Technical solutions are available to support the “Clean Fire Station” operating principle. The Hosemaster unit for washing hoses provides even safer and more efficient hose maintenance.
The washing, drying and pressurizing of fire hoses has traditionally been slow and exhaustive work.
When maintaining hoses, fire station personnel are also often exposed to substances through the respiratory air and skin that may result in illnesses, such as cancer.
The Occupational Health Institute has therefore recommended various means to the rescue departments by which to reduce the exposure of their personnel to such substances in fire station maintenance facilities.
One such way is provided by the Hosemaster fire hose maintenance system based on the development work of Swedish firefighters. The unit provides automatic washing, test pressurizing, drying, hole detection and coiling.
The system is closed so that the machine operator is not exposed to foam residues or dangerous propellant gases that are released during the washing process.
In Finland, Hosemaster is in use at ten fire stations. The most recent delivery was made to the Kymenlaakso Rescue Department and the previous was to the Kiuruvesi Fire Station of the Northern Savo Rescue Department.
Allgotech, the manufacturer of Hosemaster, was recently acquired by the Finnish company Veikko Nummela Oy. The cooperation between the two companies has deepened as a result of the acquisition, as the Swedish manufacturer needed stronger shoulders for sales work, while the Finnish company was interested in the innovation made by their neighbour.
Managing Director Iivari Kalliomäki has been following the product development of the washing system for years. Firefighter Per-Arne Fritjofsson, who built the first prototype in his garage, is behind the Hosemaster idea.
- Hose maintenance is a physically exhaustive work, in addition to the handling of dirty hoses and detergents that expose workers to illness-causing substances. This was the problem that Per-Arne chose to develop a solution for, says Kalliomäki.
- The “Clean Fire Station” principle has always been at the heart of the development work. The washing machine may speed up the work, but the greatest intention of the invention was to reduce the health hazards involved.
In addition to occupational safety, the automated hose maintenance unit is an economically sensible investment, Kalliomäki continues. When washing and pressurizing one hose in a basin, over a hundred litres of water is used, whilst the new washing unit only requires about five litres per hose. Thus, the significant water savings gained are also important to the environment.
Savings in working times are also significant. The washing process is quick and one user can even take care of twenty hoses per hour. Efficiency is also reflected in savings in electrical energy.
In Sweden, the power of Hosemaster has been proven in post-forest fire maintenance. The first real test concerned fires that took place in Västmanland in the summer of 2014, during which firefighters used close to 900 kilometres of fire hoses. With the traditional way of washing, perhaps up to a year would be wasted on the maintenance. The Provincial Government, however, rented a washing unit, resulting in the task being completed within three and a half months.
The Clean Fire Station principle in premises planning is already being considered in the construction of new fire stations. If hose maintenance is to be carried out with a washing system, it is possible to combine the prevention of exposure and the efficiency of the use of the premises in the station projects.
- The new fire stations at Kerava-Tuusula and Kiuruvesi have already included Hosemaster during early stages of the design process. Thanks to the washing service, the hose maintenance facilities were optimized to be as efficient as possible, thereby saving on expensive premises space. The maintenance premises were able to be compact and functional, says Kalliomäki.
Hose towers and long maintenance tables are also things of the past in old stations when the basic maintenance equipment is upgraded to modern, automatic washing units.
For more information, go to www.allgotech.com