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We all know that it is easy to fall into a rut when it comes to training and even operating at what is labeled the "routine" call. Especially for those that are in suburban, mostly bedroom communities.  

If your like most of the country, you pull past the house to get three sides, stretch a pre-connected hand line and make entry into the front door.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  And, more times than not, this works just fine.

However, sometimes the bigger issue becomes where to take the second line? What apparatus does it come from and what size should it be?  What about the length?

For most single-family, single story homes, line placement becomes mundane and we get a bit complacent.  The second line many times gets pulled from the same rig as the attack line and goes in the same door as the attack line.

Again, I prefer a seconday apparatus for the back up line, but in most house fires the front door is appropriate for the back up line too.  Of course, it all depends on what is taking place and many other variables as well.


One of the biggest problems I see quite often is on two story house fires.  The first line goes to the fire up stairs and the back up line is at the door.  One of the primary concerns is the integrity of those stairs.  That second line needs to go to the stairs to protect the egress for the crew operating on the second floor.

The same has to be done if you have an attack team on the first floor and a search team on the second; a line needs to be deployed to the stairs.  We must protect that  egress point.  In addition, note changing conditions to the search team and the attack team.  Maybe the fire has spread or can't be found by the attack team and your observations are important.

What are your operational guidelines for the back up line?  Share you experiences and thoughts.

As always, stay safe and train hard.

Jason

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As I was taught by many respected people in my climb up the ladder, stretching the initial attack line dictates what the outcome of the fire will be.  It is a crucial move that must be made in the first few seconds of the attack and could make or break the call.

 

Primarily, we are here to protect life, so undoubtedly if there is life at stake that first line is stretched to protect the life.  It could be as simple as advancing on a small fire and extinguishing it, removing the threat, or it could be as severe as protecting the interior stairs so that rescuers can safely remove the victims.  With that said, the initial attack line should almost always go through the front door, and protect the interior stairs first and foremost, than advance on the seat of the fire. It should be of adequate size and flow the appropriate GPM's to handle the fire load.  We usually pull the 1.75" preconnect, 200 feet long.  Depending on the size of the building, the fire load, and the occupancy you may need to pull the big guns and take the 2 1/2", which you should never be afraid to pull, "If in doubt, stretch it out"

The back-up line has always been either the same size or one size bigger than the first line.  If you pull an 1.75" initial attack, than the backup idealy should be the 2 1/2" line, this way if the first line encounters too much fire to safely control, the bigger line can be moved in to support the first.  When the line is stretched and it is determined that the first line is holding, or advancing, than the second line should either go to the second floor to search for extension or the adjacent rooms if it is on a one story building.

I have seen it before and feel it needs to be mentioned here as a discussion topic, NEVER open an exterior line with an interior team operating.  I have seen it countless times when clueless chiefs or line officers see flame coming from windows in the back of the house and their initial attack team is through the front door (Which is what you want to see, the line pushing the fire and heat and smoke out of the building, right?)  and they panic and order the second line to hit the fire from the outside...GEEEEESH people!!!!  By doing this you are pushing the fire right back into your interior crews and usually within a minute or two one of two things happen; either your interior teams come tumbling out the front door being chased by the fire, or they are calling an urgent message for additional lines because they are being pushed back.  If ther is interior operations, all exterior lines shouldnt even have water in them, including the big guns on the aerial devices.  Have you ever been interior and got hit by a aerial truck master stream??  I have and it sucked.  After I got back to my feet and got my bearings I went looking for the moron that opened the thing up and gave him a piece of my mind!  lol

 

Good discussion and I am surprised that no one has responded.

We have found that pulling a third line [ 400ft ] off the 1st due engine as the backup to the Door , with a crew from the 2nd due engine to cover as the back up line allowing the 1st due engine crew  to use both preconnnects [ 200 ft pre connects] as the attacklines  , The Truck company handles the Search and rescue , this has worked for us very well. allowing us to have our MA engine company to be 2 in 2 out.

Brian,

  Great points and you provide of great information. Thanks for commenting and I appreciate the read.

Stay low,

Jason

Brian Jones said:

As I was taught by many respected people in my climb up the ladder, stretching the initial attack line dictates what the outcome of the fire will be.  It is a crucial move that must be made in the first few seconds of the attack and could make or break the call.

