1. #1
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    Question 1-3/4 Hose Vs. 1-1/2 For fire attack

    I have recently been appointed to head a committee to determine if 1-3/4 hose should replace the 1-1/2 hose already in service. I feel that it would be an asset to the department, but the union feels that it is to heavy and that 1-1/2 hose is sufficient for our purpose. Please forward your feelings on both types of hose.

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    Talking Yogi,.... Hey Yogi, It's Deja Vu all over again.............

    Sorry, I couldn't pass that up, we've visited this topic any number of times. We use 1" for grass fires, 1-1/2' for Autos, Structures Etc. We back up the 1-1/2" with a 2" line on Structures. 3" is our supply line, and we've been known to place a 3" handline in service when needed. In my opinion, you should (if you don't have any now, get a few hundred feet) put a 13/4 line on an engine and try it for a period of time, see what works best for your department.
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    I agree. Try a couple of 1 3/4" lines. Both my career and volly depts have used the 1 3/4" with 1 1/2" couplings for quite a few years. The weight difference is small but you gain in friction loss and volume that can be delivered.

    The big problem with making the switch is training your engineers and you attack crews on its use. We use TFT variable gallonage nozzles. I can start with a preprogramed engine pressure to flow 125 GPM. I can increase flow into the 150-175 GPM range if the attack crew and the engineer are both on the same page.

    The 1 3/4" line does not replace 2" and larger lines when you need big flow. This has been another problem of developing "tunnel" vision and deploying the 1 3/4" when a 2 1/2" should have been used.

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    Originally posted by Rayr49
    The weight difference is small but you gain in friction loss and volume that can be delivered.
    That's the big one!

    Let's look at a 100 psi nozzle flowing 150gpm through 200 ft of hose:

    Friction Loss (FL) on a 1.5": 108 psi
    Pump Discharge Pressure (PDP): 208 psi

    FL on a 1.75": 70 psi
    PDP: 170 psi (unless you're using a Elkhart w/ "One for One Hydraulics", then it would only be 150 psi)

    The same arguement can be used for going from 1.75" to 2"
    I know of some departments in Eastern CT that use 2"
    FL on a 2": 36 psi
    PDP" 136 psi

    For the 208psi pressure in the 1.5", you can get the following flows:
    1.75": 187 gpm
    2": 260 gpm

    --------------------

    We use 1.75" with a 2.5" as the "big line"
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    We use 1 3/4" as our primary attack line. Each of our engines has a bow line, two cross-lays and s rear pre-connect of 1 3/4". We also carry a rear pre-connect of 2 1/2".

    The only 1 1/2" we use is in our brush-packs.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

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    I think the last time I've seen a 1 1/2" around here was some 15 yrs ago. That was when we completely switched to 1 3/4 because of the advatages that we felt out weigh the minor disadvantages. At that time, each engine carried (3) 1 3/4" mattys.

    Now present day this is no longer the case. Now we still have 2 of the 1 3/4 inch matty's (200' each), along with a 1 3/4 trash line (50 feet) and a 100' 1 3/4" highrise pack BUT, we replaced one of the mattys with a 2" line (200 feet) with a sb nozzle (no comments on sb vs fog, been there, done that). All of the above have 1 1/2 couplings.

    To go along with the above, We carry 250 feet of 2 1/2" for a manned master stream along with 500 feet of 3" for a portable monitor setup and 1000' of 5" LDH.

    When we first got the 2 inch several years ago, there were people hesitant on using it (heavier, difficult to manuver, etc.). Now, 9 times out of 10, it's the first line pulled into a structure because of the increased gallonage, operable at less pressure with the sb and less friction loss.

    I would definately recomend the switch. For most departments around here 1 1/2" is a thing of the past.

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    I like 1-1/2".

    Use it with good size-up and (gasp) common sense.

    200' 1-1/2" will flow 95-125gpm, and in most situations be more than enough hose for single family dwellings. For a fire of unknown location (we have moderate smoke, no fire showing...) or partitions, it's a quick line to work and move. More than enough for a reasonable room & contents (like a bedroom) that's vented, and especially with bedrooms going upstairs or down halls it's nice to have the lighter line. Yes, I notice and I'm a big guy.

