PVC Layflat Hose refers to several different types of hoses specially designed for fire extinguishing. The most common one is composed of one or more layers of fabric outer layer and one layer of rubber inner layer. PVC/nitrile layflat hose is usually made of 50 feet (15.3 meters) in length, with threaded metal connections at each end. Unlike other hoses, most fire hoses are flat to minimize the required space. For example, ordinary fire pumps in the United States can carry 1,200 feet (366 meters) of 2.5 inches (64 millimetres) of fabric over rubber-lined hoses in a space the size of an oversized bed.
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The pioneer lay flat hose manufacturer of modern fire-fighting water belts were invented by Nicholas and Jan van der Heiden (Heide's) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1672. Their discharge hoses are made of leather with tight seams. Brass fittings are connected to each end to allow multiple parts to be connected together. In 1698, they made a thick canvas suction hose coated with paint or cement to make it impermeable. The hose is reinforced by an internal metal ring to prevent it from collapsing under vacuum.
Early leather hoses leaked badly, and sutured joints were liable to rupture under pressure. A riveted leather hose was developed by a group of volunteer firefighters in Philadelphia in 1808. Their hoses were jointed by 20 to 30 metal rivets per foot (65 to 100 rivets per meter) to eliminate leaks and to begin manufacturing the design. Despite the introduction of braided cotton and linen hoses in the early 19th century and PVC Layflat Hose in 1827, these designs did not develop enough to replace riveted leather hoses until the 1970s.
Modern PVC Layflat Hose uses a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics and elastomers in its structure. These materials allow hoses to be stored wet without decay and to resist the destructive effects of exposure to sunlight and chemicals. Modern hoses also weigh less than older designs, which helps reduce firefighters'physical stress.