Over the years I've changed my thinking on this. I'm less apt to go quick attack (what we call it) vs. laying a supply line than I once was . All our engines carry 500 gals.
If I see a header or hear confirmed reports of fire, I'll lay line. If we're investigating and see nothing I'll have the second engine standby a water source. Along with this change in thinking; I almost never consider taking a single forward when I can stretch and double. But like my Dad would say: "Never is a long alley without any trash cans."
One exception would be for a mobile home fire; partly due to the size of the structure but mainly because of the layout of our water systems in these areas.
Due to our hydrant locations, we will attack the first line with on-board water supply (1000 gallons). In most cases our tanker is on scene before we hit the 1/2 tank. The tanker has 3000 on board with a 1000 2-stage pump. All our engines has a direct tank fill so we donot have to go through the pump to fill our tanks. This is used on most of our residencel fires. If we do lay a supply line (4") , we will still make the first attack with on board tank while others are making the connection. After the hydrant is charge, our SOP requires the tank to pump valve left open as the internal clapper valve will close preventing a back feed to the tank. Should we lose the hydrant supply for any reason, the clapper will automaticly open giving the attack team tank water to exit the building until the supply is re-established.
If the structure is fully involved, we lay a line in and may use a blitz attack with the deck gun while making the connection.
You can knock down alot of fire with 1000 gallons and a smoothbore tip applied in the right place. We are hoping that by 2013 we will have hydrants throughout our district 2000 feet apart in niegborhoods and 1000 feet apart in our small commerical areas. We have a 4 department dispatch for any structure fire reported.
In our area, all of the departments are standard on this. The 1st due Eng Co will use the booster tank to make an initial attack. The 2nd due Eng Co will establish the water supply for the 1st due Eng Co unless the Engineer from the 1st due Eng Co makes his own hydrant. The booster tank is only for initial attacks and not for prolonged use throughout the entire incident. The only time that the booster tank is used for an entire attack is vehicle fires, dumpster fires, rubbish fires, grass fires, etc...
Our department has no specific standard in regard to our booster tanks. The decision is left to the company officer to decide if a fire attack can be made with whatever amount of water the particular engine carries. Our department uses 500 gallon tanks primarily but we do have a few with 750. I personally like to lay in dry from the hydrant on anything with smoke showing and have the second company drop a ff at the hydrant to charge the line. The initial attack is being done simultaneously off the booster and switches over once water supply is secured. I agree that it really depends on the situation and if you can make a difference with the limited tank water you have. Of course most small vehicle fires, dumpster and rubbish fires can be handled with booster water as well as a small room and contents fire initially.
We will start an interior attack with the booster tank. (500gal) This is, however, up to the 1st in officer. First in ambulance is assigned to establish a secure water supply. They NORMALY arrive very quickly, if not with or before the engine. The FF's on the line should not be on booster water for very long. We have a hydrant every 150ft. The engineer will radio to the crew when they're on hydrant water. He will also let them know immediatly if there is a problem with getting a hydrant. Then, the officer needs to make some decisions. (to back out, to not back out) The officer needs to be well aware of just how far the 500gal will go. If you just pulled the 2.5, maybe booster water isn't the way to go.
We won't use booster water to start a high rise attack. The water supply is established 1st, then hook up to the FDC.
My volunteer department doesn’t have the option but to use it. We are an all rural area with 27 hydrants in 79 square miles. Normal procedure is the first in company (all engines have 1000 gal. Of water) will use our tank water and the second due engine will drop the line and dump tank to secure water supply. We also run a strong mutual aid of tenders to establish continuous water supply. Once water supply is secured our engineers switch over and only use the tank as a last resort in case of primary water supply failure.
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