    Thinking basement fire, seeing a "big" room & contents like a kitchen extending to hall/living room, yep, grab the 1-3/4". I guess that's being conservative, I have & know the 1-1/2" can knock down multiple rooms (I've done 3+ rooms with an 1-1/2" several times). But the 150-200gpm flows give you a "margin."

    Problem is a lot of people like to go to the high-flows, and in the extra hose weight, extra nozzle reaction, being "scared" into thinking a fire is something to always fight with heavy weaponery, they get less mobile and nozzle work suffers.

    Putting out fires is about sucking up BTUs, and sucking up BTUs isn't about how much water you can or do flow -- it's how many gpm you actually apply to things that are burning. 1-1/2" lines are just easier to do that with, and a good crew with that line is much more effective than a crew that's being timid with an 1-3/4" or a crew that's having to stop, brace themselves, open up the 1-3/4", darken down, then move -- 1-1/2" is a lot easier to move & flow, and even if you hold for a moment to darken down it's a lot easier move forward and be "aggressive."

    I've never been one to buy into the smoothbore/low pressure lines being easier than fog/high pressure lines -- I don't find 150 or 200psi on an 1-1/2" unmanageable, or even an 1-3/4". But I do find the weight and lower nozzle reaction (yes, from lower flows) to be easier on the 1-1/2"...and that lets me be more aggressive.

    I guess if I had my "ideal" world, we'd run an 1-1/2" as a "Utility" line to use on 90% of your outdoor fires, small room & contents, partition fires, etc, and 2" as the line when you're not confident the 1-1/2" has the punch. If you're gonna go with more a set & hit work like 1-3/4" tends to encourage, might as well hit it with an even bigger flow. Jeepers, hwoods, maybe I need to move down there although I'd insist on bringing along my 5". (Laid 1500' of that at a drill this morning )
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    I like 1-1/2".

    Use it with good size-up and (gasp) common sense.


    Common sense, the lost art

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    All preconnects on our trucks are 1 3/4's.....We rarely ever use 1 1/2
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    we too use 1 3/4 and 2.5 attack lines ...........it certainly isnt that much heavier ...........I wonder what 2 inch line would be like ?
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    Our department just underwent a major transition from ALL 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 and 2 1/2 with smoothbores and low pressure fogs. PM me if you want more information on this subject. We are a large department that runs alot of fires, so I can let you know about the transition and adjustments that are the reality on a fireground
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    We phased out all of our 1.5 a long time ago and use the 1.75 and 2.5 lines. I would like to try the 2" one of these days. Would also like to see some SB's to try out, but it's a matter of getting the powers that be to let us get a couple.....

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    Not to sound like an old guy or anything but in my time as a volly here we have gone from 1 inch boosters to 1 1/2 inch to 1 3/4 inch to now 2 inch. Flow was the reason.

    We are now an FD that uses 1" forestry hose for brush fires, 2 inch for all other fire attack, 3 inch for water supply and feeding our preconnected rear step stinger, and 5 inch for water supply. The only remaining length 1 3/4" line we have left is a 100 foot trash line.

    We expereimented with 2 inch several years back and found the FF's passing the crosslays and going to the 2 inch anytime we had a working fire. The then chief decided to go all 2 inch. We put 200 gpm at 75 psi nozzles with a 1 1/4" slug tip on them. We underpump initially to flow around 160 gpm, we can go to 200 with the combination tip or spin that off and flow 300 gpm at 40 psi at the tip. The benefit? You never grab the wrong line. As far as the weight of the line goes, we regularly move it with 2 FF's because like most everyone else there is never enough help in the first few minutes.

    Back to the 1 3/4 versus 1 1/2 inch lines...the weight is no big deal and flow is much better.

    FyredUp

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    Default 2 cents...

    To quote and old Fire Service Instructor- "A while back
    the fire hose industry was stagnant so they came out
    with 1 3/4 hose."

