Thread: Backup lines

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    I remember hearing that saying about backing up with a larger line many years ago when all you had was an 11/2" with settings of 30-60-95-125gpm, or a 21/2". Back then you needed a larger line to get good water. But it's no problem getting 175-200gpm from an 13/4" these days so in many cases you can use the same size for backup.. While I don't agree with everything said there are some good points here. Do what works for you. We usually go with the 13/4" and back it up with the same size and a third line streched to the front yard or near the building entrance. If two apartments are involved or fire on two floors the backup is also an attack line and the third goes where needed.
    I'm talking about SFD's and not highrise or factory/warehouse/commercial buildings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Are you guys discussing a backup line, or a second attack line? In my area, that's 2 distinct lines and operations.

    Backup line is normally not for attacking the fire, unless there is a problem with the primary and/or second line.
    For us - they start as one and the same. We normally don't have the manpower to pull a 2nd line and a third for 'backup' right away. Most of the time, we don't pull the third because the first one did the job and the fire is out by the time we would be ready to setup another line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by youngb420 View Post
    I am not advocating the use of one hoseline over the other in residential operations, I'm simply stating that your back-up should have a higher flow and deeper penetration than your initial line. Will it be needed? probably not, but I'd rather be ahead of the curve than behind it when something goes south.
    True. However, if this is the concern, why not just pull the bigger line to begin with? That way you're always ahead of "the curve."

    Rather, if your first 1 3/4 isn't cutting it right away as in your example, there are more potential problems than just the size of the back up line. Perhaps you're not hitting the seat, perhaps you've got a kink you're unaware of, perhaps the wrong pressure is on the line. Start with the basics and work up.

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    see post below.
    Last edited by mholtzman; 01-14-2010 at 05:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by youngb420 View Post
    What I was attempting to say is fairly simple:

    If the back-up line is placed in service, it's because something went wrong, Your standard input is not giving you standard results, time to change tactics! A line of the same diameter and flow as the initial line, which hasn't done its job, doesn't do anything to make the problem better or help your crew that is now taking a beating and most likely retreating.

    I've done some training on the 2 1/2" and it's not as bad as some make out to be, I can move it, and fairly quickly, with two people, and three make it move almost as fast as an 1 3/4", it's all in the technique.

    As to the flow of two 1 3/4" being better than one 2 1/2", the stream of the 2 1/2" is always going to have more reach and mass than an 1 3/4". Adding another 1 3/4" isn't going to get water on the seat of the fire any better than the first and instead of using two or three personnel on one line (2 1/2"), now you're using 4 or more FF's on two lines.

    PDP for 200' 1 3/4"=50PSI NP+100PSI FL=150PSI and that will give me 210 GPM
    PDP for 200' 2 1/2"=50PSI NP+64PSI FL=114PSI and that will give me 325 GPM

    Before anyone says the pressures are too low, these were obtained by flowing my FD's hose at varying pressures to obtain the FL coefficients.
    A backup line isn't only placed in service if something goes wrong! It's pretty standard to protect egress and not let fire get behind the the 1st in line. You say you've done "training" on a 2 1/2"? Have you ever brought a charged 2 1/2" through a cluttered structure with high heat and low visibility and made turns? With two people? Fairly quickly? If this is true, I want you guys to ride backwards on my engine, cause you guys are like super heros to me!!! Why would reach even be an issue in a SFD? Please measure the reach of a 1 3/4" and measure the longest hallway or room that you will encounter in a SFD....it's not an issue issue.

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    Default Back up lines

    Coming from a small City FD with a run volume of 2800 runs a year out of one house, we rely on back up everything. We have four on duty per shift with the first due engine co made up of Engineer, 2 ff's and a Captain. Confirmed working fires get a back-up line to the door on single story and to the top of the stairs on a multi-story dwelling, usually an 1 and 3/4 line capable of flowing foam. In our department the Captain is usually a combative commander until second due is on scene. He will usually pull the back-up line after a walk around. It's all we can do..... for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    I remember hearing that saying about backing up with a larger line many years ago when all you had was an 11/2" with settings of 30-60-95-125gpm, or a 21/2". Back then you needed a larger line to get good water. But it's no problem getting 175-200gpm from an 13/4" these days so in many cases you can use the same size for backup.. While I don't agree with everything said there are some good points here. Do what works for you. We usually go with the 13/4" and back it up with the same size and a third line streched to the front yard or near the building entrance. If two apartments are involved or fire on two floors the backup is also an attack line and the third goes where needed.
    I'm talking about SFD's and not highrise or factory/warehouse/commercial buildings.
    That's actualy a very good point about the amount of water available from different sized lines. Didn't even think to look at it that way.
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    In general, we don't lay back up lines. We lay additional attack lines if needed.
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    ^^^^^^^^

    What he said.
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    It is always situational, of course, but we pull a backup line usually the same size, but 50' LONGER as soon as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtfire View Post
    It is always situational, of course, but we pull a backup line usually the same size, but 50' LONGER as soon as possible.
    Uh yea...