 

Primarily, we are here to protect life, so undoubtedly if there is life at stake that first line is stretched to protect the life.  It could be as simple as advancing on a small fire and extinguishing it, removing the threat, or it could be as severe as protecting the interior stairs so that rescuers can safely remove the victims.  With that said, the initial attack line should almost always go through the front door, and protect the interior stairs first and foremost, than advance on the seat of the fire. It should be of adequate size and flow the appropriate GPM's to handle the fire load.  We usually pull the 1.75" preconnect, 200 feet long.  Depending on the size of the building, the fire load, and the occupancy you may need to pull the big guns and take the 2 1/2", which you should never be afraid to pull, "If in doubt, stretch it out"

The back-up line has always been either the same size or one size bigger than the first line.  If you pull an 1.75" initial attack, than the backup idealy should be the 2 1/2" line, this way if the first line encounters too much fire to safely control, the bigger line can be moved in to support the first.  When the line is stretched and it is determined that the first line is holding, or advancing, than the second line should either go to the second floor to search for extension or the adjacent rooms if it is on a one story building.

I have seen it before and feel it needs to be mentioned here as a discussion topic, NEVER open an exterior line with an interior team operating.  I have seen it countless times when clueless chiefs or line officers see flame coming from windows in the back of the house and their initial attack team is through the front door (Which is what you want to see, the line pushing the fire and heat and smoke out of the building, right?)  and they panic and order the second line to hit the fire from the outside...GEEEEESH people!!!!  By doing this you are pushing the fire right back into your interior crews and usually within a minute or two one of two things happen; either your interior teams come tumbling out the front door being chased by the fire, or they are calling an urgent message for additional lines because they are being pushed back.  If ther is interior operations, all exterior lines shouldnt even have water in them, including the big guns on the aerial devices.  Have you ever been interior and got hit by a aerial truck master stream??  I have and it sucked.  After I got back to my feet and got my bearings I went looking for the moron that opened the thing up and gave him a piece of my mind!  lol

 

Good discussion and I am surprised that no one has responded.

Mike,


Are you talking about 200 feet of 3 inch to a gated wye and 200 feet of crosslay or two 200 foot crosslays hooked together?


Larry

 

Mike France said:

We have found that pulling a third line [ 400ft ] off the 1st due engine as the backup to the Door , with a crew from the 2nd due engine to cover as the back up line allowing the 1st due engine crew  to use both preconnnects [ 200 ft pre connects] as the attacklines  , The Truck company handles the Search and rescue , this has worked for us very well. allowing us to have our MA engine company to be 2 in 2 out.

Theres a difference between a backup line and a 2nd line.  The backup line does what it says and backs up the intial attack line so it goes wherever the 1st line went to back them up.  A 2nd line fights fire.   Its primary duty is to go wherever the fire might be heading.

 

I am not a fan of pulling multiple lines off of 1 apparatus but sometimes it is unavoidable.  Just make sure you have more than 1 water source. 

Danny, thanks for noting the differences. I, too, like to distinguish the difference between a back up line and the second line. Depending on resources available and conditions, a true back line may be delayed, but the second line can make all the difference in the world in regards to total operational effectiveness. Thanks for the comments.

-This is straight out of Brennen. A back up line is just that... there to back up the initial hand line and keep those members safe, protecting their escape route, staged at the door and waiting to spring into action. If the first line went up the stairs the second line protects the stairs.

-A back up line is not a secondary line, which would be free to engage the fire. The back up line is protection for the initially stretched attack line; period. If the first line needs the assistance of a secondary line then that's what should be called for. 

-Professionalism is a back up line team being disciplined enough to remain mindful of their mission and standing by while evaluating conditions, prepared to protect their Brothers at a moments notice. Back up crews all to often get drawn into the firefighting operation and start throwing water.

-Additionally, far to many firefighters believe that the job as the initial line is to "slug it out with the dragon"; to put the fire out. These members have lost sight of their mission, which is to protect and facilitate the primary search by keeping the fire in check. Once the search has been completed then the fire can be completely knocked down.

-More than ten years ago Tom Brennen wrote an article in which he decried the lose of focus and the lack of understanding of the interrelationship of tasks on the fireground by many firefighters. Companies becoming single minded in their focus on their task alone and jobs getting done poorly and out of order. 

-Ventilation and forcible entry are performed to facilitate interior operations and to make the work environment tenable for operating companies and potentially trapped victims.