    You know what, I believe him. I had been using 1.5 line
    and never had a problem with it. I liked the manuverability
    and light weight. My FD now uses 1 3/4 and I dont mind it
    but you might have some resistance moving around a house.

    A wise old crusty FireMAN once told me- "If youre a smart
    nozzleman, you can put out a lot of fire with a little
    water."

    You know what, he was right too! I have since practiced
    what he told me and again with that in mind, the 1.5 works
    just fine for me.

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    Addressing the weight difference between hoses:

    The difference in the weight of the water in 50 feet of hose can be calculated from the following:

    WD = C (D^2 - d^2)

    WD = Weight Difference of the water per 50 feet
    C = Constant (Temperature dependent)
    D = Diameter of the larger hose
    d = diameter of the smaller hose
    ^2 = Square

    Although the temperature will make a difference, it is minimal.
    C = 17.025 for 40 F
    C = 16.968 for 80 F
    I suggest using C = 17.

    The weight difference between 1-1/2" and 1-3/4" varies from 1 pound per 50 feet to 4 pounds per 50 feet depending on the manufacturer and model.

    The difference between the 2 hoses for 200 ft would be approximately 55 pounds (water weight) plus 4 to 16 pounds hose weight). Use 60 to 70 pounds. This assumes the inside diameter of 1-3/4" hose is 1.75" and 1-1/2" hose is 1.5". I think the actual inside diameter may be larger (particularly under pressure).

    I know one department that converted to 1-3/4" hose and then decided it was too difficut to maneuver so convert back to 1-1/2".

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    Default I believe it!

    Originally posted by FireH2O
    I know one department that converted to 1-3/4" hose and then decided it was too difficut to maneuver so convert back to 1-1/2".
    Brother- I believe that one.

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    If you can't use 1 3/4" hose for your "standard hose" then what are you doing in the fire service? I'm an out of shape fatso and I still can haul 1 3/4" around w/o a problem. We even are taught to control our water for our car fires out here so the engineers can get a good look at the true cause of the fire.

    Seriously look at the numbers that were on page 1 of this column. Seriously we pulled the hose reels off our trucks because we feel anything less than 1 3/4 is useless. Also I feel the 2 1/2 is used a lot less than it should be because it seems like the municipal depts in the area jump right for the 1 3/4 even if it is big fire and there's not a lot of manuvering problems. There's no reason to not take in a 2 1/2 on a confirmed structure fire in a typical ranch house, get in and get it done.
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    All fire services in Australia use 1.5 inch. Personally I've never had any problems with it, the manoverability is great and I can't complain about the flow rate, 95 to 125 gpm no problem. If we need more we go to 2.5 inch (Vollie Dept) or 2.75 inch (Career Dept).
    My vollie dept look at 2 inch as an attack line about 5 years ago, everybody hated it, due to weight and difficult manoverabilty.

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    Default inch and a half/no thanks

    We've been using inch and three quarts and two inch for probably 15 years.You can have my 1.75 when you pry it from my cold dead fingers,there's no way I'd go back to 1.5.We use automatic nozzles,if you need some more firepower just crank up the juice.The difference in knockdown between the 1.5 we used to use and the 1.75 with the auto nozzle is quite dramatic.I'm not very big,240# in full gear and I have no problem bulling the 1.75 around.T.C.

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    We recently changed to 1.75 attack hose. I love the increased knock down of the increased GPM's you can deliver! On the down side you do have a lot more reaction force to deal with at the higher nozzle settings. My advice.......if you can't handle it, just turn down the nozzle. The other down side for a rural department is your water supply, you can empty that 1,000 gallon booster tank in 5 or 6 minutes easy! But at the same time darken the fire so much quicker.
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    We started using 1 3/4 in the early-mid '80s and it's a good line.Just because you can flow 200gpm means you have to use it all the time, just use some control over the little bitty handle and you can wet down a mattress. But when the door gets pushed open and you're face to face with a few rooms of hell and you need more than 125gpm to go after it and protect yourself at the same time,it's good to have that extra.As far as weight it's not all that bad,you don't notice it if you don't think about it.We also have 3,4, and 5 story walks no stand pipe.
    I know one dept many years ago tried 1 3/4 and used the old 1 1/2 nozzles and wondered why they didn't get more water.You need both.

