 185 gallons per minute (gpm) at 50 pounds per square inch (psi) with a 15⁄16-inch smooth bore tip.
Mark Lighthill, national sales manager for Key Hose Inc., says Key Hose makes TRU-ID™ attack lines in 2½-inch, 1¾-inch, and 2¼-inch sizes. “TRU-ID hose is manufactured to a true internal diameter that greatly lowers overall hose weight by eliminating additional water found in oversized attack lines, reducing firefighter fatigue,” Lighthill says. “TRU-ID handlines are designed for use with low-pressure, high-volume nozzles built to reduce hose whip and optimize friction loss while delivering targeted flow rates.”
Key Hose also makes Combat Ready™, a double-jacket attack line that combines ring-spun polyester staple fibers over an inner lining of a one-piece extruded through-the-weave nitrile/PVC tube that makes the tube, jacket liner, and cover one complete assembly. Lighthill points out the through-the-weave design “reduces friction loss and gives unmatched kink resistance.” Key Hose also makes BIG-10 Attack™, a double-jacket hose of ring-spun and filament polyester fibers over an EPDM rubber liner. The hose uses Key-Lok polyurethane polymer impregnation for maximum abrasion and moisture resistance.
Clif McDaniel, director of sales and marketing for Niedner Inc., says his company’s most popular attack line is the XL-800™ double-jacket polyester hose lined with a TPU elastomer that has a service test pressure of 400 psi. “It’s extremely lightweight, very packable, and with the Encap emulsion coating on the outside jacket very cut- and abrasion-resistant,” McDaniel points out. “Second in popularity is our RXL-800™ polyester double-jacket hose lined with an EPDM synthetic rubber liner for enhanced durability and kink resistance.”
For those fire departments “that are dropping hose every day,” McDaniel says many have chosen Niedner’s ULTRA 2000™ and ULTRA FORCE™ hose, “which are more durable because there is 20 percent more fabric in the hose that is more tightly woven for greater durability and abrasion resistance.”
Ron Stanley, chief executive officer for All American Hose, says the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Snap-tite hose division. It also owns the Ponn Fire Hose brand and National Fire Hose brand. Stanley says the Snap-tite brand offers HFX attack lines, an extruded through-the-weave design that’s available in one-inch to six-inch diameters; TPX, a three-ply design made in 1¾-inch to eight-inch diameters; and ATX, also a three-ply design but made as a higher-pressure hose.
All American also makes the Ponn Conquest attack line, which is an extruded through-the-weave TPU-lined hose with a polyester outer jacket and available from 1¾-inch up to five-inch hose. Ponn Supreme attack hose also is made in 1¾-inch up to five-inch sizes and can be lined with either EPDM or TPU.
Jamie Emblem, U.S. salesman for the Northeast region at Mercedes Textiles Inc., says Mercedes makes KRAKENEXO®, a lightweight, kink-resistant attack line that has a synthetic double jacket and Mercedes’s Mertex® lining. Bob Richardson, Mercedes president, says, “In the Mertex process, as we weave the fabric for the inner liner, extrusion material flows into the valleys of the weave and fills in undulations with very high-grade polyurethane, so the material is forced into and bonds with the fabric without the use of adhesives.” The hose has a service test pressure of 400 psi.
Mercedes also makes AQUAFLOW® PLUS attack line, a synthetic double-jacket hose with a Mertex lining that has a Permatek HP™ treatment against abrasion, moisture pickup, and mildew, says Emblem.
Chris Jones, general manager of Firequip, says his company makes DJ-800 attack hose with a polyester double jacket and EPDM liner, as well as a new offering, Classic Exact, an antikink design with a thicker inner liner that comes in 1¾-inch and 2½-inch sizes. “We also make Combat Master Flow with an extruded through-the-weave nitrile rubber liner in 1¾-inch, 2-inch, and 2½-inch sizes,” Jones notes.
NAFH makes several versions of forestry hose, predominantly for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), CAL FIRE, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), Peterson says. “The most commonly used is made to the USFS’s Specification 5100-187, which is our NAFH-187 Type II™, a single-jacket coated polyester hose with a TPU liner,” he notes. NAFH also makes NAFH-187 Type I™ hose, a single-jacket uncoated forestry line with a TPU liner as well as Outback 600™ with a TPU lining and Outback 600 HD™ with an EPDM rubber lining.
Key Hose makes Type I and Type II lightweight forestry hose and also 1061 pencil-line single-jacket USFS-spec hose, a lightweight, circular, woven hose incorporating a high-tensile, polyester-woven jacket lined with high-tensile NSF polyurethane.
