Fire Hose Reels
Fire Hose Reels are a specialist piece of equipment and are normally located to cover large areas with a high risk. It is our opinion that fire hose reels should only be used when a fire risk assessment specifically recommends it.
Servicing of fire hose reels is governed by BS-EN-671/3 and this requires that during the service a flow rate test and a pressure test is conducted and recorded on a service label attached to the reel. In addition the hose itself must be pressure tested every five years. We are happy to service all types of fire hose reels and can obtain spares from most manufacturers that are still producing them.
Fire hose reels come in 2 main types. The first is an automatic reel and the second a manual reel. They can be recess mounted, cabinet mounted, fixed or swinging. In fact they can be manufactured to suite most placements. The main difference between the automatic and manual fire hose reels are as follows:
Automatic fire hose reel
The automatic fire hose reel is designed as a pull and run system, this means that as you pull out the hose the turning motion of the fire hose reel turns on the water supply allowing the user to get water very quickly and without fumbling with taps.
Manual fire hose reel
The manual fire hose reel is a cheaper unit but requires the operator to turn the water on first before running the hose out. Its use can be hindered by sticking stop-cock taps and seized valves. The preferred type of fire hose reel is the automatic reel as the valve is contained inside the reel and is therefore protected.
Fire hose reel considerations
Fire hose reels do have a couple of disadvantages which are important to considerations when choosing to install a fire hose reel.
The first issue is that if used inside you cannot close any fire door that the hose has passed through so increasing the risk of fire spreading. The second consideration is the trip hazard.
In a fire situation people will naturally panic and having a trip hazard on the escape route is not best practice. The main drawback is that an untrained operator will not be watching for the signs of fire creep and may suddenly find themselves trapped by the fire, endangering themselves and the fire fighters sent to save them.
Fire hose reels are a necessity in some sites like mobile home parks. We look after a number of these sites and the fire hose reels are set up in such a way that 2 hoses can be used on any single building on the sites. As the fire hose reels are external the above risks are reduced significantly. Even if an untrained operator cannot put out a fire they can help to stop it spreading to neighbouring units.
Unused and untested fire hose reels can carry other problems such as legionnaire’s disease and stagnant water to name a few. It is our opinion that fire hose reels should only be used when a fire risk assessment sees no other way of protecting an area.
Once our quote is accepted we also supply an equipment type and location list to be held in the fire log book so you know what you have and where it is as well as when the next discharge test is due.
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