The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Firefighting – Part 14

November 15, 2018 1:38 pm

In LWFs fire safety engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have begun to look at firefighting. In part 13, we began to look at how firefighting can be undertaken by the occupiers of a building if a fire starts. The use of portable fire extinguishers was discussed along with relevant training was discussed. In part 14, the provision of hose reels and the standards involved will be covered.


The difference between a fire extinguisher and a hose reel is significant. An extinguisher contains a solution or foam which interacts with a fire in a certain way, depending upon the type of extinguisher. Plain water extinguishers can also be used but only contain the limited amount of water that can be carried in the tank. A hose reel is a length of rubber tubing, wound onto a rotating drum with a nozzle at the loose end which can be turned on and shut off to start and stop the water flow.


The hose is connected to a permanent water supply and the nozzle should be a shut-off type which allows either a plain jet of water to be emitted or a combination jet/spray discharge pattern. A hose reel can be used as a first line measure when fire breaks out by the building occupiers and may also be utilised by the Fire Service upon attendance, although reliance is not commonly placed on this.


Because a greater water flow is possible with a hose reel than a fire extinguisher, they are a more resilient and reliable method of firefighting.


Three different types of hose reel are commonly seen:


Fixed – The hose reel rotates from a fixed position and a guide is provided which allows the hose to be pulled from the reel without becoming tangled. The reel is fixed to a wall or floor, sometimes with a supporting pedestal. On occasions where the hose is to be concealed, it can be found behind a panel with either an opening or a hinged flap through which the hose can be pulled.


Swinging – The reel is hinged on the side and can be rotated through approximately 180 degrees which allows the hose to be reeled out without the need for a guide.


Swinging recessed – The same idea as the swinging hose reel design but designed to fit into a recess. Where the hose reel must be hidden for practical or decorative reasons, both recessed and swinging recessed hoses can be housed in a cabinet.


In part 15 of this series, LWF will continue looking at hose reels by discussing the different operating methods available on hose reels. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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