Thread: Water supply
07-07-1999, 02:40 AM #1hosecoFirehouse.com Guest
I am wondering when the decision is made at structure fires whether to establish a water supply or not. For example, you pull up on a 2 story dwelling with light smoke showing. A mattress fire is found indside. Do you run off the booster or do you hook a hydrant? Is it the decision of the officer or do you always catch a hydrant. I am mainly interested in hydrant ops., city and suburban. Please get specific, does the first engine take a hudrant, or does the second in take it and supply the first in engine? What size supply line do you use?
07-07-1999, 03:40 AM #2K AFirehouse.com Guest
Just push the button on the dash label "Meyer's Quick Drop" when ou approach the closest hydrant and the line will lay it self. You're never wrong if you lay a line but don't leave a guy at the hydrant.
Beats hand jacking.
07-07-1999, 05:49 AM #3S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
What is a Meyers Quik Drop?
07-07-1999, 07:36 AM #4mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
Most of the time in my department the first engine attacks fire with preconnects using tank water. The second engine provides water supply. If structure is fully involved or extremely large then the 1st. engine may lay in or catch a hydrant if it is close by. Usually the officer's call unless directed by an IC on scene. I think procedures will depend on amount of apparatus responding. We send 3 engines, a truck, a rescue, and a command unit as a first alarm assignment to reported structure fires.
07-07-1999, 10:56 AM #5Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
Our first in Engine-Tank initiates attack, the second due Engine will lay a line if needed. It helps that all the 1st due trucks for area departments carry 1000-1500 gallon tanks...even in our hydranted area the 1st Alarm assignment rolls in with over 6,500 gallons of tank water.
07-07-1999, 12:31 PM #6LedbellyFirehouse.com Guest
Our rule of thumb is 1st engine goes to attack and 2nd lays a line (5"). The call to make a lay is up to the 1st arriving officer. (and/or the BC) We have had (one) BC that cancelled the officer's call for a lay...caused a bit of grumbling even though it turned out to be OK (without the lay). Seems like most of our Captains are 'scared' to lay in...not sure why?...at least it's not done very often. Our substations respond w/eng. and ambulance...one medic gets on the engine...and I've told my crews that if it looks good going in, we'll lay in and leave the ambulance to finish the connection. (If we pass a convenient hydrant) That may be part of the reluctance of some officers...not finding a hydrant on the way in and not wanting to go around again looking for one....
07-07-1999, 01:27 PM #7rickyFirehouse.com Guest
The call to lay in by the first engine is left up to the officer on that engine. Usually they go straight in, but they have the option to lay if they feel the extra time involved will not effect the outcome of the fire. Alot also can depend on the time of day as the first in is the only paid engine in our department, although there is another paid engine during the day coming on all structures through automatic aid. We have the pption of 5" or 3". The 3" only gets laid for an outbuilding or other similar small structure. All our engines carry 1000 gallons of water and have class"A" foam delivered on every preconnect by a Hale Foam Pro - which is used on "everything we do". The 1000 gallon water capacity along with the Foam Pro is the best thing in the fire service since SCBA. This combination usually only requires the first engines water and gets our apparatus and our firemen back in services much quicker. We ran 500 fire calls last year-no EMS-in suburban north Houston and only had $91,000 fire loss, much of this low loss I contribute to tank capacity and class "A" foam. Since July of 1995 our department has only used water from a hydrant for a structure fire on three occasions. We have laid it many more times and picked it up dry.
07-07-1999, 05:19 PM #8K AFirehouse.com Guest
---they have the option to lay if they feel the extra time involved will not effect the outcome of the fire---
15 seconds is all it takes to wrap a hydrant. If that is too much time consider the automatic hose laying device on the market...o seconds to lay a line.
Seems strange to drive by a perfectly good hydrant and not to lay a line form it,. Does anybody fight so many fires that they cannot afford to lay in? I doubt it.
So there you are 800 feet from the burning house at the closest hydrant. You may or may not see products of combustion. So you make a wild *** guess with consequences. You'll never be able to hand jack a line back if you are wrong. The 2nd rig could be delayed. 80% of the fire service is volunteer so what are the odds during the day a second or thrid rig will even roll? Do those rigs carry enough line to lay your line and then secure their own water supply? On a narrow street you'll need the second in rig to back in to lay the line. That isn't a quick process. I'm sure you've read about the firefighters in VA waiting for someone to lay them a line. Two of them died waiting. A similar occurance happeed in Oregon with 6 dead citizens and another in MI with a frozen hydrant that could have been picked up by the first rig stopping the attack instead of starting one on tank water and dooming the crew.
If the first in rig lays a line in seconds you'll know if the hydrant works during the flushing process. Why blow half a load of water withthe initial attack and then get the word the hydrant is dead from the second rig who now has droped their load of hose and you've stranded your load on the first in rig by not laying any.
Anyone out there know how long it takes to lay 800 feet (why 800 feet? NFPA guidelines for spacing in residential areas) of 5 inch hose without the traffic draw by smoke and flame? About 3 minutes in a straight line. So if you arrive 2 to 3 minutes before the 2nd in piece and you pull a 200 gpm 1 3/4 inch line and go to war. You'll be out of water even with a 1000 gallon tank before the line gets to you.
Your not laying a line insures your water supply now controls your tactics not the needs of the fire.
So you go straight in. You start the attack off tank water. If you need to use the deck gun to cover exposures you'll risk the interior crew by taking tank water. You might be able to watch the beginning of a conflagration you can't do anything about because you left the water back at the hydrant. If you have wood shakes, wildland interface, closely built wood frame buildings, garden apartments or exterior porches not laying in will probably make you a significant contributor to a career fire one day. If you blow a 1 3/4" attack line you'll lose 350 gpm plus a minute. If you think someone will notice you may be wrong. They didn't notice in Pittsburg. The only people at risk are the crews inside due to a decision not to take 15 seconds to drop a line.
