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Thread: Dropping 5" on fire alarms

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    Default Dropping 5" on fire alarms

    So, the topic has finally made it to my department of dropping supply line and tying into the hydrant on every fire alarm call. There are some larger departments in the area that have started doing this. Does anyone here do it? What are your thoughts, good or bad?

    I'll share an example of why I'm against it right now. It was mentioned for a call we go to quite often: a dorm at the local college. I have been to this dorm many times over my career for false alarms. It was mentioned that we should drop 5" on this call and other fire alarms so we don't get caught being complacent with it being "just another fire alarm." We have 2 engines responding from our 2 stations on every call. (1 from each station).

    I, for one, think that you should have enough confidence in your officers to be able to make that call. Also, I despise blanket policies for something that may never happen. It's my belief that knowing your first due, you have an idea of what to plan for. Your response should be based on what will happen 99.9% of the time, not the .1% of the time. I'm not saying don't train an practice for the worst case scenario, but for your average response, I believe you should go with what you know. For our scenario, the second in engine can easily catch a hydrant if necessary and the IC from the first engine will get there and should know if there is a fire pretty quickly. During these 100 degree days, needlessly dropping 5" seems like a burden. Also, our difference is if we catch another call, there is no one else to respond besides us. Larger departments usually have other stations that can cover. If another call comes in, you can't really just leave your 5" laying and go to the next call...you might need it!

    Thanks for any input!

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    We could be responding to an AFA and have heavy smoke from several blocks out and we're still not gonna drop any hose until we get on the scene (not at the hydrant a block or two before the scene) and see what we have.

    Hose is a tool to use when you need it. If you don't need it, don't drop it.

    Having said that, we don't ever lay in. We lay out if we need to.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-17-2014 at 01:27 AM.
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    2 engines responding in....1 goes to scene to investigate, other stages at hydrant nearby and will be moved up accordingly. Lay hose when it's needed.
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    It sounds like you operate in a similar fashion to my department - 2 stations with a single apparatus responding from each.

    As you kind of pointed out, automatically putting LDH on the street for fire alarms, or most other calls for that matter, just isn't practical and it's not a matter of being complacent. It's not uncommon for us to have more than one call working at a time or closely in sequence. We would frequently experience delays in responding to other calls if we were always dropping LDH on our fire alarms. Plus, with only a handful or so of guys on-duty, we'd be unnecessarily expending lots of energy and effort for essentially no reason. This may not be a big deal most days, but can be during extreme temps (hot or cold) or during inclement weather (rain, snow or icy conditions). It can also significantly increase your exposure potential for injury unnecessarily.

    Plus, depending on the location of the hydrant in relation to the scene, you'll be obstructing traffic flow or creating a traffic hazard with LDH on the street along with exposing the hose to potential damage if traffic would drive over it vs around it. Certainly a concern for us as we already have traffic driving over hoses at actual fires.

    Currently our "SOP" is for the second arriving unit to lay in to the first unit when needed, unless ordered to or circumstances dictate the need to do otherwise. This works very well for us and provides several advantages for our operational realities.

    It works for us and the adage "work smarter, not harder" comes to mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDInspector3 View Post
    So, the topic has finally made it to my department of dropping supply line and tying into the hydrant on every fire alarm call. There are some larger departments in the area that have started doing this. Does anyone here do it? What are your thoughts, good or bad?

    I'll share an example of why I'm against it right now. It was mentioned for a call we go to quite often: a dorm at the local college. I have been to this dorm many times over my career for false alarms. It was mentioned that we should drop 5" on this call and other fire alarms so we don't get caught being complacent with it being "just another fire alarm." We have 2 engines responding from our 2 stations on every call. (1 from each station).

    I, for one, think that you should have enough confidence in your officers to be able to make that call. Also, I despise blanket policies for something that may never happen. It's my belief that knowing your first due, you have an idea of what to plan for. Your response should be based on what will happen 99.9% of the time, not the .1% of the time. I'm not saying don't train an practice for the worst case scenario, but for your average response, I believe you should go with what you know. For our scenario, the second in engine can easily catch a hydrant if necessary and the IC from the first engine will get there and should know if there is a fire pretty quickly. During these 100 degree days, needlessly dropping 5" seems like a burden. Also, our difference is if we catch another call, there is no one else to respond besides us. Larger departments usually have other stations that can cover. If another call comes in, you can't really just leave your 5" laying and go to the next call...you might need it!

    Thanks for any input!
    do you not have tank water ?
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    2 engines responding in....1 goes to scene to investigate, other stages at hydrant nearby and will be moved up accordingly. Lay hose when it's needed.
    This is pretty much my answer in a nutshell. It doesn't make sense to drop supply line no matter how far the lay without knowing what you have. Its easy for your second due engine to stage at nearest hydrant and await orders. On a side note, you start having your guys draining and loading 5" all the time and its a matter of time you start getting unnecessary injuries. Just my opinion.

