We have covered a lot of ground as it relates to hose-pack systems in the first two parts of this series. We now know that it’s not as simple as throwing 150 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose with a 95 gallon per minute (gpm) fog nozzle in a bag and then on top of the apparatus. We went over the basic principles, including how to divide up the equipment, what these items are used for and how to get the needed items to the floor below the fire. Now, in this final article, we’ll talk about fire attack and how to deploy the system. This system does offer flexibility of either 2 1/2-inch hose with a 1 1/4-inch tip (325 gpm) or 1 3/4-inch hose with a 15/16-inch tip (185 gpm). The use of the 1 3/4-inch is only a single length stretched off the 2 1/2-inch break-apart nozzle. The 1 3/4-inch is a tool and is not a must-use resource. Remember, high-rise and standpipe operations are fraught with many hidden dangers that can affect water supply and fire attack ability. The 1 3/4-inch hose is for specific situations that have been spelled out previously.
Regardless of what strategy you choose to use, make sure your people are well trained and understand the theories and principles. Practical training is very important, but so is the academic training because this explains the reasons why we do certain things. Firefighters have to be able to grasp the principles and theories and be more than just “drones.” If you teach them properly, they then become an extra set of eyes and ears for you as the company officer or incident commander (IC). This is critical to reducing firefighter injuries and deaths.
The Attack Line
When the system is brought into a fire in a standpipe-equipped building, such as a residential high rise, prudent practices demand that the initial attack line be hooked up on the floor below the fire. This allows members to operate in an area of refuge or safety, free from the products of combustion.
Anytime we operate with uncharged hoselines, it should be in an area that is not prone to any extreme form of fire behavior. This could include one of three areas in our typical residential high-rise buildings. For example:
The stretch to the apartment door – The easiest stretch involves when the fire apartment door is closed. The door is of the fire-rated type and the doorframe and walls are also intact, keeping the fire compartmentalized. The line is stretched dry to the apartment door so that a 50-foot length of hose is ready to advance when the line is charged and the door forced open. Whether the stretch is a 2 1/2-inch handline or the 1 3/4-inch length attached to the end of the 2 1/2-inch nozzle (see Photo 1), the principle remains the same; 50 feet of hose is stretched in front of the apartment door (see Photo 2). The line is then charged, the nozzle checked for adequate pressure and flow, and then the door is forced. The members hit the ceiling with the stream and then advance inside.
With 50-foot hose readily available, there aren’t too many apartments that can’t be reached by this length plus the 30- to 40-foot stream. If more hose is needed, then the additional members have to work as a team to advance the line further.
The stretch to the stairwell door – If the apartment door is compromised and the common hallway threatened by fire, members will then stretch the line dry in the “attack” stairwell. With this door to the public hallway closed and the “attack” stair free of smoke and other products of combustion, members can stretch a length of hose up the stairwell to the landing above the fire floor. The line is connected on the floor below the fire like previously, but we need a place to deploy extra line. For that we stretch up an additional flight of stairs prior to entering the fire floor (see Photo 3). This is a convenient means as it takes advantage of available space and allows gravity to help deploy the line. The line is charged and the stream pattern checked before this door is opened and as the line advances, the length on the stairs that was stretched a flight above deploys with the help of gravity.