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Brian Brush's Blog (46)

The Initial Attack Line: Uncompromised & Uninterrupted

In reviewing information recently I found a great series of definitions regarding "line" in the American fire service. The source is the general definitions section of the 2015 NFPA 1410 Standard on Training for Emergency Scene Operations. Of all the various terms and definitions we maintain, NFPA, at least in this case has distilled it down to attack, backup, initial attack,  leader, preconnected and supply line. …


Added by Brian Brush on January 28, 2019 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Pistol Grips?

In many departments, ordering pistol grips on nozzles has been institutionalized. In these situations where the pistol grip is something you “have to have”, I would hope there is reason for it. Unfortunately when the "why" question does get asked, the response isn't an explanation, it is a history lesson;…

Added by Brian Brush on February 5, 2018 at 10:00pm — No Comments

The "Standard" Approach to Standpipe Operations

Possibly the best-known standard in the fire service regarding standpipes is NFPA 14.  The reason we are most familiar with this standard is probably because this standard gives the fire service power. NFPA 14 is the Standard for the Installation of Standpipes and Hose Systems. This standard is the authority we use that holds contractors and manufactures accountable…


Added by Brian Brush on November 7, 2017 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Suburban Standpipe Problems: Can you adapt?

In the early years of the American fire service there was a surprising number of cities across the country with their own unique version of fire hose thread. Over time, most smaller municipalities have converted to a more universal thread like NH or NPSH. Many larger cities have held onto their threads due to the incredible cost associated with an across the board conversion of all hose, appliances, adapters, and fire systems.

One local example of this in my area is Oklahoma City.…


Added by Brian Brush on July 14, 2017 at 8:38am — No Comments

"Ladder Truck" Specifications

It seems that most of the fire world has come to accept limited ground ladder compliments on engines. We understand that we cannot expect the engine to serve as a ladder truck. Water, plumbing and hose should be the priorities of an apparatus with the primary mission of suppression and supply. Unfortunately in far too many instances we are not as forgiving in the expectations of a “ladder truck”. Just because a vehicle is larger and has room for more stuff does not mean it has room for…


Added by Brian Brush on April 14, 2017 at 6:00pm — No Comments

First Due Deck Gun

The deck gun might be a regional term, I have also heard it called the monitor, or the “Stang”, but we are talking about the engine mounted master stream. Most engine mounted master streams, fog, or a stack of smooth bore tips have a flow range of 500 to 1000 GPM.

Before we go big guns blazing we can review our first due fire attack options. The 1 ¾” flowing 2.5…


Added by Brian Brush on June 26, 2016 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

Forking Around

You will find in various text books and firefighter skill sheets that the swing of a door should dictate how the forks of the halligan are oriented to the jamb for forcible entry. When “forcing” a door is viewed as a single step process this type of approach makes sense in that the orientation of the forks to the jamb will maximize the mechanical advantage and therefore the force delivered.…


Added by Brian Brush on February 1, 2016 at 11:00am — No Comments

Smooth Bore Nozzle Advancement

For years nearly every nozzle manufacture has been attempting to bring some type of new and attractive technology to the tried and true smooth bore. In my short career I have seen countless variations of integrated, variable choice, or adjustable diameter tips/nozzles, none of which have gained much traction beyond the exhibition floor.

Some would stop the…


Added by Brian Brush on May 19, 2015 at 3:00pm — 2 Comments

Attack Over Supply

Attention to detail is possibly one of the most under utilized tools in the fire service. This holds especially true when the masses begin to talk about Dragging hose, Forcing doors or Throwing ladders. The root words are pure work, not finesse. The unfortunate part is that in most cases technique, not power is the difference. In our rush to “Get’er dun” we run right past simple opportunities to make things more efficient, safer, and…


Added by Brian Brush on March 16, 2015 at 11:14am — No Comments

Parapet Practices

The back of a commercial occupancy typically provides the best roof access for aerial ladders. Less customer parking (obstruction), fewer windows and doors to work around and parapet walls are not as common. Most commercial signage and aesthetic architecture is in the front of the structure allowing for simple access to the roof in the back.

