Trash Talkin'

It hasn't been that long since the vast majority of fire apparatus being delivered had single or even twin booster reels loaded with as much as 200-250 ft. of 1" red line and 24gpm nozzles. As time and tactics changed, and fire flow application rates were better understood, departments moved towards higher initial attack fire flows, pre-connected lines, and larger capacity nozzles.

Today, it's rare to see a new apparatus with a booster reel installed. Though, it isn't uncommon to find pre-laid trash lines on apparatus front bumpers, hose bags packed with small diameter hose, or one pre-connected line devoted specifically to trash and dumpster fires, wash downs, or the occasional brush fire. Though the booster reel may be going the way of riding the rear tailboard, the demand for a small, lightweight, easily maneuverable line is still high when dealing with many nuisance type fires.

Even though overall flow capabilities cannot rival 1 ?" handlines, it is not unusual for a 50' or 100' section of rubber 1" hose combined with a high capacity, low pressure automatic nozzle to provide up to 95gpm with relatively low pump discharge pressures. Unlike the high friction losses that must be overcome when pumping a 250' section of red line on a booster reel, a short section of rubber 1" line can provide substantial flows quite efficiently. This short section of hose, combined with the 75psi operating pressure of a low pressure automatic nozzle, offers great stream performance (typically 65gpm - 90gpm flows) with a 100ft stream reach and a protective fog pattern at pump operating pressures from 125psi-150psi.

Consider these "trash line" operational features;

  • A single operator is provided with outstanding maneuverability, even in tight quarters, such as attics or crawl spaces.

  • Flows provided are typically adequate for dumpster, refuse, and brush fires, as well as for structural overhaul after knockdown with a higher flowing line. Departmental operating guidelines should be followed.

  • Lines are easily stored, deployed, and are quickly cleaned and packed for the next use.

  • Low-pressure automatic nozzle offers maximum flows with limited pump discharge pressure.

Though booster reels with 1" lines are no longer common on newer apparatus, the need for a quickly deployable, highly flexible utility line still exists within most department's operations. As your agency reviews your overall fire streams management capabilities, consider a modern "trash line" for your low flow requirements.