SOURCE-LINE™ is an untreated single-jacket forestry lay-flat hose in 1- and 1½-inch sizes designed by Niedner with robust abrasion and cut resistance for forestry use, McDaniel says. Niedner also makes forestry hose to the USFS’s Spec 187 and also a Spec 187 Type II forestry hose with an Encap coating.
Mike Woods, director of sales for All American Hose, says his company makes 8F forestry hose, a lightweight, all-synthetic polyester single-jacket forestry hose with a polyurethane lining that meets USFS Spec 5100-187 for Type II hose. All American also makes 7F polyester single-jacket forestry hose that meets Type I specs.
FIREBREAK II® lightweight forestry hose made by Mercedes Textiles is available in one-inch, 11⁄2-inch and 21⁄2-inch sizes, according to Richardson. “The patented Hydro-Wick® weeping process produces a wick effect to dampen the hose jacket,” he says. “The hose has a synthetic single jacket and our Mertex inner lining.” FIREBOSS® single-jacket forestry hose made by Mercedes has a spun yarn jacket for greater abrasion resistance and Permatek HP treatment and is available in 1-inch and 1½-inch sizes. FORESTREAM®, made by Mercedes, is a 2½-inch synthetic single jacket hoseline that can be used for either attack or supply.
Firequip makes Wildland Ultra forestry hose, Jones points out, which can be produced in Type I or Type II configurations or as ¾-inch (for decontamination) 1-inch, or 1½-inch thermoplastic versions.
Reel Lite booster fire hose made by Key Hose, says Lighthill, is a durable, lightweight, high-pressure booster hose with a high-abrasion and heat-resistant single-jacket polyester cover. The hose has an interior helical reinforcement for greater kink resistance and to maintain hose shape and performance.
Niedner makes a booster line called REELTEX™, a woven hose with a helical wound support cable in it. The rigid hose comes in ¾-inch, 1-inch, and 1½-inch sizes, with 100 feet of 1-inch weighing 20 pounds, compared with 50 pounds for 100 feet of 1-inch rubber booster hose.
All American Hose makes both traditional rigid rubber booster line hose as well as Reel Lite with a single-jacket polyester cover and interior helical reinforcement.
Firequip offers Reel Lite booster hose with a single jacket polyester cover and interior helical reinforcement and also traditional rigid rubber booster line.
Randy Kish, manager of distributor marketing for ContiTech USA, says the booster line hose made by his company is composed of a synthetic rubber cover and synthetic rubber inner tube that has two braids of synthetic yarn for strength and reinforcement. Sizes are ¾-inch and 1-inch, and the hose is rated to 800 psi.
Peterson says the majority of fire departments around the country use 5-inch large diameter hose (LDH), with most using 5-inch Storz couplings but some with 4-inch Storz or National Standard Thread couplings. He says he’s seen a movement trending from nitrile rubber LDH to double-jacket LDH “because of the longevity of the double jacket and its 300-psi service test pressure, while nitrile is 200-psi service test pressure.”
Key Hose makes the ECO-10™ attack and supply hose, a double-jacket line of ring-spun staple and filament polyester fibers over an EPDM rubber liner. The outer jacket uses Key-Lok polyurethane polymer impregnation for abrasion and moisture resistance. The hose’s proprietary reverse twill weave construction reduces friction loss, says Lighthill, and engineered yarn selections can lighten the hose up to 25 percent.
Niedner’s LDH is SUPPLYLINE™, which comes in 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-inch-diameter sizes. McDaniel notes SUPPLYLINE has a 300-psi service pressure, allowing it to be used for supply, relay, or attack.
All American Hose’s HFX, TPX, and ATX can be made in LDH sizes, Stanley points out, with the HFX being the most popular LDH choice of fire departments, usually in 100-foot lengths. All American also makes Kryptonite LDH in 4-inch and 5-inch diameters, an extruded through-the-weave polyurethane hose in 100-foot lengths that Stanley says “doesn’t absorb carcinogens and can be washed off, repacked, and put away for the next use.”
MEGAFLO® is an LDH supply line made in 3½-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch sizes by Mercedes Textiles. Emblem says the hose “uses an innovative patented Breather technology that allows air to escape between layers for superior packability and increased flexibility.”
The most common type of LDH sold by Firequip, Jones points out, is its Hydro Flow, made of nitrile rubber. “It’s easy to clean and durable,” he says, “and you don’t have to worry about delamination.” Supply line sizes made by Firequip include 3-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch versions.
Paul Carpenter, vice president of sales for Harrington Inc., says his company makes PVC suction hose in 1½-inch, 2-inch, 2½-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch sizes. “Our Flex-Lite suction hose is flexible and lightweight,” Carpenter says. “One person can carry a 10-foot section of 6-inch PVC suction hose. The smaller sizes are able to bend considerably, and the larger ones are able to bend enough to get into a portable water tank or over a guard rail.”
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.