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Have you found that your department has become dependent on the preconnect to the extent that your officers have lost the ability to estimate hose and stretch the longer or more complicated lead-outs? or....

Are you providing your new officers and firefighters with sufficient training in the "lost art" of the lead-out or stretch?

I have become aware that many, mostly suburban departments are now handcuffed in their ability to efficiently and effectively complete longer, difficult or complicated hose stretches because of their dependance on pre-connects.

What are your thoughts?

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Replies to This Discussion

Art, I agree with your statment. The change needs to start at the top. It seems that in todays fire service the engine company has become the jack of all trades. So in an effort to get all the equipment on the rig ,extrication, ems, trt, hazmat, rit ,along with the engine equipment more compartments are needed. The hose bed becomes an after thought, the hose is so high off the ground it is hard to pull off. So the officer uses the preconnect because it is easy to pull. After that the next thing that needs to happen is the company has to get out in it's still and look at the buildings and see where they can and can't use the preconnect. The engine should be designed for the type of buildings you will be going to. If all you have are houses with short set backs, than preconnects may be the best way to go. If you respond to commercial buildings and large factorys than you better have a static bed fot them long leadouts.
The engine is the backbone of all good operations. If they can get the right size line in the right spot in timely fashion than the fire is contained and all the other operations go better. So lets give them the best chance to do that will a good rig that is staffed with people that are ready to kick a**. PUT THE FIRE OUT AND GOOD THINGS HAPPEN.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree with your input. The ability of a company to successfully accomplish long or complex lead-outs does not just happen. It takes several things:

· - A well thought out apparatus designed with options for hose deployment based on your needs.
· - Different hose and flow options based on the requirements of your community
· - Training, training and more training on your system for accomplishing lead-outs for both pre-connected and static lines.
· - Getting out in the district and stretching hose in your buildings....even if they are occupied.
· - Knowledgeable officers that have the ability to:
o Determine the required flow
o Determine the required hose-line that will deliver that flow
o Estimate with accuracy the amount of hose needed to confine and extinguish the fire
o Efficiently and effectively manage the members in the deployment of the hose-line using a system or procedure that works
o Get that first line in service

I fear that as fire duty continues to decline in almost every place, the ability to accomplish the basics will be lost in favor of the myriad other duties and functions piled upon the members.

Thanks again,

I agree. Although there are many drills that must be done and mandatory annual training the art of stretching a hoseline should always come first for the engine. Even if your area is best suited for preconnects I am sure at times the stretch could be more efficient. Static stretches covering long distances along with the total hose estimate is a very difficult task for a crew that has never done it before. Yes your hosebed must already be set up for it or else you will be connecting multiple lengths as you go and not looking very professional. I would add one more item to Art's list and that is to charge the line after it has been stretched and see what pressures are needed and give the firefighters some nozzle time.

Thanks for your reply, it is always good to have you weigh in.

I agree also. In fact I faced this problem about 2-3 weeks ago at a church fire that we were first in on. The engineer positioned the engine so he could tie in to the plug, the captain (who gets really hyper) saw fire in the basement and told me to "grab the 1 3/4" off the back". This is not possible due to the fact that there is not an 1 3/4" on the back. He hollered at me about 3 times to grab it off the back. I told the engineer what the capt's orders were and I told him that I would stretch the 3" and take the 200' 1 3/4" preconnect and tie in with a gated wye. That is what we done and I got my butt cussed and chewed out for not stretching the 200' 1 3/4" preconnected crosslay. I noticed smoke coming from the roof before we went in and I told the capt but he didn't pay me any attention. We went down into the basement and I knocked down the fire in there, little heat--moderate smoke. Capt called Batt. Chief and told him we had it knocked down and under control. Batt. Chief backed us out and told us we were going defensive, it was running the ridge of the roof and pressurizing the steeple when we backed out. Well, the chiefs loved the idea of stretching the 3" and hooking the 1 3/4" up and asked why we did it, the capt's response "it just worked out that way" and he is taking the credit for it. Oh well, I've been leaving articles that I have found from here, and any article on "beyond the preconnect" laying around the station for people to look at. Excellent topic for discussion and I wish we could train more on Truck & Engine Co. functions instead of worrying more about trench, confine space and water rescue.

Stay Safe Brothers & Sisters--Keep on Training!

My department uses the preconnect for all residential structure fires which also has a combination nozzle on them. The preconnects are of 200ft double jacket and to this date have worked well.
The problem with our 1 3/4 hose is that its of stortz fittings. Easy to connect and undo. The problem is that we dont have static 1 3/4 on our trucks. If we are going to need more hose we would need to connect to a 2 1/2 static hose and connect to the panel. Our biggest pronblem is getting more then one lined pulled off. Primary (attack) Secondary (backup) and the second in preconnects to be used for RIT.
If we have mutli-story we (Officers) thought a roll of 1 1/2 in a donut roll would be used for extra line or even a hi-rise. Well we have changed that to use a 2 1/2 hi-rise (no kit) shoulder load the static and move in. All of our nozzles are of the ELKHART (CHEIF) automatic combination nozzles. Which are a pin in the butt to use. Now looking at switch all of our nozzles to Solid bore for both the 2 1/2 & 1 3/4 but keeping the old nozzle for trash line and other uses.

What you think Eh?
Both my volunteer department and the department I work for rely solely on preconnected handlines, as do all of the surrounding departments. This is very beneficial for us given the manpower that we are forced to work with. 4 men on an engine isn’t bad but the preconnect makes things easier when there is only 2 of you stretching it. We have several lengths to choose from on our engines; 150’, 200’ and 300’. Do these reach all of our structures with set backs and court yards? No, they don’t. The trick to running preconnects is that you have to be versatile in extending that line. We can do this a variety of ways;

Yard Lays- Pulling the amount of 3 inch hose that we need and extending it with either our preconnect or our standpipe racks
Standpipe Racks- Pull you preconnect and attach your standpipe rack to the end
Connecting preconnects- We can extend our 300’ preconnect to 500 ft in 90 seconds with two people, using both our 300’ and 200’ preconnects.

I know you’re saying you can’t pump a 500ft handline. You can, is the pump pressure a little high? Of course it is, but your pumps will handle it. You are also going to gain intake pressure when you obtain a water supply which will reduce your pump pressure. There are many departments that rely on these types of tactics; it is a much more efficient and faster way to put long handlines in service.

Like I said at the beginning the trick to it all is learning to be versatile in extending the line, and this takes a lot of training but it is something that we should all be good at.

You didn't mention the size of the pre-connected lines. As long as the line is selected based on the required flow and discussed above. Perhaps if all of your fires require 100 gpm, then a 500 foot preconnected or extended line will work. What will you do if the required flow is 200 gpm or.............. My point was and is, do you have the weapons and ammo to handle the reqirement of your district?

Thanks for your comments.

Hey Larry,

Thanks for your reply and your honesty. It is easy to get sidetracked on the many training issues out there; however, the ability to select and deploy the correct hose-line to the seat of a fire is an ESSENTIAL job function of an engine company. As I said earlier, it seems that we (the fire service) have lost that ability in many cases a we become dependent on pre-connected lines.

Thanks again,


Sounds like you need to investigate changes to your hose beds. There are many good examples of versitile hose beds out there; however, it needs to work for your situation based on the structures, hazards, required flows etc..... Don't make the mistake of just buying hose and nozzles, take the time to investigate the options, look around this site or post the question.

Thanks again,


Thanks for the additional info.
As you can see 500 of 1 3/4 requires a high pressure for not a lot of water. When you go past 300' of 1 3/4 you should fill out the stretch with a bigger line. '


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