    If your first line(s) couldn't handle the fire, what is an additional 50 feet going to do for you?

    And if you require an additional 50 feet, doesn't that tell you that you need to re-evaluate how you are estimating your initial stretch and stop stretching short?
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    Default Uhhh

    Uh the backup line isn't normally used to fight fire unless there's "an issue"
    It is there as........ you guessed it, a backup, the extra 50' is simply an "oh crap" then fill in the blank. example, hose team went ahead of the nozzle to rescue the baby and got trapped, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnVBFD View Post
    Uh yea...

    If your first line(s) couldn't handle the fire, what is an additional 50 feet going to do for you?

    And if you require an additional 50 feet, doesn't that tell you that you need to re-evaluate how you are estimating your initial stretch and stop stretching short?
    If my initial line can't handle the fire, a second attack line is stretched.

    If something happens that the first line is lost or guys are trapped, the backup line is used.

    Again, what some people call a "backup" line is what some people call a "second" attack line.
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    I can easily see how one department/person/etc can view a second line as simply the line the next engine in is gonna grab. Where we are, that may happen... But with staffing, a lot of times the line, if it is pulled, is more of a true backup or RIT line.... Would love to have more hands to pull line, but obviously you've got to work with what you've got...

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    I've done some training on the 2 1/2" and it's not as bad as some make out to be, I can move it, and fairly quickly, with two people, and three make it move almost as fast as an 1 3/4", it's all in the technique

    Are you pulling it dry and saying that is as fast? I could see that, but otherwise, please send video and instructions. I wanna learn those techniques!

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    Personally i think some on here are playing the semantics game. We streatch our first line to the fire area. the 2nd line is streatched. That line either goes above the fire if the inital attack line is already confined the fire or protects the stairwell/egress. Which in the case of a typical 2 story sfd it can sometimes due both roles. Save the stairs save the building! That line is use to protect the stairs and egress, as its number 1 priority. With crews searching above the fire, it is EXTREMLY important for a hose line to be in place protecting them. Their lives are literarly in your hands.

    As for the 2.5 in SFD debate. I am a fan of using the 2.5 in SFDs when the fire calls for it. Advanced Fire conditions upon arrival. We will pull a 2.5 for knock down. By streatching this line to a common area of the house, you can hit most of the fire. Think about most houses. They have a common hallway that acesses most areas of the house. from that point you can hit pretty much every area of the house. After knocking down a mojority of the fire you can the pull an 1 3/4 to finish up. You are not streatching that 2.5 into every room and closet. Most of the time in my experience it is only streatched maybe 50-75' into the house. One charged section of 2.5 weights 105lbs. with a smoothbore nozzle and proper techniques one firefighter can operate it from a stationary postition. Two firefighters can move it whilie flowing. In fact with our operations most of the time one guy is streatching the 2.5 to that common area and operating it. I know some of you are reading this saying yea ok. Well i can tell you it can be down i have done it. Three occasions within the last 6 months. All in working fires under high heat and smoke.

    the techniques are very easy. That little voice in the pit of your stomach that says i think i can, i think i can. listen to that voice,dig deep and man up. Also those weights that are sitting in the bay at your station use them. that is why the gave them to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    Personally i think some on here are playing the semantics game. We streatch our first line to the fire area. the 2nd line is streatched. That line either goes above the fire if the inital attack line is already confined the fire or protects the stairwell/egress. Which in the case of a typical 2 story sfd it can sometimes due both roles. Save the stairs save the building! That line is use to protect the stairs and egress, as its number 1 priority. With crews searching above the fire, it is EXTREMLY important for a hose line to be in place protecting them. Their lives are literarly in your hands.

    As for the 2.5 in SFD debate. I am a fan of using the 2.5 in SFDs when the fire calls for it. Advanced Fire conditions upon arrival. We will pull a 2.5 for knock down. By streatching this line to a common area of the house, you can hit most of the fire. Think about most houses. They have a common hallway that acesses most areas of the house. from that point you can hit pretty much every area of the house. After knocking down a mojority of the fire you can the pull an 1 3/4 to finish up. You are not streatching that 2.5 into every room and closet. Most of the time in my experience it is only streatched maybe 50-75' into the house. One charged section of 2.5 weights 105lbs. with a smoothbore nozzle and proper techniques one firefighter can operate it from a stationary postition. Two firefighters can move it whilie flowing. In fact with our operations most of the time one guy is streatching the 2.5 to that common area and operating it. I know some of you are reading this saying yea ok. Well i can tell you it can be down i have done it. Three occasions within the last 6 months. All in working fires under high heat and smoke.

    the techniques are very easy. That little voice in the pit of your stomach that says i think i can, i think i can. listen to that voice,dig deep and man up. Also those weights that are sitting in the bay at your station use them. that is why the gave them to you.
    I could probably drag a blitzfire in the house too...

