Standpipe & High-Rise Packs - Part 2

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 second pack is very similar to the first.

  1. Connect the inline pressure gauge to the female coupling.
  2. Begin packing this hose pack, as above, except place the inline gauge at your left ankle and continue to pack the hose as above.
  3. The male couple is at the end and has nothing attached to it.
  4. Place the three seatbelts in position, as we did above, and the same with the webbing strap.
  5. Notice in Photo 6 how the firefighter carries this pack without any problems.

The tool bag is prepared by placing the length of rolled hose in first and all the needed items are placed next to it. The bag should be big enough to carry these items, but not so big that it’s awkward.

The three-item system can fit in an area approximately 34 inches wide by 18 inches deep by 18 inches high. See the photo for how this three-part system easily fits into a cabinet on an apparatus (see Photo 7). Different sized cabinets may require some adjustment, but luckily the two hose packs and tool bag don’t take up that much space.

Transporting the System

The convenience of deploying the system is that the weight load is equally distributed among the members of a three-person engine company. The way the items are carried permits greater control and safety because of the “hands-free” carrying methods. Each of the two hose packs in the system is carried over the top of the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinder. When each hose pack is placed on top, so that the weight is as close to the firefighters back as possible, the hose will not fall off. With the SCBA waist strap secured properly, all of the weight is carried on the hips making for a very comfortable means of carrying such an awkward load.

The tool bag also carries a variety of accessories and is equipped with a lengthy shoulder strap that allows for a member to pick up the bag, place his arm through it and ascend up the interior stairs with the freedom of both hands. The freedom of both hands permits additional items to be carried or allows for members to hold on to the handrails.

One Note To Standpipe Flows

While the high rise hose pack system that we have discussed so far gives us a lot of flexibility and options, you must be familiar with the flow characteristics of the standpipe systems in your community.  For example, the Class 1 and Class 3 standpipe systems are designed to provide adequate flows to supply our hose pack system, but the Class 2 system could prove to be woefully inadequate.  We have a lot of flexibility with the items we bring with us to hook up a 2 1/2-inch line to the 1 1/2-inch threads of a Class 2 standpipe outlet, but remember that the Class 2 system was never designed for large handline flows.  Sure, we have the ability to hook up to the outlet with the items we have discussed, but if the fire protection system is only flowing a limited amount of water, you better think of alternate strategies way ahead of time.  As a good rule of thumb, stretch from the apparatus if the building is equipped with only a Class 2 standpipe system.  The bottom line is know your buildings fire protection features ahead of time and what flows are realistic.  This will help you to formulate a safe and effective strategy.

Summary

The ability to pack the system, carry it in a fashion that limits stress and distribute the weight among a team of firefighters are all key elements in the system. In addition, having the proper tools and appliances ready for most eventualities is also a key factor. One additional note, whenever members ascend to the upper reaches of the fire building, it’s important that they don’t drop or throw the high-rise pack components on the ground. A damaged coupling or nozzle means that someone has to go downstairs and get a replacement item. Remember what we said about reflex time in the previous article; from the time the alarm is received to the time water is flowing can be a while. Don’t make things worse by accidentally damaging a key component.