We use a variety of hose to tackle fire and floods, and have a team who manufacture and repair this crucial part of our equipment

Maintaining our hose

London Fire Brigade’s Technical Rescue & Hose team manufacture and repair our hose. Here’s Team Leader Paul talking about their work.

Types of hose

We use different types of hose – varying in diameter and length:

  • 22mm hose – at 18.3m in length this yellow high pressure hose reel can be used in small spaces, as it’s easy to manoeuvre.
  • 45mm hose – at 23m in length this is the standard hose, commonly used in house fires. Most of our 45mm hose is red, but when it needs to be taken out of service, we’re replacing it with yellow hose which is easier to see.
  • 70mm hose – at 23m in length this hose is used in different scenarios. Its wide diameter delivers lots of water fast, but the weight of that water makes it harder to manoeuvre. This hose is also being replaced with yellow hose.
  • 70mm aerial hose – with some added length bringing this hose to 30m, it can be used on aerial appliances.
  • 12mm chimney hose – this slim hose has a rose on the end, which spurts water in all directions, helping to extinguish fires in chimneys

Hose layer units (HLU)

HLU are vehicles located across London ready to be mobilised. Each HLU contains 140 sections of 90mm hose, each 30m in length (4km in total). So when there’s a fire without a nearby hydrant or water source, a HLU can lay hose from the nearest water source all the way to the fire.

High volume pumping units (HVP)

A HVP carries a submersible pump, with a very wide hose. This can be used both to suck up and remove water in a flood, and draw water from bodies of water which can then be used to fire fires.

Hose manufacture

Of all the fire and rescue services in the UK London Fire Brigade is the only one that boasts an in-house hose manufacturer. We’re classed as manufacturers because the Technical Rescue & Hose team couple the hose themselves. They use a unique binding technique with 3 banks of 8 binds, which incorporates a failsafe other manufacturers don’t usually provide.

You can see Neil couple a hose here:

Hose repair

The team also carry out repairs to hose damaged by bursts, broken glass or any kind of pinprick. The repair process is similar to repairing a bicycle tyre, where the hole is initially made bigger, fitted with an inside patch, and an outside patch, and then heated. This process is called vulcanisation and takes around 40 mins.

You can see Neil repair a hose here:

Carrying out this work in-house rather than shipping hose off for repair means damaged hose are fixed and back in action faster – no waiting around to gather a few damaged hose before sending them off to be repaired at the same time.

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