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New lease of life for de-commissioned fire hose

New lease of life for de-commissioned fire hose

Fire hose is a key piece of firefighting equipment, and we go to great lengths to ensure our stock of 27,000 metres (nearly 18 miles) is robust and ready to deploy water, at steady pressure, around the county when required.

But what happens when one of our lines of hose reaches the end of its serviceable life?

Thanks to a chance email from an animal keeper, our hoses are now getting a second lease of life, helping to enrich the lives of endangered animals and their visitors at a local safari park.

The BFRS Equipment Team were approached by one of the small animal keepers at Woburn Safari Park, looking for help to build enrichment for animals at the Park, such as lemurs and squirrel monkeys.

The request couldn’t have come at a better time for the Team, who were looking for a way to dispose of a batch of firefighting hoses which had recently be de-commissioned following routine checks.

Old fire hose is apparently the perfect resource when it comes to creating platforms, hammocks, feeding devices and hanging scoobies, for small mammals.

Tony Hart, Asset Management Technician, explains:

“Ellie’s email came in at the perfect time – we had just heard that some of the hoses we had sent off for routine testing, had been designated as beyond repair and therefore at the end of their serviceable life for us.

“While we do repair or cut down hoses, there comes a point where it is no longer a viable or safe option. When a hose is beyond repair, it is decommissioned, and unfortunately there are not that many disposal routes for them.“

The hoses are around 25 metres in length and made from Duraline (a high-grade synthetic rubber and polyamide jacket). As a Service we are always looking for more environmentally friendly ways to protect the environment we work in, and this extends to how we dispose of end-of-life equipment and waste.

Catherine Doherty, Acting Head of Animal Encounters at Woburn Safari Park said:

“We’re really grateful to the Team at BFRS for their kind donation of hose. Enrichment plays a big part in the lives of the animals at the Park and although the types of activities vary, every form is designed to keep the animals minds and bodies active and to help the animals engage their natural instincts.

“The hose might become a new ladder, a hammock, a feeder, a swing… our Keepers have some fantastic ideas, and it won’t be long before they’re put to great use!”

Tony added:

“When this opportunity came up we were thrilled to think that our old equipment could be donated to the animals. It’s great to think that we have contributed to enriching the lives of the lemurs and their friends within the Foot Safari.

“There is scope for us to build on this, as other large animals at this park, or others, may be able to benefit from future batches of fire hose or other larger pieces of equipment, such as old tyres from appliances and vans, when we need to dispose of them.”

Recognised as a centre of excellence for the conservation of endangered wildlife, Woburn Safari Park is set in over 300 acres. It is home to hundreds of exotic and endangered animals, including the ring-tailed lemursred-bellied lemurs, and black and white ruffed lemurs who will be the initial recipients of the hose.

Lemur land within Woburn Foot Safari

We also use old hoses in “role-related testing” for applicants interested in becoming one of our firefighters.

You can find out more, and watch a video of the role related tests, at Becoming an On-Call Firefighter

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