2 inch hose...Are you using it?
My volly FD has been using 2 inch hose exclusively for handline ops for a little over a decade now. When I say exclusively, I mean we have no other handline size for fire attack. Well, I guess that is not entirely true we use 3/4 garden hose and 1 inch forestry hose for brush fire operations. We use 2 inch for fire attack, 3 inch for extending handlines with an "apartment line" set-up, for supplying ground monitors, and for supplying FDCs, and 5 inch for water supply ops.
We did the usua change from 1 1/2 inch lines to 1 3/4 back in the late 70's, but failed to follow through with a nozzle change. We were still using the Akron Turbojet 30-60-95-125 GPM nozzles so our 1 3/4 inch hose line was nothing more than a low friction loss line with no increase in flow. Then one of our Chiefs bought into the TFT automatic nozzle hype and we bought those. Our experience with them was less than satisfying, we found that any time we tried to flow more than 150 gpm FFs would gate down the nozzle to make it easier to control. We found that often this reducd the flow to below 100 GPM.
We began our own research program looking at all types of nozzles, smoothbore, Dual-Force TFTs, selectable gallonage combination nozzles, single gallonage combination nozzles, and low pressure and 100 psi nozzles. We settled on Elkhart break a part low pressure 200 GPM at 75 psi combination nozzles with a 15/16 smooth bore slug. We underpumped the combination tip to around 55 PSI to get around 160 gpm for our starting flow. At this time we still had 2 1/2 inch hose lines although they were rarely utilized.
A nearby FD was looking to get rid of a couple hundred feet of 2 inch hose so we bought it to try it out. The guys preferred it to the 1 3/4 and the chief saw that at fire after fire when the crew would go to the back of the rig, past the crosslays and pull the 2 inch. He decided to replace all of our 1 3/4 inch hose with 2 inch and lady luck shined down on us when another nearby FD decided to sell their old 2 inch. We bought around 2000 feet of 2 inch for about 1/3 the cost of new. We tested it and found out to 300 feet a flow of 300 GPM was practical so we took our slug tip nozzles to a local machine shop and had them bored out to 1 1/4 so we could flow 300 at around 40 PSI at the tip. Now we had an all purpose line that could flow our initial 160 GPM at about 55 PSI, could go to 200 GPM at 75 PSI, and even by removing the combo tip and going to the slug tip flowing 300 GPM. The only downside we noticed was a loss of a cohesive stream from the slug tip past about 70 feet.
Both of our engines carry 200 and 300 foot 2 inch preconnects. They also have 3 inch "apartment lines" with a gated wye and 100 feet of 2 inch connected to them. We do carry another bundle pack for either extending that original 2 inch line or adding a second line.
Okay, why we wanted one all purpose line...We ran VERY shorthanded for years. During the day it was a good day time fire for us to get 4 out on the first rig (things are far better these days). We couldn't make the mistake of pulling the wrong line and having the second crew, with any kind of speed anyways, pull the right line. With our set-up we can flow down to a 1 3/4 inch line in flow or all the way up to a 2 1/2. We regularly move the line with 2 people and have no problems doing it.
I know I have talked about our set-up here many times but never telling the entire story all in one topic. So tell me your thoughts. Let's not turn this into a flame war because I am not saying what you do is wrong, just saying what we do.