How Firefighters Roll The Hose? Unveiling the Epic Technique

Firefighters are often regarded as everyday heroes, putting their lives on the line to protect others during emergencies. One crucial aspect of their job involves strategically using equipment, including properly handling a vital tool: the hose.

In this blog, we will explore the techniques and methods firefighters employ when rolling and managing hoses, an essential skill that ensures the effective deployment of water during firefighting operations.

Join us as we delve into the world of firefighting and uncover the intricacies of how firefighters roll the hose, preparing themselves for the challenges they face on the front lines.

How Firefighters Roll The Hose

Different Types Of Fire Hose

There are several types of fire hoses designed to meet different firefighting needs. The choice of fire hose depends on factors such as the type of fire, water pressure, environment, and specific firefighting tactics. Here are some common types of fire hoses and their uses:

Attack Hose

Purpose: Attack hoses deliver high-pressure water or foam directly to the fire to extinguish it. They are designed for maneuverability and flexibility.

Characteristics: Lightweight, durable, and abrasion-resistant. Usually, they come in diameters of 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

Use Cases: Initial fire attack, interior firefighting, vehicle fires, structural firefighting.

Supply Hose

Purpose: Supply hoses are larger-diameter hoses that transport water from a hydrant to firefighting equipment.

Characteristics: They have a larger diameter, typically 3 to 5 inches, to accommodate high water flow rates.

Use Cases: Connecting fire engines to hydrants or water sources, establishing water supply lines for large fires.

Booster Hose

Purpose: Booster hoses are lightweight and carry water from the fire engine’s pump to a nozzle at relatively high pressure.

Characteristics: Smaller diameter than attack hoses, often around ¾ to 1 inch.

Use Cases: Wildland firefighting, mop-up operations, small-scale fires.

Forestry Hose

Purpose: Forestry hoses are designed for use in wildland and forest firefighting. They need to be lightweight and highly maneuverable.

Characteristics: Lightweight, compact, resistant to abrasion and punctures.

Cases: Wildland firefighting, rural and forest fires.

Supply and Relay Hose

Purpose: These hoses transport water over longer distances in relay pumping operations.

Characteristics: Larger diameter and high-pressure capacity to maintain water flow over extended distances.

Use Cases: Relay pumping operations, where water must be transported from a distant source to the fire.

High-Pressure Hose

Purpose: High-pressure hoses are designed to handle very high water pressures and are used in specialized firefighting situations.

Characteristics: Constructed to handle pressures beyond standard hoses, often reinforced with additional layers.

Use Cases: High-rise firefighting, industrial firefighting, and situations requiring extreme water pressure.

Hydraulic Rescue Tool Hose

Purpose: These hoses supply hydraulic fluid to rescue tools such as spreaders and cutters.

Characteristics: Highly durable, able to withstand high pressures, and designed to resist damage.

Use Cases: Vehicle extrication, technical rescue operations.

Suction Hose

Purpose: Suction hoses draw water from a static water source (like a pond or pool) to the pump on a fire engine.

Characteristics: Flexible, designed to prevent collapse under negative pressure.

Use Cases: Drafting water from static water sources, water shuttle operations.

Fire Hose Rolling Techniques

Properly rolling a fire hose is crucial for efficient deployment and storage. Different rolling techniques can be employed based on the type of hose, the specific needs of the fire department, and the available equipment. Here are some common methods of rolling fire hoses:

Flat Load Method

  • Lay the hose flat on the ground.
  • Start at the male end (the end with the couplings) and fold it back on itself in a zigzag pattern.
  • Continue folding until the entire hose is compactly folded.
  • This method is efficient for loading hoses into hose beds or compartments.

Donut Roll Method

  • Fold the hose in half to find the midpoint.
  • Start from the midpoint and coil the hose into a circular shape resembling a donut.
  • Continue coiling until you reach the end.
  • This method is quick and useful for smaller hoses or limited space.

Accordion Fold Method

  • Lay the hose flat on the ground.
  • Fold the hose back and forth in a zigzag pattern, creating folds like an accordion.
  • Keep the folds relatively uniform and tight.
  • This method is suitable for larger-diameter hoses and helps reduce kinks during deployment.

Minute Man Load

  • Lay the hose flat on the ground.
  • Fold the hose in half, and then fold it in half again.
  • Begin rolling from the folded end, creating a tight and compact roll.
  • This method facilitates quick and easy deployment.

Triple Layer Load

  • Lay the hose flat on the ground.
  • Divide the hose into three equal sections along its length.
  • Fold one section over the middle section, then the remaining section over the others.
  • This creates a compact bundle for easy handling.

Minuteman Load with Shoulder Strap

  • Use the Minute Man Load method as described above.
  • Attach a shoulder strap to the rolled hose for easy carrying over the shoulder.

High Shoulder Load

  • Lift one end of the hose over your shoulder.
  • Allow the hose to drape over your back, forming loops.
  • Continue looping until the entire hose is coiled over your shoulder.
  • This method is useful for carrying charged hoses up ladders or across uneven terrain.

Chicago Load

  • Coil the hose into a circular shape, starting from one end and working towards the other.
  • Use straps or webbing to secure the coiled hose in place.
  • This method is commonly used for loading hoses onto fire apparatus.

How To Unroll The Hose

Unrolling a fire hose properly is essential to ensure a quick and efficient deployment during firefighting operations. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to unroll a fire hose using a commonly used method:

Preparation: Ensure the hose is properly loaded and secured in its storage compartment or bed.

Make sure the nozzle end (female coupling) is easily accessible and positioned towards the direction of deployment.

Team Coordination: If working with a team, communicate clearly to ensure everyone is ready for the hose to be unrolled.

Initial Movement:  Grasp the nozzle end of the hose with one hand.

Use your other hand to grab the hose a few feet behind the nozzle, creating tension.

Initial Unrolling: Step away from the storage compartment while maintaining tension on the hose.

As you move forward, allow the hose to unroll smoothly. Avoid letting it tangle or kink.

Walking Backwards:  Continue walking backward while holding the nozzle end and allowing the hose to unroll naturally.

Keep the hose elevated slightly to prevent it from snagging on obstacles.

Guiding the Hose: Use your free hand to guide the hose if necessary, ensuring it doesn’t get caught on objects or obstacles.

Maintaining Control: Maintain a steady pace and control the unrolling hose to prevent it from getting tangled or running out of control.

Nozzle Handling: As the hose unrolls, keep the nozzle end under control and be prepared to advance to the fire scene.

Stopping: If you need to stop unrolling temporarily, communicate with your team to ensure everyone is aware.

Connecting to a Water Source: Once the desired length of the hose is unrolled, carefully set down the nozzle end.

Connect the nozzle end to a water source (fire hydrant or pump).

Advancing: Advance towards the fire scene while advancing the charged hose line, allowing the water to flow to the nozzle.

Deployment: Reach the desired position for firefighting operations and begin battling the fire using the charged hose line.


Firefighters employ meticulous techniques to roll hoses effectively, ensuring seamless deployment and storage during firefighting operations.

Various rolling methods, such as the flat load, donut roll, and accordion fold, are chosen based on the hose type and operational requirements.

These techniques are honed through training, enabling firefighters to swiftly and safely roll hoses, preserving their integrity for rapid response and efficient firefighting.