    The 2.5 is more then you need for most interior attacks at a sfd. It's not the weight of the individual sections, it's about making bends and dragging all that overkill that I don't like.
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    how is it over kill if you need the back up line to help extinguish the fire. Obviously your inital attack line was not the proper size to extinguish the fire(GPM/Btu). thus your back up line had to come and help put the fire out. And really how many bends and how far are you dragging hose into a typical sfd fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    how is it over kill if you need the back up line to help extinguish the fire. Obviously your inital attack line was not the proper size to extinguish the fire(GPM/Btu). thus your back up line had to come and help put the fire out. And really how many bends and how far are you dragging hose into a typical sfd fire.
    One 90 degree bend at the top of a stairwell is all it takes. I've been there and done that and watched a mutual aid company struggle and knock themselves out doing it.

    If two 1.75 lines can't do the job on a single family dwelling (in one area of that dwelling), then you probably should be backing out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    One 90 degree bend at the top of a stairwell is all it takes. I've been there and done that and watched a mutual aid company struggle and knock themselves out doing it.

    If two 1.75 lines can't do the job on a single family dwelling (in one area of that dwelling), then you probably should be backing out.
    ^^^

    What he said, For us 2 1.75 lines would be 420 gpm if that didn't knock it down quickly then there is a problem and we would need to rethink our plan of attack, and become yardbreathers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    how is it over kill if you need the back up line to help extinguish the fire. Obviously your inital attack line was not the proper size to extinguish the fire(GPM/Btu). thus your back up line had to come and help put the fire out. And really how many bends and how far are you dragging hose into a typical sfd fire.
    Pretty much depends on what your typical sfd is. I have sfd that are over 5000 sq feet. I also have sfd that are under 1000 sq feet. 1 story up through 3 story. Open floor plan through very compartmentalized floor plan. SFD's that have single straight staircase and 4 turn staircase and circular staircase.

    What is typical?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Pretty much depends on what your typical sfd is. I have sfd that are over 5000 sq feet. I also have sfd that are under 1000 sq feet. 1 story up through 3 story. Open floor plan through very compartmentalized floor plan. SFD's that have single straight staircase and 4 turn staircase and circular staircase.

    What is typical?
    Good point.
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    exactly, my point to say that we dont pull 2.5 in sfds is close minded. the fire is what determines the size line to pull. I have seen a 2.5 pulled on a tractor trailer fire (vehical fire). I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I veiw the 2.5 as a very useful tool, that can give you that greater hit when you need it. I dont see the problems that you are talking about as in one turn at the top of the staircase. Disipline of every firefigther on the attack crew is need to make a 2.5 go smoothly. With an 1 3/4 the backup man, controlman, doorman (whatever positions you have filled) can make small mistakes that usually will not compound to slow the streatch. However with a 2.5 those mistakes are magnified. everyone has to be on the top of your game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    exactly, my point to say that we dont pull 2.5 in sfds is close minded. the fire is what determines the size line to pull. I have seen a 2.5 pulled on a tractor trailer fire (vehical fire). I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I veiw the 2.5 as a very useful tool, that can give you that greater hit when you need it. I dont see the problems that you are talking about as in one turn at the top of the staircase. Disipline of every firefigther on the attack crew is need to make a 2.5 go smoothly. With an 1 3/4 the backup man, controlman, doorman (whatever positions you have filled) can make small mistakes that usually will not compound to slow the streatch. However with a 2.5 those mistakes are magnified. everyone has to be on the top of your game.
    I think it would be a very rare thing to find a fire in a single family house that needs the deuce and a half for an interior attack. But yes, in those very rare cases, perhaps.

    As for a vehicle fire or tt fire, i've used a deck gun, so no disagreement there.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Not seeing the very rare occasions part. If i can get a good knock down with a single 2.5 line compared to two 1 3/4 lines (and having to hear quint # had to come in and help put out your fire!). I am going to break a sweat and get winded by pulling that 2.5. Different though processes equaling the same results. Each to their own.

    The more important point to this thread is the importantace of having that 2nd or 3rd line pulled charged and in place. Either protecting the stairwell, the floor above, or helping to confine the fire. We cannot allow guys to be operating on the floor above the fire without a line in place to protect them. This has resulted in countless deaths and IMO one of the most dangerous places to be on the fire ground (searching above the floor above the fire).

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