Using Large Diameter Hose Clamps in Cold Weather


Submitted by Peter Kertzie

For many departments, the transition to large diameter hose (LDH) has happened faster than the transition to LDH hose clamps. Sometimes you realize the need for one of these clamps at a most inopportune time, usually at a fire or immediately after you extinguish one.

In cold weather, hydrants can malfunction or freeze up any time, rendering the stem nut or operating stem inoperable. If this occurs while you’re trying to use a hydrant, it simply won’t open and you must find another hydrant. If it occurs after you’ve opened the hydrant, you won’t be able to shut it down, and if you don’t have an LDH clamp, you won’t be able to disconnect from the hydrant until someone from the water department arrives at the scene.

At a recent winter fire, one crewmember tried to shut down a hydrant and found that the wrench just spun around freely, indicating a broken operating stem. The water department was notified, and the engine crew realized that they would have to stay out of service and out in the cold until their arrival.

So, we came up with an alternative plan that called for the use of our truck. We had the engine discharge water into a roadside drain to soften the LDH, and then we slowly drove over the LDH with our rig. Once on top of the hose, the pressure and flow went almost to zero. The intake valve to the engine was shut and the LDH was disconnected from the engine. We then drained and capped the end of the LDH with a cap from the engine’s pump panel. Crews then slid the capped end of the LDH off to the side of the road. After this, our rig slowly backed off of the LDH. We all went happily back to quarters to warm up, and an hour or so later, the water department returned the section of LDH we left behind.

PHOTO BY PETER F. KERTZIE
Once on top of the LDH, we disconnected the hose from the engine. Because some water was still trickling through the hose under the rig’s tire, the hose slowly filled back up with water. The trickle was not enough to prevent capping it off, but you have to move quickly.

 

PHOTO BY PETER F. KERTZIE
The truck slowly backed off of the LDH, which brought the pressure up to the approximate hydrant pressure.

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