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When do you call for water?. Do you have anything you do prior? And Why?

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What I am refering to is what steps do you take prior with the line, your crew, the building? Do you have your own views on when to call for certain types of water ex. tank water / hydrant water. What are your benchmarks for a safer interior attack.
It's a good question. Not exactly rocket science (in fact, it's mostly second nature), but it makes you think...
1. You need to find out where the fire is and have a good idea how big it is, how big it could get, and how much water will be required for extinguishment.
2. Once you know this, you have to determine if you have a sufficient water supply. I wouldn't want to make entry without an established supply from a hydrant on anything beyond a room and contents fire. Other factors also come into play, such as occupancy and fire load.
3. You then need to decide what size line should be used and how much of it to most effectively get it to the seat of the fire while protecting occupants and/or other firefighters operating in the building. When using pre-connects, make sure they're going to reach.
4. The appropriate line then needs to be deployed to the point of entry and flaked out. Most of our response area is single family dwellings, garden apartments, and small commercial occupancies; so we would seldom make entry into the structure without a charged line.
5. At this point, water should be called for. But before making entry and advancing on the fire, several more steps must be taken. The line must be bled of air and the nozzle checked for adequate volume and stream (see training minutes video "Testing Water Flow") . Also, the entry crew should inspect one another to make sure they are wearing the proper equipment (including SCBA), and wearing it properly. It may also be necessary for the officer to referee the fight for the nozzle at this point. Before making entry, communication must have been established to coordinate the attack with the truck company, or whoever is responsible for ventilation. Once this has all been accomplished, entry can be made and the hose team can advance on and attack the fire.
6. The first benchmark of a safe interior attack is that the line is in place and operating between the fire and the civilian occupants or the unburned portion of the structure. The second benchmark would be when all visible fire has been extinguished (knockdown) and the smoke has mostly been vented from the building. The final benchmark would come after all hotspots and void spaces have been checked and extinguished.

In a district that is mainly residential (1,200 to 3,000sf homes) we prefer to advance two preconnected 1 3/4 lines, 200 feet length, with fog nozzles to the point of entry, then call for water. 90% of the time the initial charge is from the tank with hydrant water used from a second in company. Initial attack is with nozzles on straight stream (max reach, max gpm). We have began to use low pressure, 75 psi, nozzles. The hose is easier to move through a furnished home. I use visible smoke and exposures to develop the initial attack plan, including flows. Often I will default to a 2 1/2 attack line. Bench marks would include RIT in place, Vent crews in place/operating. We use 750 gallon tanks on our rigs. Often we never use the entire tank to extinguish the fire.
As simple as it sounds our first due Engine brings its own water supply (confirmed fire), the attack crew calls for water when its ready for it. It may be tank water or hydrant water depending on if the Engineer has made the connection yet. As an Officer on the Engine I don't want water until I am ready for it.
I would call for water when I knew the lead length was flaked out and the guys were masking up. I aways felt as long as the nozzle FF had the line pinned I could call for water in the line. Now that does not mean we were ready to advance. So getting a quick request in for the water seemed to time out pretty close to when all of us were ready.
We stretch the lead length dry to the fire area. Most of our work is done in PD's. The standing order in my company is the firefighters stretch the line to the front door while the officer does the size up. If the officer during the course of his size up decides to stretch elsewhere then the line is repositioned. The nozzleman keeps the lead length with him until the boss confirms where the advance is to be made from. Water is not called for until the lead length is properly flaked out and masks are going on.

In the case that the location of the fire is not readily evident, such as smoke showing throughout a commercial building, then the nozzleman stands fast by the rig and waits for orders from the officer on where to make the stretch.
The second portion of your reply is so true. Many engine operations have gone south due to stretching to the wrong or distant location.
Does anyone enter a structure with heavy smoke and fire showing from the first floor with a dry line. If so for what reason, We have streched in dry when the fire was on the upper floor but not with fire on the first floor. If you do so why what are the advantages of this.
Greg let me answer your question and say to anyone else that there is NO advantage to going in dry. This is a big mistake, and has already cost lives.
Thank You Ray .
Lt. McCormack,
I have a question kinda along these lines, in your Line Boss class @ FDIC you talked about using the apartment across the hall from your fire apartment to layout your lead length. If the fire is contained to that apartment with the door still intact will you stretch dry to that point or do you always charge your line in the stairwell before entering the fire floor?

Stay Safe & Train Hard
What I was talking about were multiple dwellings where you can stretch dry to the fire floor. One option is to use that apartment to flake out the line, Flaking up the stairs (the other option) may be unsafe depending on conditions and the extent of the evacuation taking place from above. If fire is directly behind the door, I would choose the apartment, knowing nothing would hang up the lines initial advance.


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