---Usually the officer's call unless directed by an IC on scene. ---
Sounds like a booster line policy of old.
--Seems like most of our Captains are 'scared' to lay in...not sure why---
Could it be, "I don't want to pick the stuff up." It's not like we have another fire to respond to is it?
---That may be part of the reluctance of some officers...not finding a hydrant on the way in and not wanting to go around again looking for one.... ---
No map books? Dispatch doesn't give map pages and cross streets or fax them to the responding station and engine? You'd hope the crew knew their area. The engineer looked on a map to see where he was going and picked aroute in line with a hydrant lay. Just think how long the 2-3 minute lay will take if no one knows where the fire hydrant is.
--our department has only used water from a hydrant for a structure fire on three occasions--
Sounds like the national average. 5 to 10 % of the calls in the country account for 90 to 95% of the dollar loss. If you'd taken 15 seconds to lay a line on the fires where you didn't need the supply line would the fires still have gone out?
--We have laid it many more times and picked it up dry.--
Good for you. Some fire departments call it laying life insurance.
How about this SOP? The first in engine on a reported structure fire will lay a supply line.
07-08-1999, 01:58 PM #9Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
It depends on the exact situation, but our default is to send the quint to the front of the structure for immediate search & rescue, attack, ventilation, or whatever is appropriate. The first engine on the scene is generally expected to reverse lay either 4" or 5" line (depends on which they carry, we can handle both) from the quint to the nearest hydrant, or to the designated spot for tanker drops. Since there's always one tanker on our initial response, we'll generally have it positioned near the quint as a backup supply in hydranted areas. There is, of course, flexibility in this scheme, based on the OIC's or (in absence of an officer) the engineer's judgement. For example, if the fire building is on a narrow street or farm lane where a reverse lay isn't practical, the quint would lay a line from the most advantageous intersection or road to the scene.
The decision can be complicated. Laying in to the scene sets up supply more quickly after actual operations begin, on average, than a reverse lay. On the other hand, going straight to the scene gets operations going more rapidly than stopping to lay a line. The fact is, a lot of room and contents fires take only a few hundred gallons, or much less, to completely extinguish. On the other hand, it can be a disaster to get caught without water when that tank runs out.
Overall, I think our procedures have done much more good than harm over the years, but that doesn't mean they'd work for everyone. They've ben especially valuable in entrapment situations. I can see KA's point, and I ran with a company some years ago that operated that way. I think that we can do it our way due to a combination of factors: i. We almost never scratch apparatus, and neither do our mutual aid companies, ii. Most of our hydrants are crummy, so we've got multiple water supply plans built in from the dispatch, iii. We've got stations piled on top of stations (I think there are about 5 others within 5 miles of ours), so travel time to the scene isn't really a factor, and iv. Nobody ever gets in trouble for laying in when it's not needed, so they feel secure in making the judgement call.
[This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited July 12, 1999).]
07-08-1999, 06:13 PM #10LedbellyFirehouse.com Guest
What is a fax?
Have a map book, but don't get pages from Dispatch.
If you make a few blocks, instead of going to the fire, to come in with a hydrant you'll end up laying line to your backup engine. (98% of the time they're there within 2 mins)If I see a hydrant on the way in...we'll catch it. Not sure what those other guys' problems are about doing it...you may be right? We have the option to lay in...only a few of us do it.
07-08-1999, 07:21 PM #11stone35Firehouse.com Guest
We are a volunteer fire department and we depend on water shuttles mainly, so a hydrant by the fire scene is a blessing. Our first on scene pumper will usually, all situations are different, be the supply truck to the fire scene. A 5" supply line will be ran to the hydrant, and other lines will be ran from tanks that are, hopefully, a few minutes behind. As we know, when it is volunteer, sometimes there is a lag time, and a dead firefighter isn't great for the moral of the department. That is why we hook it up to the hydrant when we can.
We have had some problems with our hydrants in the county, some of them don't have enough pressure behind them to water a lawn with a 1/4" garden hose.
07-09-1999, 02:59 AM #12cb2401Firehouse.com Guest
never pass a hydrant if you have any evidence of fire. I work for a urban department and volunteer at a rural department, so I see both worlds. At my job, the first in engine will wrap the plug, and the second in will establish water supply. This works well because the companies are so close together, there is not much delay on units arriving. It is always good to at least put the hose on the ground, even if you don't charge it. At my vol. house, we primarily use a tanker operation. Our wagon has a 750 gwt and our tanker holds 1800 gallons. We rarley put the porta-tank on the ground, we simply use the tanker as a nurse. 2500 gallons of water will fight quite a bit of fire is applied properly. If we are fortunate to have a hydrant available, we will drop a line, but we must also leave a hook up man because the next engine may be 10 minutes out. Also, don't forget to drop a line at the end of the driveway for your tanker hook up.
07-09-1999, 08:50 PM #13LT trk106Firehouse.com Guest
In our dept. we run with four man shifts at full strentgh. Down to three sometimes. We respond with two eng. on all calls. the lead eng. carries the Capt. or Lt. , and goes right to the fire. Second eng. either stands by the nearest hydrant, or lays in to first. Both engines run from the same station, so lead eng. dosnt have to worry about taking the hydrtant. Officers call when to lay a line, and its always a 5" L.D.H.Then either the second eng. driver makes the hydrant or a reserve ff. on his way in makes it.Sounds screwy, but its worked very well for 40 yrs or so.Havnt run out of water yet.
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