Departments that have standpipe equipped buildings should put serious thought into choosing a standpipe pack. The "we've always done it this way" mentality should not be a guiding factor. There are multiple different options for standpipe packs. Some are good, some are bad. Even the good ones have their positive and negative attributes.
There are a few attributes you want to consider when deciding what fold to use.
1. Lightweight - There is no one size fits all standpipe pack. No one should be carrying 150 feet of hose by his or her self. Whatever pack you choose should be light weight and carried in 50' sections with each company member sharing some of the load (including the officer). This helps decrease the physical exertion by all members if you are having to take the stairs. Another reason to carry in 50’ sections is due to the codes surrounding standpipes, i.e. distances between standpipe outlets or the maximum allowed distance of travel from an outlet. This varies in sprinklered vs non-sprinklered buildings. You should at a minimum carry 150 feet of hose into the building with you because you will have close to 50 feet in the stairwell alone by hooking into the outlet on the floor below.
2. Easy to build - Choose a standpipe pack that is easy to build. Something that with a little practice all members can remember how to make.
3. Easy to flake - When using 50' sections, generally if they are easy to fold, then they are easy to flake out on the floor below and in the stair well. Marking your hose at the 25' mark on each section will make it easy to flake hose out.
4. Avoid gimmicks and sales tactics - Don't get caught up in high-rise hose bags. These push you towards the heavy load of carrying all hose in one bag. 150' of 1.75" with a gated wye can weigh in excess of 70 pounds. Imagine how that weight increases to if your department uses 2" or 2.5" hose.
If you do use 1.75” hose, avoid the Cleveland load. The load is designed for small diameter hose with high pressure, developed for the forestry service. Standpipe systems can be operating off as little as 65 psi. The Cleveland load will become a mess of spaghetti if there is not proper pressure and if it is not set up perfectly. Even if it has enough pressure to “pop” the Cleveland load tends to have a near 180 degree kink each time you start to pull a part of the coil. Imagine you’ve made the fire room and go to open the nozzle and have decreased flow because of a kink in the stairwell.
A few common loads are pictured below including The Denver Fold, The New York Fold, The Cleveland Load, and a Flat Load.
Next week will discuss the Denver Fold and New York Fold.
Fig A - The Denver Fold
Fig B - The FDNY or NY Fold
Fig C - The Cleveland Fold
Fig D - The Flat Load