SMITHERS - Hydrostatic engineers from Michigan-based Fire CATT are in Fayette County testing thousands of feet of water hose for 16 fire departments.
"We have 13,000 feet of hose," said Benny Filiaggi, deputy chief for the Montgomery Fire Department. "This is the second year they have done this for us. Before that, we did it individually using our trucks. This means we can use training time for training instead of testing water hoses. Fayette County has 16 departments. Oak Hill is the largest with 15,000 feet of hose."
He said the National Fire Protection Association requires that hoses be tested annually.
Fire CATT, an acronym for critical asset testing and tracking, was founded in 2007 and has done work in 24 states, said President Marc Radecky.
Employee Christian Smith has traveled throughout the country testing hoses for fire departments, oil refineries, and asphalt companies.
"It's fun," he said. "We see lots of places."
He said title of an employee doing this specialized type of work would be hose technician or hydrostatic engineer.
On a recent day, the crew worked on the parking lot between Valley Elementary and Valley High School in Smithers.
They removed all hoses from a Montgomery Fire Department truck and spread them on the ground.
Each hose is hooked to a manifold that is connected to a computerized system. The hose is checked for any flaws and tested to see that it meets proper PSI (pounds per square inch) standards.
An automated pressure release system is used. At the end of each test all hose pressure is released through this system eliminating the need for manual release of high pressure. The system senses sudden pressure loss and immediately shuts the valve cutting off pressure and water to that length of hose. Go to www.firecatt.com for details about the process.