Hose reels are quickly becoming an endangered species on holiday parks but they are slightly more common on residential caravan parks and so they are worth discussing.
There was a time when hose reels were king but their reign has come to an end. Why? They are really good at fighting fires but there are some drawbacks.
First, although the hose reel may be great at its job, the person using it may not be. After all, they’re unlikely to be a professional firefighter.
It's all about mindset. A fire extinguisher is designed to aid escape from a building or tackle a small fire (The first rule of fire safety school). Extinguisher discharge times reflect this with an average of less than a minute. If that small fire hasn’t been extinguished after a minute then perhaps it wasn’t so small after all and you should run! (I meant to say leave the building in a calm orderly manner leaving all possessions behind – rule two)
Contrast this with a hose reel which is capable of churning out gallons of water; there’s no cut-off and your staff or customers may be putting themselves in unnecessary danger trying to tackle a fire rather than just evacuating the area and calling the professionals.
When we conduct a fire risk assessment (FRA) we have to consider the capability of the individual using the fire equipment and a significant portion of residential parks are aimed at the over 60’s demographic. Have you ever unravelled a 35m fire hose reel? Let's just say I wouldn’t ask my ninety-year-old grandmother to do her best World’s Strongest Man impression.
As a quick side note; the Model Standards 2008 for Residential Parks recommends that each unit is within 30m of a park fire point and that a fire point is equipped with either a hose reel or two 9ltr Water Extinguishers. A 9ltr extinguisher is around 15kg in weight. Have you ever tried the 60m sprint carrying a 15kg fire extinguisher? No, it’s not my cup of tea either.
I was going to save this for another blog but I’m on a roll. Do you know why there are two extinguishers in a fire point? In case one doesn’t work! Hang on! So, I’ve paid £60 for a fire extinguisher and for it to be professionally commissioned and installed, I have to pay for annual servicing, it has all the British Standards and CE markings and yet someone has decided that it might not work! So now I have to buy two!
Want to see some more problems with traditional fire extinguishers on park then check out this YouTube video. Excuse the lockdown hair!
So what’s the answer? I’m sorry to say that it’s probably to ditch the hose reels. We’ve been justifying their existence for too long and it’s probably time to draw a line in the sand. However, here’s where Park Fire Safety starts to apply some common sense, let’s just replace them with one good, lightweight fire extinguisher. After all, if one hasn’t worked then its probably time to run!
We recommend the P50 extinguisher because it ticks all the boxes for the park industry, and you won’t have to fork out a fortune for annual servicing. Remember, it’s important to have all this documented in a decent fire risk assessment.
If you have hose reels and think it is time to change them then give us a call today!
Tel 07834 633178