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An Important Step Toward Hose Safety

Because of problems associated with hoses inadvertently being dropped on the street while responding—which in two cases resulted in deaths—the NFPA 1901 Technical Committee has issued a Temporary Interim Amendment (TIA) regarding hose bed design. As of Nov. 18, all manufacturers of new fire apparatus are required to provide a secure cover to help keep hose secure on the vehicles.

The changes were made by the committee in regards to Section 15.10.7 of the apparatus standard.

The TIA reads:

“Any hose storage area shall be equipped with a positive means to prevent unintentional deployment of the hose from the top, sides, front and rear of the hose storage area while the apparatus is underway in normal operations.”

“Many departments have experienced hose inadvertently coming off of fire apparatus while traveling to and from incidents. Several incidents have resulted in personal injury and damage to property. At least one death is directly attributable to an unintentional deployment of fire hose during a response. It is imperative that the fire apparatus manufacturer provide and the fire department use a means to assure this does not occur.”

We are seeing an increased use of handlines being stored and used on the front bumpers of pumpers and quints, and also large loops of hose packed so that ease of deployment can be made. While I think that these are both great ideas, we may have to rethink our policies for the safety of our members and also the general public.

Some manufacturers have already started to design new products to handle this new standard. Pierce Manufacturing has introduced a new roll up rear hose bed cover. Also, we are starting to see diamond plate boxes on hinges start to cover tool compartments and hose on the front bumpers of vehicles. Most manufacturers have designed these types of enclosures.

While responding from and returning to quarters from alarms, I can remember this happening several times to me in my 30+ years in the fire service. I think this standard is way overdue. While a great deal of departments have traditionally used some means of protection such as hose straps, bed covers, webbing over crosslays, etc.—it will now force the other departments to get on the bandwagon. The fire service always seems to be reactive instead of proactive in certain circumstances—this being one of them. Hopefully, this new amendment to NFPA 1901 will prevent any further injuries, damage to equipment and deaths.

Bob Vaccaro, a long-time loss control and safety expert, shares his knowledge of fire apparatus safety and care in ‘Apparatus Essentials,’ a FireRescue1 original column. Learn about deterring theft, headlight options, ambulance response and more.