It seems counterintuitive: fire hoses – the key firefighting tool used by firefighters across the country -- are not fire-resistant. Yet the hoses, usually made from woven cotton and rubber, can burn through when they are not charged with water, putting firefighters in grave danger.
With funding from the Last Call Foundation, researchers in WPI’s Fire Protection and Engineering Department are working to fix a weak link by taking the first steps toward the development of a fire-resistant attack hose.
As part of the project, the research team will:
Document the current state of the art in fire hose manufacturing and examine the materials currently used in fire hoses and how they perform when exposed to fire.
Investigate other materials designed for use in high-temperature environments and explore their suitability for use in fire hoses.
Study how fire hoses are manufactured in other nations to see if there are any lessons to be learned, and study applicable codes, standards, and approvals processes in the United States, and the functionality requirements of the fire service.
Organize a workshop at WPI to vet their findings with a variety of stakeholders, including representatives of the fire service.
This phase of the research will produce a list of potential new materials or combinations of materials for fire hoses that can then be tested for fire performance in WPI’s fire protection engineering laboratories.
HOSE BURN-THROUGH SURVEY
WPI invites firefighters to participate in a survey if you have experienced a burn-through of a fire attack hose. Answers will help WPI and the Last Call Foundation to create the first national database of burn-through occurrences. Take the Survey.