Fire Hose reels
Fire hose reels is a hand operated firefighting equipment which are installed in the new buildings through the recommendation of the National Fire Authority and are subject to certain conditions for the safety of all the occupants.
It is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control a fire, often in emergency situation primarily used to respond to fires in the early stages of development. A competent person with a well serviced and maintained fire hose reel can prevent a disaster from occurring. The equipment should be well identified and conveniently located to provide a reasonably accessible and controlled supply of water to combat a potential fire risk, especially where building occupants are trapped and cannot escape to an emergency exit. Fire hose reels are manufactured to comply with approved standards. They are connected to the main water supply and are either wall-mounted or in cabinets. They require appropriate signage indicating their location and suitability.
The length of a fully extended fire hose may range between 18 and 36 metres with a maximum diametre of 25 millimetre. All the water inlet supply pipes above the ground is to be made of galvanised piping as heat is one of the component of fire and can have an adverse effect and may melt should it be made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. These equipments may be mounted between 1.5 and 2.4 metres on the wall and painted red which indicates apart from the fire fighting it cannot be used for any other purpose. A properly designed fire hose can reach flames from a safe distance using pressurised water. The amount of water can quickly put dangerous flames under control and also help to create a barrier preventing the spread of the fire. I have noted that many buildings that the above surface water inlet pipes are made of PVC here in Fiji. This is done because working with PVC pipes are easier and quicker thus ignoring the National Building Code standards and placing the people at a very high risk. The Suva market is one such location and must be corrected. The relevant authorities must audit such equipment when conducting the annual inspection at the work places with the view to renew their business licence.
This proactive approach will ensure safety of all in the building and nearby vicinity.