The NFPA recently revised its standard on fire hose. The newest edition requires that hose manufactured before July 1987 be removed from service. This makes sense given all the changes in materials and technology over the past 25 years. ut that’s just one of many significant changes to the standard, first created in 1936 and called NFPA 198, Care of Fire Hose.
The 2013 standard, NFPA 1962, Care, Use, Inspection, Service Testing, and Replacement of Fire Hose, Couplings, Nozzles, and Fire Hose Appliances, includes for the first time the word "replacement" in the title and now covers formal replacement of hose and couplings.
“Too often departments will get a new pumper and take the 20-year-old hose off their old rig and put it in on the new one,” said Jim Glatts, a member of the NFPA committee on fire hose. “Hose has changed significantly in that time with higher pressures and better products.”
According to Glatts, the purpose of NFPA 1962 is to provide a reasonable level of safety for users of fire hose and a reasonable degree of assurance that the hose, coupling assemblies, appliances and nozzles will perform as designed. This applies to the care of all types of fire hose, coupling assemblies, appliances and nozzles while in service, in use and after use, including inspecting and service testing.
Other significant updates include:
- Fire hose users and the authority having jurisdiction shall establish a replacement schedule for their fire hose, which takes into consideration the use, age and testing results.
- Attack fire hose shall be service tested to a minimum of 300 psi. Supply fire hose shall be service tested to a minimum of 200 psi. Testing can be done on a fire department’s own fire apparatus.
- All non-threaded hose connections shall be provided with locks to ensure against unintentional disconnection.
The standard also covers:
- Nozzle service-testing. This should be done at least as frequently as the hose to which it is attached.
- System tests. Each pre-connected line or any attack line used for interior firefighting operations on a fire apparatus, together with the nozzle or hose connected appliance it supplies, shall be flow tested as a system at least annually.
The 2013 edition of NFPA 1962 also provides guidelines to consider when purchasing new hose in its Annex B. It includes a chart that lists quality and characteristics needed for fire hose, with items ranging from abrasion resistance to friction loss to weight. It encourages end users to rank items in importance when considering new hose.
Fire hose is the most important and relied-upon tool a firefighter carries. NFPA 1962 updates will ensure it’s the right tool for the job.