5″ Fire Hose (part 2) – from “Bring Water”… to now literally… “Carrying the Mail!
When I was a rookie almost 30 years ago, the size up on some structure fires might include the phrase “carrying the mail”. As we practice size up’s with my new rookies, of course, there are always stories of the good old days. I don’t think you can hang around a fire station and an old firefighter without them. I told them that occasionally, someone would report out with that term. They had no idea what I was talking about. I also told them that I would like to use the phrase one more time before I retire. However, I realize since our department is now a much younger department and the size up is given to give a visual to all incoming fire apparatus of what you have, if this term means nothing to our younger department, then it would be useless to utilize. Usually a size up will include the unit on scene, the number of stories, clarification if residential or commercial, the type of construction and the current condition. This is where the term ‘carrying the mail’ came in long ago. On ‘your dictionary’ on the web, it states the definition is
- (chiefly US, idiomatic) To work diligently; to serve as the principal performer of a demanding task or set of tasks.
When someone would give that size up it would typically be in this context. “Engine 2 is on scene at a one story residential large brick home with a pitched roof CARRYING THE MAIL”. What that meant for everyone en route was that the structure was well involved. Today, we do a little bit better job of painting the picture. My goal is going to be to just add it to the end of my size up … just one time before I retire. So I’ll still paint a good picture by our current SOP standards of size-up but just tack on that phrase at the end.
But back to my project of the part 2 of the 5″ Fire Hose where usually the first in engine tells the second up engine to “Bring Water”. I was glad that I thought of a project to incorporate this bigger and bulkier hose into a project. So literally now, this hose is “Carrying the Mail”. As I stated, I did think when you looked at the 5″ covered mail box post before our station installed it, it just looked okay. But now that it is actually finished and sunk in the ground, I just love it.
I just happened to bring in the mailbox post on a Saturday. That is already yard day for our department. Luckily, I also had a crew of willing participants to help me install it. It was going to be created at the fire station for a station project but we could never find the time to do it during daylight hours. I ended up taking the post home and creating it from there. The first problem that we encountered was that I made the height of the mailbox from the grass level and completely forgot that we had a curb. In order to have the mailbox set at the right height, we needed to cut 6″ off the end. We also had to cut a few inches of the 5″ hose from the end as well to keep a good portion of 4 x 4 post exposed.
One of the problems with our previous mail post was that over time, the base had been destroyed by the weed-eater. We created a concrete form out of extra wood at the station. It was a great idea that my driver had and it will save the mail post and the 5″ from future damage. The one problem that I made for myself was to not exposed enough 4 x 4 post. I should have cut the 5″ hose so that it barely sunk into the concrete. At first, we had a wobbly post as the 5″ is a firm hose and did not allow the concrete to form securely around the base. This was solved by making slits in the lower portion of 5″ so the concrete could fill in between the two surfaces.