Standpipe & High-rise Packs - Part 1

Preparation before an emergency is commonplace to us in the fire service. For fires in standpipe-equipped buildings, this statement couldn't be truer. Is your department prepared to respond to a fire in a standpipe-equipped building? In particular, can...

The company officer may need the flexibility of the smaller diameter line, but needs the advantages of the 2 1/2-inch hose, such as the ability to overcome limited pressures. The bulk of the hose stretch is filled out with 2 1/2-inch hose and then a lone length of 1 3/4-inch is attached to the 2 1/2-inch nozzle shut off. By doing this we will be able to move water more efficiently with what pressure is available and we'll get a better stream then had the entire stretch been 1 3/4-inch".

Obviously, in many situations there will be enough flow and pressure to supply a single 1 3/4-inch line 200 feet long, but what if you encounter unexpected pressure and flow problems? Again, have the 2 1/2-inch readily available.

Now we have two firefighters on the single length of 1 3/4-inch hose, which is attached to the 2 1/2-inch nozzle. We can maneuver the 1 3/4-inch line through narrow hallways typical of the urban housing project apartments and the ability to safely control the nozzle reaction from the smaller diameter line. This working length of hose will also benefit us in that most apartments can be reached with a single 50-foot length of hose from the apartment hallway door to any point inside. Take into account a 40-foot stream and we can hit just about any area of any apartment unless an unusual situation is present.

While 1 3/4-inch hose is a great tool in the toolbox, don't be fooled by the residential apartment fire! Be prepared for the big guns immediately!

What if the fire is deemed to be of a more severe magnitude? Well, it's simple, just leave the rolled up length of 1 3/4-inch in the tool bag and keep it on the floor below for later on, such as for overhaul.

Whatever the situation that's encountered, make it a point that you error on the side of caution. The system we are creating here has two options: 2 1/2--inch hose coupled with a 1 1/4-inch nozzle allows 325 gpm attack ability and the 1 3/4-inch hose with a 15/6-inch nozzle provides 185 gpm attack ability. Use your best judgment to choose the correct line as the options and the flexibility is there. If in doubt, go for the bigger punch, or if staffing doesn't permit, consider a more defensive approach by taking advantage of the building's construction features and confinement principles.


In this article we described the need for flexibility in our standpipe operations and how critical it is that we prepare for such an event. We need to prepare our operations for maximum firepower so the 2 1/2-inch hose with a 1 1/4-inch nozzle equals a 325 gpm combination is a must. Nevertheless, we may find ourselves confronted by a need where maneuverability and a lesser flow is the key to our success and the working length of 1 3/4-inch with a 15/16-inch nozzle allows 185 GPM combination is the more appropriate solution.

In our next article we'll show how to pack the system so that three members can bring everything that's need to the floor below the fire. It's important to remember that the weight must be equally distributed and carried in a fashion that is both comfortable and permits hands free access. This will be covered in Part 2.

Until we meet again, try these short company drill ideas and answer these questions:

  • Take out your hose packs/high-rise kits. Assemble them on the bay floor and take an inventory of the different accessories, nozzles, and hose layouts.
  • Can you supply water for the fires that can happen in your community (or for the mutual aid city that calls you) 200 feet from the standpipe outlet? Use the National Fire Academy flow formula of Length x Width divided by 3 to compute the amount of fire you can knock down in a typical compartment in your area.
  • Think of the commercial areas with the larger square footage and higher fire loads as part of your planning as well; can you handle this fire load?
  • What if the outlet has only 1 1/2-inch threads? What if the outlet has only 2 1/2-inch threads? Can you complete the mission?

More next time.

  • Armand recently authored a two-part series for Firehouse Magazine that detailed a residential high-rise fire in his department. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

ARMAND F. GUZZI JR. has been a member of the fire service since 1987.  He is a career fire lieutenant with the City of Long Branch, NJ, Fire Department and is the deputy director of the Monmouth County, NJ, Fire Academy where he has taught for over 20 years.  He has a masters degree in management and undergraduate degrees in fire science, education, and business administration. View all of Armand's articles here. He can be reached via e-mail at or