Pros and Cons of The Forward Stretch

The forward stretch is used routinely by many fire departments for getting water from a source (hydrant) to an attack engine. This evolution is especially effective in the early stages of an intense and/or growing incident.


Firefighters are enjoying the quiet of a summer afternoon in their fire station discussing the night’s dinner when the stationhouse speakers crackle. The dispatcher announces “a reported structure fire” with a sense of urgency. Within seconds, firefighters are hustling toward their...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

Many fire departments moving from smaller supply hose thought all of their water supply problems would go away with LDH This is not true. An example of this was illustrated by a fire department that routinely did forward stretches with 2½-inch hose, but moved to four-inch hose – a good move for that department. But the members did no homework or training on their new hose nor did they suspect anything other than fantastic water at every fire. At a large fire one night, they set their tower ladder (capable of discharging 1,500 gpm) at approximately 70-foot elevation being supplied by a single line of four-inch hose from a hydrant on an old water main 400 feet away. No engine was attached to the hydrant – it was a straight lay. Firefighters were puzzled when they could not get anything resembling a fire stream working. Fire departments must study their own conditions and determine what size and how much hose should be used in each system.

4. Train your officers and your firefighters – It gets repetitive, but it’s true. We don’t train enough. Because of the conditions found in many fire departments with small budgets and cutbacks, reduced staffing, working with different personnel (some departments staff their firehouses with combination crews), overtime and, yes, even working with other fire departments through mutual or automatic aid, we lose time to train on the basics of the job. There is a real need to understand the characteristics of the evolution and how to make it work – and how to overcome any problems out in the street and still get maximum flows. If your department works with other fire departments, meet with them and train with them. The worst time to find out that “this fire department has a different-size hose” or “that fire department has a different type of thread size” and that no one has any adapters to overcome this problem is at the scene of a major incident!

This article comes from the archives of Firehouse magazine. To read more magazine archives, click here to subscribe