"My back hurts." This is one complaint fire-service supervisors hate to hear. So, to save our careers (and our workers' compensation budgets), we must do whatever we can to prevent back injuries. In response to this need, Javier Fernandez, a career firefighter in Wisconsin and creator of RollNRack LLC, is patenting a tool he designed to protect firefighters from one of the biggest causes of back injuries: lifting rolls of large-diameter hose (LDH). Fernandez also seems to be one of the hardest working guys in the industry, constantly demonstrating his new tool at trade shows and trying to alert firefighters to its benefits. The product, called the RollNRack hose-management system, is an innovative answer to the tough job of draining and loading hose, because it requires fewer people and gets the job done in less time and with less risk.
My department tried out the RollNRack for a while and performed a challenge one evening. One team loaded hose the old way by putting it on a revolving table and loading it to the rig from the table; the other team used the RollNRack. While packing more than 2,500 feet of 5" hose, the firefighters (even some who've been around for a while) immediately took a liking to the RollNRack and were able to pack their engine more quickly, safely and with less personnel. Lifting 100-lb. rolls of hose up onto a table at or above waist level is clearly an ergonomically high-risk task. With the RollNRack unit, there's never any need to lift the hose roll, essentially eliminating the ergonomic risk. And the optional LDH Drain Attachment makes shoulder draining a thing of the past.
One strong attribute of the RollNRack team members: They listen to their customers, and improve their products based on the feedback they receive from them. For example, at its customers' request, the company recently upgraded the LDH Drain Attachment to include a set of Kochek combination wrenches that are directly attached to the unit, so users always know where to find one. Another feature that has improved the RollNRack's usability: an automatic braking mechanism that locks the wheels in place when the unit is positioned for hose loading.
The folks at RollNRack LLC are a firefighting family and offer a great product satisfaction guarantee. Both the RollNRack system and the Drain Attachment are stowable, manufactured in the United States and can handle any hose from 1 3?4 inches to 6 inches.ÿ
For a video demonstration of the equipment, visit the company's Web site atÿwww.rollnrack.com.
+ Backsaver; and
+ Makes draining and packing LDH much simpler.
- Unit is large and may not be easy to carry on existing apparatus, but it can be placed in the station and brought to a scene in just about any vehicle when it comes time to pick up the hose; and
- Cost. List price for the RollN-Rack: $1,399. List price for the LDH Drain Attachment: $449.