It was all about water during Thursday night’s Citizen’s Fire Academy session. Class members were treated to one-on-one time with a fire hose.
Members were each allowed to use a 1-3/4-inch wide hose that hooked to the hydrant at the Farmers Market. Training officer Capt. Phil Mitchell says while the hose does not sound large, it puts out about 150 pounds of pressure.
“This not your everyday garden hose,” said Mitchell. “It you don’t lean into it, it will push you back. You will need at least two people holding the hose with you.”
The department has hoses up to 4 inches wide. Those offer approximately 200 pounds of pressure and are mainly used from the hydrant to the fire pumper. The smaller hose is actually used by firefighters.
McMinnville Fire Chief Randy Walker says the fire dictates which hose to use.
“Each fire is different,” said Walker. “About 90 percent of the time, we will use the hose class members used to fight a fire. And, about 90 percent of the time, the 4-inch hose is used from the hydrant to the fire pumper.”
The pressure got to class member Jan Shinpaugh, literally.
“I about lost it,” said Shinpaugh.
Just prior to the fire hose snaking out of control, firefighter Scott Norrod took a stronger hold of the hose to prevent it from breaking free. A few of the class members got a gentle spraying from the errant hose.
After the hands-on water hose exercise, class members received instruction on how to properly store a hose using a straight roll, donut roll, or twin donut roll to properly store the hoses. Straight rolls are usually used for storing hoses on a hose rack, while donut rolls and twin donut rolls are most common on the fire truck.
Did you know fire hydrants are color coded so the department will know the water capability of each? Red offers less than 500 gallons per minute, orange is 500 to 1,000 gallons per minute, green is 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute, and blue offers over 1,500 gallons per minute.
Mitchell says residents should refrain from painting the hydrant in their yard.
“If you are a Tennessee Vols fan, do not paint the hydrant in your yard orange,” said Mitchell. “Please leave it alone. It is very important we know how many gallons per minute we will get from that particular hydrant.”
Walker says he hasn’t had much of a problem with McMinnville residents painting hydrants, but he has seen it.
“In Kentucky where I grew up, we had this same lady who would paint the hydrant in her front yard,” he said. “Once she painted it to look like a Dalmatian. We tried to explain it to her that we needed her to leave it alone, and she offered to paint other hydrants. She just didn’t understand we paint them for a reason.”
Hoses and hydrants are routinely checked by the department to ensure all are in working order.
Citizens Fire Academy is offered by McMinnville Fire Department as a way for residents to see the inner workings of the department and the day-to-day activities of firefighters.