By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1
Once upon a time, the 1 ¾-inch fire hose was THE technological advancement for fire hose used as a fire suppression handline. The 1 ¾-inch fire hose provided firefighters with the capability to deliver a 200-gpm fire stream using a handline that could easily be managed by two firefighters.
This advancement in fire hose technology was important for many fire departments that were facing staffing reductions in the late 1980’s due to reduced budgets, in career and combination departments, and declining membership numbers for volunteer fire departments. Many fire departments are still experiencing those challenges.
The Need for Bigger Water
The fires that today’s firefighters are encountering are burning faster, hotter, and reaching the flashover phase much faster because of larger homes, different home geometries, increased synthetic fuel loads, and changing construction materials (e.g., lightweight building materials) (Kerber, 2011).
Several experiments were conducted to compare the impact of changing fuel loads in residential houses. These experiments show living room fires have flashover times of less than 5 min when they used to be on the order of 30 min. Other experiments demonstrate the failure time of wall linings, windows and interior doors have decreased over time which also impact fire growth and firefighter tactics (Kerber, 2011).
Is it any wonder that increasingly firefighters using a 1 ¾-inch fire hose – with its maximum 200 gpm fire flow – as their attack fire stream are finding themselves “out gunned” when they encounter these hotter and faster burning fires?
Enter the KrakenEXO SUPER II Fire Hose from Mercedes Textiles, a 2-inch attack fire hose with a flow range of 210-300 gpm. Firefighters using KrakenEXO SUPER II fire hose can have the fire flow of a 2 ½-inch hose line but with a 2-inch hose that provides superior maneuverability and unrivaled performance because of its lighter weight, increased flexibility, high kink resistance and low friction loss. All of which make the KrakenEXO SUPER II a go-to hose option for interior structural firefighting, high-rise and standpipe packs, particularly for fire departments with limited staffing. In addition:
- The KrakenEXO SUPER II “SUPER” flow combo delivers that maximum fire flow in a hose up to 40 lb. lighter per 50-foot charged section of hose – compared to a 50-foot section of standard 2 ½-inch hose – which equates to 160 lb. less weight for a 200-foot attack line.
- Mercedes Textiles’ patented Breather Technology adds flexibility, strength, and releases trapped air and water for improved packability.
- The KrakenEXO SUPER II uses a unique Mertex lining that reduces friction loss for maximum flow and lifelong adhesion.
- The KrakenEXO SUPER II comes with Merlite WAYOUT couplings that are available with either Mercedes Textiles’ exclusive three-part 1 ¾-inch or 2-inch x 2 ½-inch configuration. The couplings are anodized black with red recessed, reflective WAYOUT arrows to aid a firefighter in finding their way out of the hazard area.
- All couplings come standard with recessed IDentify areas for color coding, barcoding, and/or identification markings.
UL Certified Fire Hose
The KrakenEXO SUPER II fire hose is manufactured to exceed the design and performance requirements of NFPA 1961: Standard on Fire Hose (2020 Edition). But Mercedes Textiles didn’t just stop there – they went the extra mile and submitted the KrakenEXO SUPER II to third-party testing by UL.
Mercedes Textiles – like all fire hose manufacturers – conduct their own product testing in-house, but the company’s position is that having their in-house test results verified by a qualified third-party – in this case, UL – is good for business. It keeps the company accountable, and it enables Mercedes Textile to ensure that their customer fire departments have a fire hose on which they can depend.
Why Mercedes Textiles Used UL for Third-Party Testing of Their Fire Hose
For more than 30 years, UL has set the standard for fire equipment evaluations. In that time, UL has developed more than 70 standards covering fire equipment and is widely represented on NFPA technical committees that develop NFPA standards for fire equipment and personal protective equipment.
- Every UL evaluation is conducted by expert staff members who are certified Level II technicians to the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) guidelines.
- UL offers the most comprehensive fire equipment evaluations available today and their expert testing and certification programs cover all types of fire equipment.
- UL has more than a century of expertise in the testing of fire equipment which has earned it unmatched brand recognition and a reputation for testing integrity – no other fire equipment testing organization in the United States has the same level of association with product safety, integrity, and quality.
- UL’s fire equipment testing services involve evaluation of sample new equipment at the manufacturer’s facility before it’s delivered to your department, as well as evaluation of representative in-service equipment at your fire station. UL has a fleet of fully equipped vans and mobile testing laboratories located throughout the United States to test fire equipment at local fire departments.
Having that UL-listing guarantees that a fire department is getting fire hose that is 100% compliant with the design and performance requirements of NFPA 1961 for critical fire hose characteristics like flow rates, friction loss, and heat resistance.
How UL Evaluates Fire Hose
NFPA 1961 (2020 Edition) requires the following tests for fire hose to be certified as being compliant with the standard’s performance specifications. UL conducted the same tests to verify that Mercedes Textiles’ in-house tests were valid.
Test Methods for Manufacturers’ Hose Certification
6.2 Proof Test
6.3 Resistance to elongation, twist, warp, and rise
6.4 Kink resistance
6.5 Burst resistance
6.7 Tensile Strength and Elongation
6.8 Oven Aging
6.9 Ozone Resistance
6.10 Cold Bending Test
6.11 Cold Flexibility Test
6.12 Oil Immersion Test
6.13 Flexibility and Compressibility Testing
Here are just a few examples of where KrakenEXO SUPER II exceeds the requirements of NFPA 1961:
- Attack hose shall have a minimum design service test pressure of 300 psi as specified in Section 4.1. KrakenEXO SUPER II fire hose has service test pressure of 400 psi.
- A test sample of the attack hose shall withstand a test pressure of three times the designed service test pressure without failure when subjected to the burst test specified in Section 6.5. KrakenEXO SUPER II fire hose has burst safety factor of 3.75 times the service pressure for greater security.
- Remains flexible to -65º F / -55º C.
And that is why Mercedes Textiles believes that UL-listing matters. And so should your fire department. Give your firefighters a 2-inch hose – the KrakenEXO SUPER II – for fire attack that delivers a fire flow that rivals that of a 2 ½-inch hose but is lighter, more maneuverable, less likely to kink and has lower friction loss. Replacing your current 1 ¾-inch fire attack lines with the 2-inch KrakenEXO SUPER II can give your firefighters the “upper hand” when encountering today’s hotter and faster burning fires because big fires require big water!
Kerber, S. (2011, December 8). Analysis of Changing Residential Fire Dynamics and Its Implications on Firefighter Operational Timeframes. Retrieved from Springer.com: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-011-0249-2