Photo: Courtesy BCARS HP079768
Hose is vital in firefighting, in most cases
it’s the only way to get the “wet stuff on the
hot stuff”. The early volunteer engine companies of
the VFD had members equipped with hand-drawn reels (“jumpers”)
and responded to a fire alarm at the same time as the engine.
At this time all apparatus was hand-hauled and the riveted
leather hose was too cumbersome and too heavy to be carried
on other apparatus. Large wheels were necessary to cope with
unpaved, rutted roads and could be hauled more easily and
faster than if they were smaller. Long tow ropes and harnesses
enabled hose teams to get the hose to the fire quickly. Hose
could be laid quickly from a reel of this type.
Changes in apparatus meant an end to front-line
use by the 1880s and the hand-hauled hose reels were largely
relegated to newly-established volunteer companies, or were
retained for use in competitions.
Some hand-hauled hose reels survived into the 1950s and even
later, in some instances, in industrial firefighting. Though
much smaller, they were essentially the same.
Text: David Parker, Historian/Curator,