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We are currently revamping our departments High Rise SOG. Long story short during training of stretching hose in an uncompromised stairwell we were reinforcing looping your nozzle section up the stairwell above the fire floor. During this we have come across an officer who states that "we never stretch an uncharged hose line above the fire floor." Of course I am not an officer and I happened to be doing the training the date this statement was made, lucky me. I am pretty up on my knowledge and took in the comment and tried to refer him to Chief McGrail's books and articles primarily the 'stairwell stretch', but was un successful. He insisted that no matter what the situation, even in an uncompromised stairwell, we never stretch and uncharged hose line above the fire floor. I agree with the officer in certain situations his statement is true, but not in this one. I was looking for other opinions/views and if anyone has anything to back up the officers claim. Thanks.

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I don't understand his stance on this. As long as someone is watching the fire floor door while the hose is being stretched, the benenfits of dragging the hose down instead of up is big. And it would be pointless to stretch charged hose up just so you could drag it down. What's his reasoning? Is that per your current SOG?
When making his statement he stated "if you read any articles or safety manuals it tells you never to go above the fire floor." Also, our current SOG does not say anything of the sort, it is actually very vague on any firefighting tactis. It more or less states "to find the fire floor first and that it is up to the officers to decide offensive or defensive attack." Pretty much leaving all options and choices to be made by first arriving officers and companies. The SOG was put into place to direct inital companies and have them starting assignments if they were not given an assignment by the intial IC. So I'm unsure were he is getting this information and wondering if anyone has every heard or seen such statements printed? The closet I have come to finding anything is John Norman's Copmany Officer Handbook, it says not to stretch hose above the fire floor to reduce the chances of it getting burned. Which could be misunderstood, but we are not strecthing all the hose above the fire floor, just looping the first section. I just don't know were he is coming from on this one.
I think you answered the question. Norman suggested not running the hose above because of the possibility that the line may be compromised by fire which would leave the line useless. I understand your point about the stairwell not being compromised and the easy of leading the line into the fire area if the hose is run up the stairs vs. down the stairs but your officers point is valid. If you forced entry onto the fire floor only to encounter high fire and heat conditions the hose running up the stairs could be compromised. In addition, if you needed to retreat down the stairs because of the heat and fire it would be much more difficult with the line running up the stairs. Always error on the side of firefighter safety over firefighter convience. Loop the hose down the stairs. To ease the lead out get additional men on the line to help advance it.
Stay safe.
My comments were based on the fact that the stairway is tenable and not compromised. Fire behavior in high rise structures can be very important and depending on wether the building is center core or center hallway. Most office type buildings are center core and very little, in any, fire separations. You can expect the fire to spread very quickly in a center core type. In a center hallway with at least one hour protection, the fire can be managed very effectively. Back to the hose lays in a stairway, the fire bahavior should be addressed before plans are made to fight the fire from a stairway that is compromised.
Getting back to high rise structures. Most high rise buildings built today, even if they are older, will have a degree of fire resistiveness and stairways can be expected usable for fire operations. There may be smoke but not fire. Also remember, what are the products of combustion in a stairway?
Very valid points made by PB and Jack. I guess do I say does Norman contradict McGrail? I understand both sides I am not a close minded one and only one way thinker. I just beleive that it depends on the situation and all factors play into the decesion of the hose deployment, but for someone to say we never do this just doesn't make sense. I am just looking for more opinions. I have to state that I have taken classes given by both Norman and McGrail and I have the utmost respect for the both of them. They are great teachers of this craft and I am just trying to stir up some opinions. I will try and contact both of them with this question and see if I can get a response, beacuse beleive it or not I see the pros and cons of both sides.
Not knowing how your structural firefighting SOP's are situated, what compliment of units are dispatched on a highrise fire within your jurisdiction, or what your staffing levels reflect place me at a disadvantage to effectively comment on your departments methodology. I would like to make a comment on the stairwell scenario outlined in your remarks. In highrise firefighting, the attack stairwell, once identified, should place attack companies in a relatively close position to the fire for intial operations while leaving the other stairwells, if applicable, open for ventilation and evacuation. The attack stairwell, for all companies entering, must be protected for it is the focal point of intial operations as well as a possible area of refuge if needed. The doors to an enclosed stairwell (which should be atleast 2 hour fire rated doors) should be kept closed and protected until all companies operating in the stairwell are ready and on air. If fire threatens the opening to the stairwell, the initial attack crew, or any other company operating in the stairwell for that matter, should not advance beyond the firefront. If fire, for some unforseeable reason, gets past the intial engine crew on the fire floor or comes behind them, then the back up company should be in place to protect them. The placement of the back up company is a vital component to structural firefighting strategy and tactics as they ensure the survivability of the intial attack company as well as protecting the advancement of the exposure company to the floor above. As far as advancing a charged handline in a highrise stairwell, it is a labor intensive task. Its much easier to advance a dry line within a stairwell and have it in place at the entrance to the landing charged and ready prior to advancement beyond the corridor door. What enhances the intial attack crews success as well as the stretch to the floor above is the back up company. Their pressence ensures the safety of all.
derrick anthony said:
Not knowing how your structural firefighting SOP's are situated, what compliment of units are dispatched on a highrise fire within your jurisdiction, or what your staffing levels reflect place me at a disadvantage to effectively comment on your departments methodology.div>

Really manpower isn't a real issue, but could always be better. I do know alot of depts that are doing things with alot less, but just for some insight this is our response. 4 Engines(4 persons each) 2 Ladders(3 persons each) 1 Heavy Rescue (3 or 4 persons) 1 Medic (2 persons) 1 B/C (2 persons).
Alot of good responses thank you for all the input. I guess the real question to everyone is do you train stretching the hose up the stairwell, uncharged, in a uncompromised stairwell past the fire floor? Why?
Do you train never to stretch an uncharged line past the fire floor in a uncompromised stairwell? Why?
Thanks for all the responses.
I totally agree with the "never" statement. So I have restated the questions.

Do you train stretching the hose up the stairwell, uncharged, in a uncompromised stairwell past the fire floor? If you do what's your reasoning?
Do you train not to stretch an uncharged line past the fire floor in a uncompromised stairwell? If you do what's your reasoning?
I understand what your officer is saying and there was a time when stretching an uncharged line above any fire floor was forbidden. At my departments we have many high rises in our districts and we always lay the line in the stairwell above the fire, charge the line, and then stretch in. This has proved successful for us especially with below minumum manpower. I respect your officer's opinion and he is absolutely correct, but today's enviornment calls for new ideas(proven ideas that work).
Check Training Minutes I cover this very topic.
Good Luck
Ray McCormack said:
Check Training Minutes I cover this very topic.
Good Luck

I have veiwed your training minutes, actually a few times, and totally agree with the way you teach it. I just have been trying to find more theories or thoughts on why people choose not to stretch up the stairwell in this situation and there has been a few. I guess I'm trying to better understand the officer's comment that was made since he never really gave me any reasons or thoughts behind it. Have you ever had anyone debate this tatic with you? If so what was the reasoning. Thanks

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