Recognizing a long-time need for more education and training on the proper operation and maintenance of standpipe fire hose stations, the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (FEMA) recently launched a new website (www.rackhosetraining.com). Many fire protection specialists around the country believe that standpipe fire hose stations are a critical part of any building’s fire protection plan. With proper training and education, building occupants can use a fire hose station to knock down a fire well before rescue personnel arrive. And often times, a rack hose can quickly extinguish a fire prior to the activation of an automatic sprinkler system. Frequently found in hotels, hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, a standpipe fire hose station (sometimes referred to as an interior pre-connected hose) does not require heat or smoke to be activated. All the equipment requires is one individual who is well-informed about the benefits and appropriate circumstances for using a rack hose, as well as the three simple steps to properly operate it. And that one person can be the critical difference between a small fire and a tragedy. “The tools of our trade include the time-honored direct application of water on a fire, when the fire is at its initial stage of ignition,” says Larry Larson, deputy fire chief of the Hillsborough Fire Department in
California.“Interior pre-connected hose provides the first line of defense in many key applications, such as large storage and commercial buildings, and especially where response from a volunteer fire department may be delayed.” OSHA requires that building owners provide education and training on fire hose stations if that equipment is to be included in a building’s fire protection plan, but after some research, FEMA didn’t find any training programs that meet those requirements. In response, FEMA created a free, public-service website at (www.rackhosetraining.com) for anyone hoping to learn how to use this important fire equipment.The rack hose training website was created to provide a comprehensive package of hands-on information in an interactive, interesting, and easy-to-use format.It takes visitors through all aspects of operating a fire hose stations, including key benefits, the classes of stations, and most importantly, proper use, inspection, and maintenance.“We could all benefit from more education on standpipe fire hose stations and how they are properly operated. Millions of people pass by rack hoses each day in their places of residence or employment and may not fully understand how they should be operated at the time of a fire,” says Fred Goodnight, former President of FEMA.The cornerstone of the website is an illustrated, playable demonstration of how a rack hose is operated. This web component provides step-by-step instructions and can be found on the “proper use” page, along with a segment about conditions that dictate when someone should choose to fight a fire.The website was created to become an important resource in the industry to communicate the importance and effectiveness of standpipe fire hose stations.In addition to reviewing proper operation procedures, the website leads visitors through a brief quiz at the end to put their knowledge to the test.If all the questions are answered correctly, the website will provide a printable completion certificate.In addition to the sections listed above, the website offers information about where standpipe fire hose stations are needed, a hose rack assembly diagram, and a checklist for maintaining rack hoses in proper working condition. The website also can be accessed through FEMA’s website at (www.femalifesafety.org).To order this rack hose website on CD or to inquire about additional educational materials, visit FEMA’s website at (www.femalifesafety.org) or call (216) 241-7333.This article was written by Pat Jaugstetter, president of the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (FEMA).Founded in 1930, FEMA is an international, non-profit trade association representing the world’s leading fire equipment manufacturers.Its member companies aim to provide and manufacture top-quality, fire protection products ranging from portable fire extinguishers and fire hose systems to fire suppression systems, interior equipment, and others – all necessary components of a complete and balanced fire protection plan.