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    Some more math:

    Volume of water in a 50' section of 1.5: 2.45 cu ft
    Volume of water in a 50' section of 1.75: 3.44 cu ft
    Difference: Roughly one cubic foot
    Weight of one cubic foot of water: 8 lb

    So given a 200' preconnect, using 1.75 adds 32 pounds of water, or 75% of what my five-year-old daughter weighs. Darley's web site lists 1.5 at 17.5 lbs/50' and 1.75 at 18.5 lbs/50'. That means four pounds of extra hose weight per 200'.

    Grand total: 32 pounds of water, four pounds of hose: 36 pounds heavier per 200'.





    Now that I'm through playing Bill Nye, Science Guy, here's an empirical statement: We switched to 1.75 a few years back and I never noticed a difference.

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    But did you notice a difference in knockdown capability?T.C.

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    Originally posted by arhaney
    We recently changed to 1.75 attack hose. I love the increased knock down of the increased GPM's you can deliver! On the down side you do have a lot more reaction force to deal with at the higher nozzle settings. My advice.......if you can't handle it, just turn down the nozzle. The other down side for a rural department is your water supply, you can empty that 1,000 gallon booster tank in 5 or 6 minutes easy! But at the same time darken the fire so much quicker.
    I am glad you bring up the water supply issue. I come from a rural VFD that has no fire hydrants in its 730 square miles. What we do have is 2 4500 gallon tenders, and the biggest booster tanks GVW will allow, on our Class pumper that is 1000.

    You can go through that much water, 10000 gallons, in 10 minutes if we are pumping full on with the deck gun and attack lines.

    You better get it out with that, the nearest backup water is at least 20-30 minutes away.

    We are likely never going to change from 1.5 attack lines, not only because of the water supply, but because it is way to expensive! We have an adequate supply of 1.5 inch hose we add to when possible/needed. To change over completely to 1.75 inch would wipe out the entire years budget...

    1.5 is just fine by us, it has to be, that is all we get!

    On a similar note, it was mentioned that anything smaller then 1.5 is useless. Well, we have found out otherwise, and not by intent.

    Our 20 old Class A pumper has a steel tank which is flakeing off its lineing. The inch diameter blue pieces of whatever are now makeing their way down attack lines and plugging up the nozzles at the inlet screen! This realy sucks, as was demonstraited at a farm yard garage fire recenlty. We pulled up to find a garage 20x50, a converted old chicken coup actualy, half fulling involved, with the second half (divider wall) just starting to get going. Lots of paint cans poping. I had one 1.5 inch line at the garage door, getting ready to open the door, and there was another 1.5 protecting an exposure. Pumper starts pumping, Cap opens the door, 30 seconds of decent flow... then it started flowing realy weak, cranked the patern aduster over to flush, no help. Both 1.5s had plugged! At that time 2 of our brush trucks had shown up and parked within the 150 foot range of their 1" hardline reels. We dropped our 1.5s, yelled at a rookie to fix the @$#% nozzles, grabed the 1" booster lines, and went back to the attack with the little brush truck pumps screaming full blast. I would imagine that with the nozzles we had, variable gpm, that we were putting out roughly 60 gpm on each line, comeing off of 400 gallon tanks on the brush trucks. We did get the fire out before the 800 gallons we had on tap was used up, but we had to get more water to catch the small (<3 acres) grassfire that had started up in the pasture next to the garage.

    1" lines do work, but they do not inspire a world of confidense. It is way to touch and go. IIRC in the UK they use a LOT of 1" hardline to attack their structure fires. But, they have a LOT of masonry buildings, not so many stick built. They can limit water damage by useing the smaller lines, and their fires are often confined to single rooms for apartments.

