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Thread: Hose Testing: Walk on the Left

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    Default Hose Testing: Walk on the Left

    I'm helping to instruct a local FFII course and the question of why it's necessary to walk on the left of the hose line while the hose is under service test pressure has come up.

    More interesting to me is that a read-through of the current version of NFPA 1962 shows that this requirement to walk the hose line 15 feet to the left only exists when using a hose testing machine and not when using fire apparatus as a pressure source.

    The relevant sections of NFPA 1962: 4.8.5.2.14.1 for use of a hose testing machine, and 4.8.6.13.1 for use of a stationary pump or fire department apparatus. The latter states that the inspection of couplings can be made from 15 feet away on either side of the hose line.

    The only explanation I can begin to come up with is that the threading on the couplings may cause the hose to flail to the right in the case of a failure, but this doesn't make much sense to me. It also doesn't account for why this does not apply to testing using fire apparatus.

    Thanks!

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    I think it has been analyzed before maybe to a search

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    I can only guess that it's because test pressure is higher than usual operating pressure.

    Also, when actually operating, you're much less likely to have the option of which side to be on or how far away you can be.

    It's not about the threads on the couplings. (Probably the last thing that will fail.) It's about the way the hose itself is made and possibly how water moves through hose.

    We have always tested hose with apparatus and the instruction to stand to left has been on the books forever.
    Last edited by captnjak; 05-28-2014 at 01:09 PM.

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    We have gate valves used specifically for testing. They have a small hole drilled in the gate, so the "left side" rule is moot. if a hose fails, it's not going anyway because it will lose pressure immediately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    We have gate valves used specifically for testing. They have a small hole drilled in the gate, so the "left side" rule is moot. if a hose fails, it's not going anyway because it will lose pressure immediately.
    we just gate em down
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    we just gate em down

    That works too, ours are just older valves that are spares so they usually have one or two per battalion.
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    Our department has 2 hose testers and both have built in valves that operate on the same concept as the gate valve with a hole in it. When a coupling fails, and I have witnessed this, the hose doesn't go anywhere. The coupling goes out 10' or so, the hose deflates where it was laying and the only movement appears to be as it shrinks back to the unpressurized position because the valves do not allow for a significant flow that would whip the hose around.

    Walt.
    Last edited by FFWALT; 06-08-2014 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Completing the thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    we just gate em down
    And the parts departments from the valve and pump manufacturers thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johngagemn View Post
    And the parts departments from the valve and pump manufacturers thank you.
    explain please
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    Um, is it the left of the hose when facing the "pump" end or left of the hose when facing away from the "pump" end?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Just walk on the wild side

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    Excellent answers all and thank you. About the same one here. We cracked the attached nozzle, then worked up to the required pressure, but flowing very little volume, then beened down. This also helped the pump cooler which sometimes did not work. Seemed to work. We had to do the 5 minute overpressure test back then. We used an old engine.

    That was when we were even more careful and tried to stand well clear of all the hose lines. This was about in 1972, so again, you get an idea of safe progress since then. All done in 2 hot weeks. I can not think of any compelling reason why such a technique would strain or damage a gate valve. We had a little flow going. What am I missing here?

    HB of CJ (old coot) Retarded Engineer. Long ago and far away. Who woulda' thunked it? ISO Class 1 back then.

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    We also do it at height of summer. I wonder why. And who came up with it? A guy who never had to do it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    We also do it at height of summer. I wonder why. And who came up with it? A guy who never had to do it?
    You're not alone brother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    We also do it at height of summer. I wonder why. And who came up with it? A guy who never had to do it?
    My career FD always did it in July and August. This despite us requesting to do it in the early spring.
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    Ours was cancelled a year or so ago due to it being too cold out.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    explain please
    Too may things to go wrong. Also, running valves throttled down that far is a good way to torch the seals if something starts to flow. Running the pump at enough pressure to test hose you need to flow a MINIMUM of 100 to 150 GPM to avoid overheat and especially recirculation cavitation damage (much worse in single stage pumps). You can buy a whole fleet of hose testing pumps for what it will cost you in the life shortening of your fire pump that happens when you hose test. Fire pumps aren't made to deadhead high pressure. They are made to move water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johngagemn View Post
    Too may things to go wrong. Also, running valves throttled down that far is a good way to torch the seals if something starts to flow. Running the pump at enough pressure to test hose you need to flow a MINIMUM of 100 to 150 GPM to avoid overheat and especially recirculation cavitation damage (much worse in single stage pumps). You can buy a whole fleet of hose testing pumps for what it will cost you in the life shortening of your fire pump that happens when you hose test. Fire pumps aren't made to deadhead high pressure. They are made to move water.
    I guess I still don't understand -- when hose testing we hook to a hydrant bring the hose up to pressure, gate the discharges, I open the tank fill about 1/4 let the tank just overflow, lay a hand on the steamer and make sure the pumps still cool. been doing it that way for years, with no problems.
    ?

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    At 300+ psi you can and will cook the ball and seals on your tank fill valve that way. Throttling a vale under that kind of pressure while flowing causes things like this:
    Name:  Scorched Valve.jpg
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    Simply put, you are using the pump and associated systems on your truck in a manner they were never designed to be used. When do you ever pump a pressure that high and then gate a valve back so far?

    Certainly excusable to do if necessary if you are in a life hazard situation as people come before equipment. Doing it for the purpose of testing hose is being unnecessarily harsh on your equipment for absolutely no good reason. There are tools specifically designed for that task that present much less danger to the personnel involved in the testing and no risk to expensive equipment.
    Last edited by Johngagemn; 08-06-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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    to be clear , I fill the hoses at a moderate pressure ((roughly 50 psi) bleed the air, gate the valves down to a "trickle" lock em, then pressure up. I don't try and gate em down against high pressure. I guess I have just been lucky.
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    You have. Lots of people get lucky. How long do you want to press your luck is the question.

    What happens when someone forgets to throttle one of those discharge valves and a line bursts while someone is walking it? What if you weren't moving enough water and the pump was overheating badly? You have someone who winds up with a broken leg or worse, and/or someone who gets scalded badly by boiling water. You can say "it won't happen because I'm careful" all you want. Lots of others who have been hurt on the job for no good reason have said the same thing.

    The question you should be asking yourself is this: why would you intentionally put your firefighters at risk and abuse your equipment that way?
    Just a guy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johngagemn View Post
    You have. Lots of people get lucky. How long do you want to press your luck is the question.

    What happens when someone forgets to throttle one of those discharge valves and a line bursts while someone is walking it? What if you weren't moving enough water and the pump was overheating badly? You have someone who winds up with a broken leg or worse, and/or someone who gets scalded badly by boiling water. You can say "it won't happen because I'm careful" all you want. Lots of others who have been hurt on the job for no good reason have said the same thing.

    The question you should be asking yourself is this: why would you intentionally put your firefighters at risk and abuse your equipment that way?
    I have asked the question , the answer is we have more pressing needs which not having can also put the men in a dangerous situation , in a perfect world our underfunded department would either A purchase a hose testing machine or B sub it out. Hose testing is a some what controlled situation as opposed to an emergency response, you are right there is a chance someone will forget to gate the valve down, but it is slim as we gate the valve down and crack the nozzle again to check, even with the valves gated down we check for "creep" from a distance. As far as the pump boiling , the operator never leaves the pump panel and almost constantly keeps his hand on the steamer to check for heat build up.
    ?

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