Since being assigned at Station 6: Engine 6 in Colonial Heights, our crew has talked about doing a few projects around the station. We finally decided to knock out the biggest one to date, and I am very proud of all the hard work everyone has put into it. I had seen several firehose flags online for quite sometime now, and all of them seemed to be put together a little different. We discussed about what we thought looked the best, and adapted our project to meet our needs. This is not the ONLY way to do it, but I wanted to pass along the steps that WE took to complete ours. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me for clarification.
For the design of our flag, we wanted to make it appear that the hose is continuous and wraps around the plywood. Since we were limited to two sections of hose, we knew we wouldn’t have enough hose to do that. We decided we would wrap the edges around the back and attach them, and still include the couplings in the flag to help draw attention to the fact that it was indeed firehose. Note: The height of the hose is determined by the size of the hose used to keep it in relation to the length. Listed below are a list of supplies that we used for the project:
- 2 sections of 1 3/4 inch retired firehose
- 3 quarts of paint (red, white, and blue)
- 1 sheet of subfloor (thinner and lighter than plywood)
- 2 cans of spray adhesive
- Star fabric stamp from craft store
- Paint brushes
- Tools (Saw/Drill/Tape Measure/Pliers)
Step 1: Wash/Clean Hose
Once we cut the hose into 13 sections (74″ long), we wanted to be sure that it was clean. After some debate, we decided to remove the inner jacket from the outer jacket (we may make a second flag out of the inner at a later date). This made the flag lighter weight, but also changed the height of the flag once we laid it to the subfloor. We also wanted to keep from painting the hose white to keep the wear/tear visible. We soaked the hose in a Clorox/water mixture to remove some of the grime, and then we used a pressure washer to finish off the cleaning process.
Step 2: Paint
Due to design, the blue section of our hose needed to be 27″ in length and the height is determined on the height of the top 7 hoses (Around 22in.). To keep everything in proportion, we measured off of center in almost everything we did. We knew we would need around 1″ on the edges to attach to the back of the subfloor, and this kept us from being able to measure from the end of the hose. We ended up measuring 8 3/4″ off of center and started with our blue paint there. Out of the 7 strips of hose that received blue paint, only 4 of them were red. We painted the 7 sections of blue, and once the paint had dried…we added the red to the rest of the stripes. We also decided that we would add the stars once we had attached the hose to the board.
Step 3: Subfloor/Hose Prep
Once the paint had dried, we had the hose recoupled to two of the pieces. Engineer Dan Manis (L1) recoupled the outer jacket of the hose back to the couplings in the designated areas. We decided to add the couplings to one section at the top and on the opposite side at the bottom. We also cut the subfloor to a measurement that was just shy of the height/width of the hose. This allowed us to wrap the edges, and also allowed the hose to hang over on the top and bottom.
Step 4: Attaching the Hose
Once again, we started in the center of the board and marked the center line, and where the inside edge of the blue went. We then used a spray adhesive to cover the area where the first piece of hose went. From this point, we started laying the hose down on the board piece by piece. This worked great, and allowed the edges of the hose to lay over the board to be attached later.
Note: We did decided to cut a small 10-12 inch piece of hose to lay beneath the coupling to keep from exposing the board. This also made it appear that the hose was in layers on the board. We centered the coupling on the short section of hose that was attached to the board.
Step 5: The Stars
To ensure that the stars were correct, we used a piece of posterboard and made it the same size as the blue section of the hose. We then gridded it off and punched a hole (50) in every spot that a star would be. We then laid this onto the section of the blue, and used a white marker to mark through the posterboard onto the hose. Once we removed the posterboard, we had 50 marks on the blue section to allow as a pattern to where the center of each star goes. It was at this time that we dipped our make-shift star stamp into white paint, and then carefully stamped each star into place. The stamp worked well for the most part, but we did had to touch up a few areas where the stars had hit the area between the hoses. It was a fairly quick process, and a few minutes later, we were finished.
Step 6: Securing the Couplings/Hose
Once the adhesive had time to set-up, we were concerned about the weight of the couplings pulling the hose off of the board over time. To prevent the couplings from pulling on the hose, we decided to set a screw into the back of the couplings from behind the subfloor. We measured to find the exact measurements of the couplings locations, and then drilled into the back of the subfloor into the couplings. We set a screw/washer into the coupling from the back of the subfloor to help back-up the spray adhesive that was holding the hose onto the board. Once the couplings were secured, we used spray adhesive and staples to sure the edges of the hose on the back of the subfloor. We used pliers to pull the hose tight around the edge, and set several staples into it.
Step 6: Final Touches
Once the hose was secured, we had to make a few final touches on the flag. This involved adding some white paint to the cracks inside the stars and ensuring they were filled in. We also added paint near the coupling to fill in where we had recoupled the hose. Once we had finished a few paint touch-ups, we decided that we would list the names of everyone who helped contribute to the project on the back. They are:
- E-6 (B-shift): Cpt. Johnny Jones, Engineer Joel Moore, Firefighter Andrew Catron
- M-6 (SCEMS B-shift): Paramedic Steven Carroll, EMT Trevor Burress
- L-1 (B-shift): Engineer Dan Manis, coupled/re-coupled the hose for us.
- A-shift: Firefighter David Hawkins/Firefighter Robert Wells/ Firefighter Jay Shipley
This is by far the biggest project that we have completed to date, and definitely one that everyone should be proud of! I know comments are made on a frequent basis about some of the projects, but it turned out great! We completed this project for a cost of around $50 (cost)! With that being said, we did put a lot of time and work into this flag as well. With it being the first one that we have made, I think that we could streamline some of the time if we were to make another one. We attached the flag on the wall with (4) 1 inch screws/anchors, and then painted the screw heads to blend in with the hose. It is now on display at Fire Station #6 in Colonial Heights. We had already been discussing wiring up a spotlight on it so that it can be illuminated during the evening hours. Once again, if anyone has any questions, feel free to comment below or send us a message on Facebook! I hope that I have explained the process enough that you may be able to tackle the project with your crew at your firehouse!