We just completed the process of making “safety sleeves” for all of our schools in the Fort White community. A safety sleeve is a 10” piece of decommissioned fire hose that was donated to us by the Fort White Fire Station #46 (Columbia County Fire Rescue).
In the case of a lockdown, the sleeves can be used to fit over the door closer (hydraulic hinge) at the top of a classroom door, preventing the arm from expanding as an added form of protection for students and teachers.
With the help of Ashley Losch from the Glendale Fire Department [Arizona] and Chief Jeremy Creason with the Mayfield Fire Department [Kentucky], the two departments who laid the groundwork for this idea, we were able to build our safety sleeves in a similar fashion.
HOW IT WORKS
FORT WHITE FIRE STATION (CCFD)
Thank you Lt. Bickel for making this happen! Your love for our community shines bright and I couldn't feel more safer, knowing that you and your crew are right around the corner every B-shift, in case of an emergency. Throughout this whole process, your words "these are our kids and it's our responsibility to do everything we can to protect them" have played over and over again in my head. The words "thank you" just doesn't seem to say enough.
BUILDING THE SLEEVES
Cutting the fire hose by hand got very tiring, very fast so we resorted to using our chop saw. We flipped the blade around backwards in order to burn thru the rubber, rather than cutting thru it, hoping it wouldn't cause any damage. I'm pretty sure we killed our chop saw but it was totally worth it, making our schools safer!
OUR SAFETY SLEEVES
FORT WHITE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
A huge shout-out to Mr. Lashley at Fort White Elementary School for being just as excited about this idea as we were. I'm so very thankful that my kids have a principal like you, that didn't hesitate when sharing the idea of an added safety device.
FORT WHITE MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL
Last but certainly not least, another big thank you to Mr. Hill (security) and Mr. Duval (assistant principal) for implementing the safety sleeve idea at Fort White Middle and High School!
STEPS TO FOLLOW
Here are the things we have identified for getting the sleeves approved.
Go to your local fire department and ask them if they have any fire hoses that didn't pass testing, that they'd be willing to donate so you can make safety sleeves for your school. Because a hose didn't pass testing does not mean the hoses are bad. They can fail for serval reasons including holes, burns, pressure issues or even bad connectors, none of which affects the durability of the sleeves. Testing is normally done once or twice a year and many hoses do not pass. This is the main purpose the fire departments buys hoses in 50' sections rather than longer ones.
It's a good idea to go to your local police department to have them look at the sleeves and make sure they like the idea.
Contact the superintendent over the respective school district to gain approval for any school in the district to use the sleeves. If you're only planning to supply one school, I would advise going to the principal. We went to our schools principals to get permission because we have many schools in our district. Our superintendent said he can't approve something [like this] for a single school. We were given 3 hoses so we used them for our towns elementary, middle and high schools that our children attend.
Make sure that the sleeves are laundered prior to giving them out because old fire hose has carcinogens still on them from exposure to fire. I'd suggest doing this prior to cutting because it's easier to clean the hose in one piece. To clean the hose, use a scrub brush, dawn dish soap and water.
Determine how long the sleeves need to be (we cut ours in 10" sections to be safe). Use a razor knife and a square to cut them. We tried using a table and chop saw which I DO NOT recommend. Not only did we kill our chop saw, it also left the edges raggedy and unprofessional looking. You might also try a hot knife to cut thru the rubber. This was going to be our next tool choice. It also doesn't hurt to check with your fire department and see if they happen to have a hose cutter that you can use.
When you're in the process of building the sleeves or delivering them to your school, make sure you take pictures (and tag us on Instagram or Facebook @leading2greater) and share share share the idea to inspire others to make this happen for their schools!
SIDE NOTE: Fire hoses come in many different sizes. Our local
elementary school needed 3" hose while our middle and high schools needed 1.75" and 2.5". You might want to check this out with your school, before requesting the hose.
If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to us by phone or email. We want to sincerely thank you for making efforts to keep schools safer.
If you do decide to make this happen in your school, we're trying to keep track of schools who are using safety sleeves. Please email us and let us know the school name and where you're from!