MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Muscatine Fire Department spent the better part of the day on Wednesday (July 29) testing every hose in the inventory for damage.
“We do this annually to make sure that none of the hoses are damaged,” Battalion Chief Gary Ronzheimer, said. “Often they end up with small holes or even tears in the inner liner due to use. If we did not test them on an annual basis we would not find out about the damage until were at a fire.”
Ronzheimer said that a lot of pressure is put on the hoses to pump large amounts of water into a fire.
“We do not want a damaged hose tearing or bursting in a fire,” Ronzheimer said. “That would put our crews in danger and increase fire damage to homes.”
Each hose is laid out in the alley behind the Public Safety Building in Muscatine and then pressurized with water. Firefighters will hand check each line from coupling to coupling to ensure the integrity of the hose, and then check the connection between two hoses for leaks.
Ronzheimer said that the testing usually finds four to five sections that are damaged and need to be replaced each year from 362 sections on hand for use by the fire department. Those sections include three sizes of hose including five inch, two and a half inch, and an inch and three-quarters.
Pin holes, small tears, and failure around the couplings are the most common failures found during the testing.
“We have had hoses burst when testing,” Ronzheimer said.
Testing, like training, is a continual process for the fire department and includes every tool used and every apparatus operated by the department to ensure not only the safety of firefighters but also citizens and their property.