Sizing the Initial Attack Hoseline

While much has been discussed and presented about proper size up and advancing the initial attack hose line, we sometimes loose sight of the fact that to be effective, the line not only must be stretched in the right place, but must also flow enough water...


In real life, an 1-3/4” handline can comfortably and safely flow from 100 to 180-GPM on the fireground, and any flows over 150-GPM are best run through low pressure combination or smooth bore nozzles to reduce nozzle reaction forces. Also keep in mind that at flows over 150-GPM, you will need at least three firefighters to properly advance the line and handle the reaction forces.

If you plan to use a 2-1/2” attack line, keep in mind the size and weight of the hose makes it very staffing-intensive, especially when used offensively. With practice, two members can deploy an uncharged line, secure the business end and flow 250-GPM for defensive operations with relative ease. The problem comes when you want to move it—there is just no getting away from the fact that you need 3 or 4 members to pick up the line and get it where it needs to go. Also take a close look at your business end hardware. A fog nozzle operating with a 100-PSI nozzle operating pressure and a brass playpipe might not be the best choice for easy and safe handling.

Keep in mind that a through, 360-degree size up must happen before you can properly select the right sized hose line. Pulling a line should not be determined by, “that’s what we always use,” or “it’s easier to handle than a 2-1/2”. Your people should recognize when more water is needed and be trained enough to be comfortable handling whatever line is ordered into service.