The back side of a…


Added by Brian Brush on March 2, 2015 at 10:55am — No Comments

The Exponential Engine

I would say there are two questions I field more than any others when it comes to fire streams and apparatus set up. The first is, “How is your engine set up?” and the second, “How would you set up an engine”. I believe most of the time people who ask the first question really want the answer to the second question. So rather than waste the explanation of how an engine is currently set up and what I would change I think it would be best to start with a blank sheet and explain one approach to…


Added by Brian Brush on February 18, 2015 at 10:30pm — No Comments

The Risk for Ground Ladder Rescues at Multi-Family Dwellings

On January 16th 2007, at 0047 hours Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) was dispatched to a reported fire in an apartment building. Three minutes later, the first district chief arrived and immediately requested a second and third alarm when dozens of occupants were observed at windows and balconies (Royal, 2009). “We addressed the obvious challenge and priority of the…


Added by Brian Brush on November 21, 2014 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

2 1/2" Hose Pros and Precautions

I believe the 2 ½” hose is “the line” of the modern fire service. In the early 20th century when the fire service became mechanized 2 ½” lines were the choice for most departments. The 2 1/2" served a dual purpose as attack and supply line. The 2 ½” hose has desirable qualities of high volume flow and low friction loss at a manageable weight. When paired with the…


Added by Brian Brush on November 13, 2014 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Some Nozzle Problems

I frequently get phone calls or emails with questions about the nozzle study conducted at my department. Recently a firefighter looking for some assistance took me down a line of issues and his attempted solutions which sounded very familiar.

  • Integrated Tips
  • Stream Shapers
  • Break- away nozzles…

Added by Brian Brush on September 16, 2014 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Climb to Remember, Train to Survive

Photo of Colorado Springs Firefighters at the Denver 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

For the past 5 years the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb campaign has brought thousands of firefighters and civilians together to honor the people and events of September 11th 2001. At the FDIC 9/11 Memorial Stair…


Added by Brian Brush on August 12, 2014 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Low Pressure Training

More commonly only considered a tool for standpipe operations I want to demonstrate the benefits of adding inline pressure gauges to your department for simple, anytime, any place hose work training.

The 2 ½” inline pressure gauge was brought to all our engine companies in 2007 when the department changed our standpipe operations. The inline pressure gauge is…


Added by Brian Brush on August 5, 2014 at 11:01pm — No Comments

Standpipe Systems Review

Standpipe systems are designed to supply water to a remote area (high-rise/low rise commercial and residential, malls, parking garages, stadiums, warehouses). Standpipe systems are either wet or dry and systems may or may not be supported (pumps, domestic water). When we discuss standpipe systems we should also discuss our attack systems; hose, nozzles and appliances because…


Added by Brian Brush on June 24, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments

Vertical Ventilation Skill Building

When it comes to vertical ventilation, don’t put the cut ahead of the horse, we have a lot of work to do before we make any carts. Bad joke but important point. A systematic approach to your training will build skills progressively which leads to more sound…


Added by Brian Brush on April 29, 2014 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

"Pinning the line"

1996 was the year I entered the fire service as a volunteer, this was also the first year I read an article by Andy Fredericks. In his 19962 ½” Handline article for Fire Engineering Andy laid a foundation of support for an incredibly…


Added by Brian Brush on March 20, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments

Overcoming the Wall on Recessed Doors

This post was Co - Authored by Ryan Royal

Commercial outward swinging doors can be some of the most difficult forcible entry situations due to the locking systems and added fortification but what is often overlooked in training is access challenges. The outward swinging door below was on the back of a commercial building. You can see this situation has a half wall on the hinge side and the jamb side…


Added by Brian Brush on November 18, 2013 at 12:00am — No Comments

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