While teaching and/or visiting a number of fire departments throughout the United States, I always make it a point to check out the Engine Company's hose loads and available lengths (pre-connected or not). One thing that seems to be common is that many departments don't have a pre-connected lines any longer than 200-feet in length. My first question is usually "what do you do when the fire is further than 200-feet from your engine?". Often times, the members will either look confused or simply say "well, that hasn't happened yet". So the question here is, what does your department do to "go the distance"? Perhaps a long length pre-connect? Or, maybe you have a well formulated plan to extend lines?
No matter what you do, it must be simple, effective and proficient. People rely on us and we must have a plan to help them out... even when they live over 200-feet away from our engine.
In parts of our district we have many long driveways with poor engine access. Our preconnects of 1-3/4 are only 200' and some 250' 2-1/2 lengths. All of our engines have a static load of 800' of 2-1/2 off of the backstep with a wye. We can pull the length of 2-1/2 needed to get us to the front of the structure and we have access to break our 1-3/4 at 150', so get the 2-1/2 to the front and attach the 1-3/4 for attack. Works well, but it takes planning and practice to get it to where it is a viable option and not a cluster.
Both of our pre-connects are 200 ft long though some companies have added another length making them 250ft. The loads that come off of the back of our engines are well suited for extended lead-outs. One bed has 700ft of 2.5" hose with a 250/50 fog pipe...the first 200ft are made into 3 horseshoes of equal length which make the lead out much easier for one or two men to put into service. The other bed has 700 ft of 2.5" hose with a 1 1/4" smoothbore pipe...again the first 200ft is made into 3 horseshoes. The smoothbore pipe is connected to a gated wye which is connected to 100ft of 1 3/4" hose with a 150/ 50 fog pipe. This is a great bed that I personally use 95% of the time. This lead out provides some options...you can lead the 1 3/4" hose into the structure, add a second 1 3/4" line to the wye as a second attack line or break off the wye and use the 2.5" offensively or defensively for big knockdown. It's not pre-connected but with long lead-outs you don't really need a pre-connect because there is additional time for the engineer to manage the line.
Very similar set up for us too. We have 100' of 1 3/4" cleveland loaded attached to 300' of 3" dead load by a gated wye. We, unfortunately, are just like the norm and have everything 200' preconnected. Our hose bed set up is like this: 2--200' 1 3/4" preconnects on the engineer's side; 2--200' 2 1/2" preconnects on the officer's side; 1000' of 5" and our 3" with cleveland bundle. The one question I've always had and haven't had answered is "Where did the 200' standard length come from and Why is it the standard length for preconnected lines across the country?"
I work for a metro department outside of washington dc our new rigs have lines that vary from 200'-350' Hose bed is set up with 200' 1.75'' 300' 1.75", 250' 2", 350' 2". The 1.75" lines are equipped with TFT full flow smooth bore nozzles with a 15/16 tip. The 2" lines are equipped with the same nozzle but a 1 1/8" tip. We have two 100' 2" high rise racks,15/16" and 1 1/8" tips, to extend lines or connect to a 250' 3" leader line set up. We have practiced combining both 2 inch lines and one high rise rack to 700' of 2" with our 4man engine company. The big thing is that the tip size must be 15/16 in order to keep it under the 250psi mark. Its great knowing that we stretch 700' in less than 3min.
We went back to using a static (dead load) hose bed two or three years ago. We use a 7 7 5 4 hose bed. Seven hundred feet of 5 inch LDH; Seven hundred feet of 3 inch, Two hundred feet of 2 1/2 (smoothbore) attached to five hundred feet of 3 inch; and two hundred of 1 3/4 (smoothbore) attached to four hundred feet of 3 inch. We still have 200' preconnect lines also, but we want to use the static load after we pull past the structure and leave room for the truck company.
My 1st-in area is mainly urban with the front doors very close to the curb, but if we run into that unique situationwhere we need more we have 200' of 2 1/2" preconnected off the back with a gated wye attached, so we would pull that and then bring our packed highrise 2" hose for attack off the wye. In one section of the city it is more suburbs and lots of big houses with long front drives/yards. The 3 Engines in that section of the city have longer preconnects, but also on that same 2 1/2" preconnect with the wye, they have a pack of 1 3/4" with a nozzle attached to the wye and ready to go, similar to a detroit load.
In my current department all of our preconnects for structural are 150' for both 1 3/4 and 2 1/2, I have started training my crew that if we have something where we cant reach the door, or if we have to go to the rear of a structure we pull the 2 1/2 supply line run it to where we are about 15 feet from the door and set up our 1 3/4 high rise pack to go into the structure from the wye.