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When specking a new rig, most departments have a regular list of equipment that goes on each apparatus.  The engine is no different.  The first compartment, affectionately called the “Engineer Compartment”, is usually outfitted with a hydrant wrench, , reducers, spare nozzles, male to male, female-to-female adaptors a gate valves and a few other items.  The piece missing is the 1.5” female to 2.5” male adaptor.  I’ve worked for several departments and never had one on any rig.  After playing with these couplings, I see no reason why there shouldn’t be 4 on every unit.

 

Extend the High Rise Hose

I first saw this adaptor in Chief David McGrail’s book on high-rise operation. I was a skeptic but wanted to try.  In the context of Chief McGrail’s book it is used to extend a high rise hose line without having to remove the nozzle or add line at the standpipe and then drag hose full of water an extra 50’.  McGrail suggests that the High Rise Kit contains this adaptor and an extra nozzle amongst other items.  If the attack team runs short they can move to an area of refuge, spin the tip off the ball valve type nozzle, add this adaptor and be able to stretch another length of 2.5” hose equipped with the backup nozzle.  This is essentially adding line from a forward position. My first thought is that the friction loss would be so great that it would be the equivalent of attaching an 1.75” attack line to your garden hose.  I went to the drill ground and what I found surprised me.  The additional hose with the adaptor required a bump in pressure but the total discharge pressure for that line remained under 150 PSI for various applications.

  • 200’ of 2” with 1 1/8” smoothbore tip flowing @ 266 GPM=100 PSI
  • Add 50’ of 2” hose with 1 1/8” smoothbore tip flowing @ 266 GPM=125 PSI

 

After successfully adding line off the end of a ball valve style nozzle using this adaptor with manageable friction loss, I want to try other applications.  The timing was right since we are just in the process switching to 2” hose for our high rise and hose pack applications and are using the type with 2.5” couplings rather than our old 1.75” hose with 1.5” couplings and nozzles.

Extend The Pre-Connect

My department uses pre-connected lines for initial attack. We have 200’ of 2.5” pre-connect for our commercial fires or heavily involved residential fires with a target flow of 250-266 GPM.  (Also use 200’ pre-connect 1.75” for residential application with a target flow of 150-166 GPM however that is not applicable to the discussion with this adaptor.)  What if 200’ isn’t enough?  I tried using our high rise packs to extend a line concept using the same application and found if we have the adaptor, we can add our 2” HR packs to the 200’ pre-connect and achieve the desired result.  Up to 400’ of line capable of flowing 266 GPM.  If we don’t need to add all 200’ we can add just what we need and achieve success.  For this application we want one of the adaptors in the engineer’s compartment.

  • 200’ of 2.5” with 1 1/8” smoothbore tip flowing @ 266 GPM=80 PSI
  • Add 50’ of 2” hose with 1 1/8” smoothbore tip flowing @ 266 GPM=120 PSI
  • Add 100’ of 2” hose with 1 1/8” smoothbore tip flowing @ 266 GPM=135 PSI

 

Convert a Traditional Gated-Wye To One For Use With Big Water:

One problem that we encountered when switching to the new 2” high-rise hose is that our engines were set up for 1.75” attack lines and courtyard applications.  The lynchpin of our setup is the 2.5” to two 1.75” gated-wye.  We looked into the purchase of gated wyes with 2.5” all the way around but found them to be expensive enough to have to hold off to be added until a new budget year.  I tried adding the 2 adaptors to each of the 1.5” outlets of the gated-wye.  I was easily able to flow 2 lines each flowing 266 GPM off of it.  I was even able to bump one line up to 328 GPM with a 1 ¼” tip and still keep the pressure under 150 PSI.

 200' 3" to gated-wye with increaser. 100’ of 2” off each side to smoothbore nozzle with 1 1/8” tip.

  • 1 line flowing-265 GPM=110 PSI
  • 2 lines flowing 530 GPM (2 -1 1/8” tip@266 GPM)=135 PSI

 

While the specific pump pressures may vary based on hose, nozzles and specific adaptors, I believe that adding 4 of 1.5" to 2.5" adaptors to every rig would give you more options on your hose lines.  I’ve found the cost of these adaptors to run about $17-25.  So the total cost per rig would be about $100.  I’d suggest that one be placed in the high-rise bag, one in the engineer compartment and two placed on a gated-wye with the mindset that it is easier to remove than to look for the adaptor you need and add it.

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Comment by THOMAS D HORNE on April 30, 2015 at 4:22pm

I do agree that the inventory should include 1&1/2" by 2&1/2" increasers so please do not look at the rest of this reply as  an argument against what Grant Schwalbe already said. 

One additional possibly helpful approach would be to fit all 2&1/2" coupled preconnected or hose bundle lines with shut offs that have the 2&1/2" threads on the tip side as well as on the hose side.  The Akron 2130 Shut off is a good choice for this purposes.  It has a Two inch waterway through the valve.  Their 416 nozzle is also a 2&1/2" by 1&1/2" reducer.  The Elkhart JB-275-A's water way is a quarter inch smaller but I'll go ahead and admit that I don't know how much actual difference that makes.  Elkhart does not appear to offer a leader line threaded tip with a 2&1/2 inch base to complete this assembly but one could simply add a reducer fitting to the shutoff in order to make up a set with any of their straight tips or Fog heads.  The only reason that I suggest this alternative is that larger preconnected attack lines that are fitted with these larger "in line" shutoffs will always be extendable with the same size line without needing to use an increaser. Remove the tip or wye from the shutoff and you then have the 2&1/2" thread available right on the shutoff. 

The additional advantage is that those shutoffs are suitable for use with 2&1/2 inch cellar nozzles.  The size of the waterway through an 1&1/2 inch shutoff may be too small to support the flow to a 2&1/2 inch distributor nozzle.  Some of those nozzles are designed for a flow of 500 GPM. I have seen many 2&1/2 inch distributor nozzles on units that had no 2&1/2 inch inline shutoffs and no increasers in their inventory. 

Best practice used to be to keep the shutoff one hose length back from a distributor nozzle especially if the hose and tip were to be lowered through a cellar h*** and worked up and down to assure full coverage of the burning materials in the cellar.  If that practice is followed then when the distributor nozzle hangs up on an obstruction or the hose burns through the shutoff is still available to control the flow and permit the replacement of the nozzle.  Once the cellar nozzle knocks down the excessive heat the line can be extended from the inline shutoff so the nozzle crew can make the stair and complete extinguishment.  You can also wye off of such an inline shutoff for mop up. 

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