In our first article in this series, we broke the ice as to the need for a standpipe hose system that consists of multiple items. The “system” that we identified consists of three elements that are each carried by a firefighter to the floor below the fire in the typical high-rise setting.
Let’s take a look at this system as it applies to a fire department that may be faced with staffing constraints, yet is obligated to provide an effective initial-attack capability. Standpipe equipped buildings come in various types. For example, we can have standpipe operations in residential or commercial high-rise buildings that are of fire-resistive construction, we could be faced with large square-footage commercial occupancies that are only a few levels, but are massive in scope, or we could be faced with occupancies that have standpipe systems, but may present construction and height features far different from the traditional high-rise building. Nevertheless, our fire departments have to be able to overcome any eventuality and get a sufficient amount of water on the fire in a safe manner. The high-rise hose pack “system” is such a tool in the toolbox!
In this article, we’ll discuss how to put the system together, the various accessories that should be included and where they should be carried. It’s important to remember that weight issues can rapidly debilitate our members, so it’s a must that we evenly distribute the necessary items.
Furthermore, all of the needed items to initiate a fire attack have to be carried in a fashion so that the weight being carried causes the least amount of stress and provides a means where the firefighter has the freedom to maneuver.
Packing the System
The system consists of three separate elements:
- 100 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose (2 x 50-foot lengths connected together) with a 1 1/4-inch smoothbore nozzle. The nozzle is a break-apart type nozzle where the tapered bore can be removed leaving you with a shut off and 1 1/2-inch male threads
- 100 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose (like above) but instead of a nozzle, this pack has an inline pressure gauge on the female coupling
- A heavy-duty bag with a closure-type opening on top. This allows for various appliances to be carried without the fear of them falling out if the bag is dropped
To create this system, you will also need 3 x 48-inch long seatbelt-type straps and 1 by 48-inch piece of 1-inch webbing tied in a loop for each hose pack. The seatbelt straps keep the hose tightly together and the webbing allows for control of the pack as members are ascending the stairs. Therefore you need six straps and two pieces of webbing. The tool bag for the various tools and appliances has to be heavy duty and must have long shoulder straps so a member can carry this bag over his shoulder allowing him the freedom of both hands.
The tool bag has a few items of significance that compliment the standpipe hose pack system. Take a look at part one of this series for a detailed explanation of what’s carried in the bag and why.
To begin creating this system, start by having enough room to work, such as the apparatus bay. The steps for creating the first hose pack described above are fairly simple.
- One firefighter, in bunker pants because of the kneepads provided, kneels down and places the female coupling against his left ankle (see Photo 1).
- The hose is then wrapped around his knees to the right ankle and back again to where we started.
- This continues until we get to the second coupling (see Photo 2).
- When the next length of hose is attached, we start a second row immediately above and continue until we get to the male coupling.
- The nozzle is then placed on the line.
- At three separate points on the pack, about a foot from each end and at the center, the seatbelt straps are secured tightly (Photo 3).
- Near the upper most portion of the pack, a piece of tubular webbing is interlaced through a single fold of hose, thus creating a loop (see Photo 4). This strap is not designed to carry any weight, but simply to pull the hose pack taught in the event the firefighter feels it is starting to slip off (see Photo 5).