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    We dont drop supply line on AFA or structure fire responses rarely do we ever lay in being the first engine. What we do is anytime we have a structure fire response we pull an attack line and stage it by the front door or where ever its appropriate. Gets you use to pulling in different areas around cars and other obstacles and if you do need it then its right there and just needs to be charged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    We could be responding to an AFA and have heavy smoke from several blocks out and we're still not gonna drop any hose until we get on the scene (not at the hydrant a block or two before the scene) and see what we have.

    Hose is a tool to use when you need it. If you don't need it, don't drop it.

    Having said that, we don't ever lay in. We lay out if we need to.
    You have an AFA activation AND heavy smoke and you're still not convinced there might be a problem that needs addressing by a fire department?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    You have an AFA activation AND heavy smoke and you're still not convinced there might be a problem that needs addressing by a fire department?
    Didn't say that at all.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-19-2014 at 03:42 PM.
    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Didn't say that at all.
    I'm not sure what you meant, then. AFA activation and heavy smoke, and you wouldn't drop hose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I'm not sure what you meant, then. AFA activation and heavy smoke, and you wouldn't drop hose?
    Not on the way in. You can't do a size up from the hydrant down the street. We don't lay in - ever.

    We utilize tank water and/or lay out.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-19-2014 at 03:47 PM.
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    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Not on the way in. You can't do a size up from the hydrant down the street. We don't lay in - ever.

    We utilize tank water and/or lay out.
    10-4.

    But I think I've gotten enough size-up done with the alarm activation and the heavy smoke from blocks away.

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    E34a,

    Are the MFD stations situated close enough that even with a column of smoke visible from a distance that your 500 gallon tanks are enough to comfortably hold the fire in check until another engine can arrive and reverse out?

    Saying that you all never lay out seems to limiting you to that particular mindset. We don't generally reverse lay (the 1st and 3rd due engines lay in), but wouldn't ever count it out.
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    Excellent answers everyone and thank you. Any way you can greatly increase that first alarm structure fire turnout/ response? Like if possible; to at least 3 engines and 1 ladder truck, plus a boss? Sounds like you MAY, (dunno) be setting yourself up for failure....and not success? What I am trying to say is; could your first alarm assignment be too light? Do you have an Auto Aid plan with other agencies?

    Again; way back before the dawn of time, (or even earlier?) like in 1972, my old outfit reversed layed from the fire to the plug. It gave the first in officer more flexibility in his size up. We did not catch a plug coming in. Our town had/ has an excellent high volume low pressure water supply system -- 35-50 psi. Any decent supply line had to be pumped. Reversing laying also concentrated more crew at the fire scene.

    Sometimes this did create fun when the Ladder Truck(s) wanted to own the address. But, when the engine(s) then layed from the fire to a plug(s) it opened up the site for ladder operations. Just another way of doing business. But...if all you have are the two, (2) engines on that first alarm, then you do have a dilemma. You need the engines at the fire, but you also need that quick supply line also. HB of CJ (old coot)

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    10-4.

    But I think I've gotten enough size-up done with the alarm activation and the heavy smoke from blocks away.
    Maybe, maybe not. Have you ever been to a reported dwelling or commercial building fire to find an auto in the driveway or in the rear on fire instead? I am sure you don't typically lay in to car fires.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    E34a,

    Are the MFD stations situated close enough that even with a column of smoke visible from a distance that your 500 gallon tanks are enough to comfortably hold the fire in check until another engine can arrive and reverse out?

    Saying that you all never lay out seems to limiting you to that particular mindset. We don't generally reverse lay (the 1st and 3rd due engines lay in), but wouldn't ever count it out.
    We don't have many 500 gallon tanks - most are 750.

    Our hose is loaded to be able to reverse lay - 5" supply and 2 1/2" wyed into (2) 1 3/4's in a separate bed. The wye is on top can bust it and put a nozzle on the 2 1/2" if you want.

    Typically, the first engine lays a line and initiates attack with tank water. Second engine goes to the first, connects to it, and reverse lays 5" to the plug - all engines have front intakes. In 20 years, I have never seen the first in engine run out of water due to a lack of supply.

    Currently we have pretty good station coverage. Here is a link to a google map with station locations if you care to see it. Red icons with a black dot are city stations.

    https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...Y.kEawGX5n6PVk
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-19-2014 at 08:26 PM.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    We could be responding to an AFA and have heavy smoke from several blocks out and we're still not gonna drop any hose until we get on the scene (not at the hydrant a block or two before the scene) and see what we have.

    Hose is a tool to use when you need it. If you don't need it, don't drop it.

