Extinguishing mine fires

September 1, 2009

Having a fire hose available at a mine can be a lifesaver – but only a hose that is in good condition and in the right location. When installing a fire hose, the Mine Safety and Health Admini­stration reminds workers to be sure an adequate number of hoses are placed in easily accessible areas. A laminated list of equipment should be on hand at each storage site. The agency further recommends that hoses used for equipment operation be stored near fire hoses so they also may be used in the event of a fire. Fire taps should be equipped with a gated wye valve so two hoses can be used simultaneously.

To keep fire hoses working properly for their intended jobs, MSHA recommends mine operators:

  • Standardize all hose and pipe connections located in mines
  • Install manifolds with multiple hose connections so that more than one hose can be used to fight a mine fire
  • Install the manifolds in the upright position upwind of the belt drive so a suspension system and fire hose can be operated simultaneously
  • Store fire hoses in short coiled lengths for easy handling and transport
  • Use fire hose nozzles rated for the correct water pressure
  • Check for missing gaskets when connecting a fire hose

In addition, workers should be certain fire hoses are kept in good condition. This can be accomplished by seeing that vehicles are not driven over hoses, and hoses are not dragged over sharp objects. Also be mindful that the hose does not become pinched between equipment and the mine floor.