    I dont know what the max flow out of a 1" hardline can be, but I am guessing 75 gpm or so.
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    Of course, go with CAFS and the weight issues go away and you get improved knock down to boot

    Thinking about this some more, the times I notice the weight difference is when we're short-handed, 2 guys on a line, or just myself outside moving one around. Interior attacks with three sets of hands on the hose, two near the nozzle and one helping around corners it's not an issue. 2 guys both near the nozzle, that's 32 more pounds, and probably more friction (larger outside surface), that the backup man is pulling...you notice it.

    People talk about bigger fire loads with today's plastics and such, but that's only part of the story. Most fires we fight inside are oxygen-limited -- it's the amount of fresh air getting to the fire that limit their size & BTUs per minute the fire is generating. When you see a room that you can "look" through, that's complete combustion. Usually only see that on training fires with every window knocked out, or on the odd fully-involved and well vented building. Seen it a few times on a real fire with really good ventilation.

    Usually with windows in place, doors closed, etc we still aren't putting more oxygen in there than we did in the 1950s. Maybe the plastics light off a little faster, but burning wood & cloth ignites pretty easily too. Maybe some of us push a bit more oxygen at it through PPV. Given the same size rooms, we're probably not seeing more fire than grandpa.

    We do have some other stuff -- bigger rooms, more open floor plans that can affect us (especially with these damned McMansions with flyweight* frame construction). Bigger room, better airflow, energy efficient to keep the heat/smoke in longer preventing detection could add up to bigger fires.

    But in a district like mine, the ranch houses built in the 60s and 70s, the capes built in the 20s and 50s, and the colonials built, well, back in colonial days, all probably put out about the same BTUs per minute for room & contents or 2-3 rooms lit off as they did 40 or 50 years ago -- air supply limited wood & cloth furnishing fires, air supply limits plastic-based furnishing fires.

    Yep, the potential for more BTUs is there, but the reality is they fires probably aren't burning that much hotter. Yep, PPV could do that, but that's why we coordinate fire attack. Yep, plastics are gonna be more likely to produce copious amounts of "black" smoke that's more likely to roll & flash as fresh air reaches it, but again, that's something we need ventilation for -- better to eliminate the potential then hope we have enough GPM to overcome it. If the smoke isn't over your head, it's ain't gonna roll over you. If it rolls over you, you might have enough GPM in your hose -- 1.5", 1.75", even 2.5" to overwhelm it. Yeah, 2.5" more likely to handle it, but not as assuredly as ventilation can make it safe. I don't mind facing a lot of fire, I don't like a lot of hot, black smoke near me.

    1.5" volumes, 95-125gpm were adequate 40 years ago, and with oxygen being the limiting factor on most fires, is still just as adequate in the same buildings. Flow has to be accompanied by nozzlemanship, and I think a lot of times we've tried to keep increasing the amount of GPMs thrown at a fire as we, as a fire service, have let nozzle skills slip. Too often we throw water everywhere, some of it may actually hit the fire. Nozzlemanship can put the appropriate flow on the fire, and when you use good nozzlemanship the flows needed are often dramatically less than what is commonly instructed today.

    If anyone has emperical research why we keep bumping up the flow rate recommendations, I'd love to see it. I have a feeling most of it's just been "consensus" of well, if 1.5" was good, 1.75" gonna be better. And if 150gpm through a 1.75" was good, 200gpm must be even better. As you keep bumping up to handle the high end, the skills at the low end keep slipping.

    I don't mind the 1.75" and 2" lines, it's just the 1.5" seems to be under-appreciated and I think most of the time it's been criticized can be tracked to either poor nozzlemanship (they didn't put the wet stuff on the red stuff, just shot it in the general vicinity), or poor size-up to pull an under-powered line to begin with. As a utility line for outside fires, and a quick & manueverable line for a short-handed crew on modest interior fires it's a valuable tool.

    *Flyweight: I'm wondering if a new term is needed to go beyond the "lightweight" wood construction of the 70s/80s that at least used solid wood if in small dimensions to this new particle-board I-beam world of today!
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 04-06-2004 at 01:25 PM.
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