    Having said that, we don't ever lay in. We lay out if we need to.
    Not "EVER" laying in is just as bad as always laying a supply line on a fire alarm. If you ever encounter a large fire requiring a master stream from the start, that's most likely a fire that you SHOULD lay in. And there may well be times where you only have one way in and CAN'T lay out.

    "Never say never"...

    As far as our dept., we don't lay supply lines on a fire alarm, but some companies do have a practice of hooking to stanpipe systems, which generally doesn't require much hose. The standard practice is for the 2nd engine to be responsible for water supply, although the first engine has the option to establish it if it's a large fire or the hyt. is within 100'. The important thing is that we have the option to adjust tactices as needed.

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    If my career FD had laid 5 inch on every AFA we would have been picking up hose over a dozen times some days, with multiple pick ups at the same location.

    To me it is wasted, unnecessary, effort. Especially if a second due engine is responding that can lay in if needed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Not "EVER" laying in is just as bad as always laying a supply line on a fire alarm. If you ever encounter a large fire requiring a master stream from the start, that's most likely a fire that you SHOULD lay in.
    Why? You're saying you would stop and let the fire get bigger as you establish a supply line. We could hit it with tank water through the deck gun and the reverse to a hydrant or be supplied by the next pumper - look at the map I linked. We don't have to wait long on water. Both have their pro's and con's - either way the building is a loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    And there may well be times where you only have one way in and CAN'T lay out.
    Our apparatus come equipped with reverse from the factory. If there is only one way in, we back down and lay out.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    "Never say never"...
    I get the premise and would generally concur, but we never lay in.
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Thanks for all the responses everyone. Our two lead out engines both have water tanks, one with 750 and the other with 1000 gallons (750 engine is about to be replaced with a 1000 engine also). When I started hearing of some of these larger departments laying in no matter what, my first thought was "I'm glad I do t work there!" However, if they have a good reason, more power to them.

    For my department (small department with 4-6 people working with 2 engines), it just does not seep practical at all. Also, using my experience, we have never been "caught with our britches down" on a fire alarm. The other day in training led by the chief, when this was mentioned, he mentioned this in conjunction with being complacent and such. I should mention that we've also jumped on the bandwagon of saying that "nothing showing" is bad also and leads to complacency. I won't get into my long spill about that, but no matter what you say, if it isn't a variation of "smoke and fire showing" or "fully involved," it pretty much means nothing showing.

    I think some people at the top of my department have lost the ability to think for themselves and want to jump onto whatever bandwagon seems hot now. Instead, if it ain't broke, it doesn't need fixing. And if you want to fix something, use common sense and rely on your training and experience, not what the next town over is doing.

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    We don't lay in on fire alarms. Also our first due does not lay in on a working fire either. We have a second engine for hydrant areas or a tanker for non-hydrant areas that follow the engine out the door. The second engine/tanker is driver only and their primary fuction is for water supply.

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    Last week i was first in on a fire. An arson in an abandoned house. It was starting to build in the room but we didn't have a hydrant line layed to us and put the fire out on tank water. There are times where you don't even need a hydrant line at all even while conducting a fire attack. the situation should dictate your actions not some mindless procedure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Why? You're saying you would stop and let the fire get bigger as you establish a supply line. We could hit it with tank water through the deck gun and the reverse to a hydrant or be supplied by the next pumper...
    For us, we lay in. The few seconds lost in stopping at a hydrant, a guy getting off and pulling the 5", is not the big a deal.

    Department near me tried the deck gun tank method at a few fires. They did not have favorable results.

    Personally, not a fan of having my engines down the block at hydrants instead of near the fire scene. I like having all my equipment nearby in case it's needed.

    But that's for us...not for everyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Maybe, maybe not. Have you ever been to a reported dwelling or commercial building fire to find an auto in the driveway or in the rear on fire instead? I am sure you don't typically lay in to car fires.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Why? You're saying you would stop and let the fire get bigger as you establish a supply line. We could hit it with tank water through the deck gun and the reverse to a hydrant or be supplied by the next pumper - look at the map I linked. We don't have to wait long on water. Both have their pro's and con's - either way the building is a loss.
    Uh, EXACTLY. You CAN'T say you should ALWAYS lay in or out, THE SITUATION DICTATES THE TACTICS. If you're pulling up on a Three story commercial building that's heavily involved, do you really think you tank is going to make a difference?? It takes very little time to stop and lay a line. The connections can be made while using the deck gun.

    Our apparatus come equipped with reverse from the factory. If there is only one way in, we back down and lay out.
    BACK UP?? Seriously?? Are you seriously talking about backing 100' yards or more to a hydrant? That just opens a whole bunch of cans of worms. Safety for one, incoming units, not to mention just being stupid.
    I get the premise and would generally concur, but we never lay in.
    Then you are seriously compromising your capabilities.

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