-The primary line is advanced to check the fire while the primary search is carried out before completing extinguishment. Everything on the fireground should be for the furtherance and facilitation of search and rescue operations. Remember the priority acronym LIP. Life safety, Incident stabilization then Property conservation. Yet somehow many seem in a hurry to to bypass Life Safety, choosing to throw water instead.

-I'm not suggesting ignore suppression efforts completely. Rather, remain focused on our primary mission which sometimes seems, primarily, overlooked.

Great conversation and often debated subject.  I agree with much of what is already written, but would like to add the following.

  • In my opinion once a backup line is engaged inside the building, whether it is being used to protect the egress, conduct searches, or extinguish the fire, it is no longer a backup line.  At this point it becomes an additional attack line.  A third line would then need to be pulled as the "backup."
  • All of our rigs carry a pre-connected 400' 1.75" line for garden apartments and other long stretch incidents.  While the line isn't used very often, it eliminates the need to extend hose lines on the initial stretch.
  • What about the RIT?  Do you require the RIT to have a dedicated line or are they to use the backup line that should be in place?   
  • In any case, there should always be at least one additional line, equal to or greater in size to the attack line outside of the structure charged and ready to go to work.  When that line is engaged, another line must be pulled for the same reason.

-Holy Cow Jack! 400 ft of 1.75" hose!! Send me your email address and I'll forward you the Post Incident Report from Cincinnati when Ffr. Armstrong died in the line of duty.

-One of the precipitating factors identified by CFD was that their 1.75 hose lengths were far to long, which exceeded 250'. In fact when the hydraulics are calculated, a 1.75" hose line with a fog nozzle should not exceed 200' due to the friction lose and pdp needed. More to the point, a 1.75" hose longer than 200' can not produce an adequate stream for safe/effective interior operations. Though the stream may look good the nozzle is not putting out the required 100 gpm.

-Our garden line is 200' of pre-connected 2.5" with a gated wye into 150' of 1.75". 


Jack Crandell said:

Great conversation and often debated subject.  I agree with much of what is already written, but would like to add the following.

  • In my opinion once a backup line is engaged inside the building, whether it is being used to protect the egress, conduct searches, or extinguish the fire, it is no longer a backup line.  At this point it becomes an additional attack line.  A third line would then need to be pulled as the "backup."
  • All of our rigs carry a pre-connected 400' 1.75" line for garden apartments and other long stretch incidents.  While the line isn't used very often, it eliminates the need to extend hose lines on the initial stretch.
  • What about the RIT?  Do you require the RIT to have a dedicated line or are they to use the backup line that should be in place?   
  • In any case, there should always be at least one additional line, equal to or greater in size to the attack line outside of the structure charged and ready to go to work.  When that line is engaged, another line must be pulled for the same reason.
Michael, I sent you my email address, I would love to see that report.  Agreed the friction loss is very high in this length of 1.75" .  We do use a TFT nozzle that only requires 75 psi nozzle pressure.  We used to use the 200' of 2.5" to a gated wye to 1.75" which was very functional, but for ease of initial deployment, we went with our 400' pre-connect.  I am very intrigued by what you wrote and am looking forward to reviewing the document.  Thanks, this is why joined the forum.

I actually found the Cincinnati report and reviewed it.  As I read it, the bigger issue in this incident was proper line deployment versus friction loss.  Yes, the hose line was much too long in this situation and a shorter attack line may have been more effective.  Here are the numbers we found as we tested our setup.

We use a TFT Metro nozzle:  This is a breakaway nozzle where you can choose either fog or a 15/16" smooth bore.

With 400' of 1.75 inch hose and a 200 psi PDP we achieve the following flows:

Fog:  155 gpm

15/16": 175 gpm

With only a 150 pdp, we achieved 135 gpm for the fog and 150 gpm for the 15/16".

We did some extensive testing and found that this setup will work for us as an initial line for long stretch operations. 

-Holy crap Jack that's 140 psi just in friction loss!! It also means that your pump is working past its rated capacity and its operating at only 50% efficiency.  175 grm for 100 section at those pdp's is 45 gpm just in friction loss. For what your describing the pdp would need to be more than 200 psi.

-You guys may want to do the math again because the numbers don't jive.

-Long stretch??? Use the 2.5"!! What would be the justification for not using the 2.5"? I can't think of any especially when considering the flex time involved on a longer stretch.

-Good luck

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