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 a critical component of a standpipe operation because it brings accuracy and flow control to the outlet. This supports attack hose systems, and reduces the unknowns and that lie between the outlet and the FDC. In the years since we have added an inline gauge to the engine I have found that it serves as a great training tool with applications far beyond the floor below in a standpipe building. I believe that if you only see inline pressure gauges as high rise firefighting equipment you are missing out on some very inexpensive, simple and quality training.
Most hydrant systems run pressures between 60 and 100 PSI with a volume to support a large diameter or multiple 2 ½” outlets. In our 120 square mile district the average hydrant pressure is right at 80 psi with a handful of outliers above or below this point. When you look my department’s standpipe operations, we utilize 2 ½” attack line with the “Indy Stack” smooth bore tip set of 1 ¼” (328 GPM at 50 PSI) with a 1 1/8” tip (266 GPM at 50 PSI). The smooth bore nozzle has a low operating pressure of 50 PSI and the 2 ½” hose provides a high volume line with low friction loss, together this maintains a working line pressure in the area of that hydrant pressure.
At the outlet of the standpipe we would make our connection with elbows and the inline pressure gauge. With the line flowing we would adjust the standpipe valve until we had the appropriate pressure showing on the inline gauge. This exact operation can be replicated using a gate valve and a hydrant.
You can take this one step further and use a 2 ½” to two 2 ½” gated wye and add a second line.
At a recent training class we ran a full day of hose work, supporting three drill stations entirely off of hydrant pressures. The unrealized benefit of this set up was that instructors never had to talk over running engines and we didn't lose anyone to the pump panel for the day.
The point of this post is to show that with a small package of low pressure equipment, a hydrant, 2 1/2" hose, working knowledge of friction loss and your training division can be going from station to station running drills without taking rigs out of service. Below is a picture of a low pressure training set up that I have worked with my local Elkhart Brass vendor Shur- Sales to put together so I can more easily take training to area firefighters.
2 1/2" hose work is often avoided because it is believed to be "too much work". Now that we have taken a lot of the work out of the set up, maybe you will have just a little bit more left in you for stretching, flowing and advancing.