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  1. #1
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    Default Basement/Cellar Attack Line Size

    In drawing up a training class outline, the question has come to me regarding size of attack line for residential basement/cellar fires. I've heard alot of the theories about this but am looking for some input relative to specifically residential situations. Would you be more inclined to identify a minimum flow requirment or do some of you subscribe more to the size of the line theory? Is 250 GPM on a deuce and a half a bit much for a residential fire situation? Would 180 on a 1 3/4" be acceptable? I expect alot of opinions to come of this, but please give me some good arguable and sound material to work with.

    Thanks in advance


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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    In drawing up a training class outline, the question has come to me regarding size of attack line for residential basement/cellar fires. I've heard alot of the theories about this but am looking for some input relative to specifically residential situations. Would you be more inclined to identify a minimum flow requirment or do some of you subscribe more to the size of the line theory? Is 250 GPM on a deuce and a half a bit much for a residential fire situation? Would 180 on a 1 3/4" be acceptable? I expect alot of opinions to come of this, but please give me some good arguable and sound material to work with.

    Thanks in advance
    The largest concern is getting down the stairs fast and getting water on the fire...any water.

    Moving a 2 1/2" is going to be difficult and unfamiliar to many departments judging by the amount of sighs one gets when mentioning the big line.

    You are talking about tight turns...lots of debris and I wager that most depts don't have the truckies search ahead of the line making a clear path for the line. All of this under high-heat zero-visiblity conditions.

    I would say the best practice would be to use the 1 3/4" line.

    JMHO

    FTM-PTB

  3. #3
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    180 gpm on a 1.75" is very acceptible. You can move a 1.75" eaiser than the 2.5"...and thats what you need...mobility. You want to get off the stair as fast as possible....and out of the way of the flue. We use 1.75 @ 180 gpm w/ 15/16" tips on the smoothbore....they operate at lower pressures, are easy to move and handle, and have amazing reach and penetration....everything you want and need in a basement fire. The flow is based on what we came up with over the years. That's the amount of gpm required to be effective for extinguishment....basically maximum BTU absorbtion...factored by reach, stream integrity, length/size of line and friction loss.

    Just a suggestion though.... if the fire is small enough to handle or get to.....then the 1st line can make the basement.....if the fire "controls" the basement and is threating the stairway to the upper floors....then the first line need to stay at the top of the basement stairs to protect them.....the 2d line will be needed to make the basement.

    Good Luck

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    Thanks guys, kinda got me off guard, figured ya would both be 2 1/2 advocates!

    Do you still have a protocal that requires 2 1/2 for below grade commercial fires??

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    Thanks guys, kinda got me off guard, figured ya would both be 2 1/2 advocates!

    Do you still have a protocal that requires 2 1/2 for below grade commercial fires??
    Our protocol is for 2 1/2" on commercial...not necessairly just cellars. Although there are chiefs who would rather you use a 1 3/4" for the reasons listed above. We do however also have those that would ensure that we used a 2 1/2" as well.

    Vast majority of the time for commercial we would stretch 2 1/2". No questions asked...the men know this...no orders from the officer or Chief are neccessary. As with most cases...we know what the boss wants before he calls for it.

    While the fire load in a residentail cellar would be ideal for the use of a 2 1/2" the difficulty in moving it might take away from its extra gpm in that you might not get the water on it fast enough.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 01-16-2006 at 02:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    Thanks guys, kinda got me off guard, figured ya would both be 2 1/2 advocates!

    Do you still have a protocal that requires 2 1/2 for below grade commercial fires??

    Absolutley! Wear I work.....the control man takes off 4 lengths of 2.5" at a minimum.......still use a smoothbore..2.5"....with a 1 1/8" tip. Then you can get into subcellars.....which we don't have in my area of the Bronx.....that's another....scary animal.......

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    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610
    Thanks guys, kinda got me off guard, figured ya would both be 2 1/2 advocates!
    Caught me out too somewhat

    My view on basement or cellar fires is that you need to take more flow in with you than if the fire was on the first floor. Basement fires are renowned for causing problems; sudden build-up of heat; flashovers; lack of ventilation etc. I would strongly propose that a second line is laid in as back-up to support the primary line. I would say the 1 3/4" line x two will be easier to advance in and as Vinnie and Fred state, getting down and off the stairs fast is advisable

    Basement fires .... take TWO hoselines in where viable.

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    Like Vinnie said if it's not meeting you on the first floor then an 1 3/4 with the GPM you said should be a good start but make sure that the safety line ( notice I didn't say 2nd line) should be a 2 1/2 because if those guys get in trouble that line is there to protect them and the stairs, also and this shouldn't need to even be mentioned but get the windows out if it has any or start chopping up the floor to get the place vented. Just one last thing try to figure out what the floor is made from if it's TGI, truss or beam and plywood. I mention this because the first 2 if exposed to heat and direct flame contact don't hold up well at all and you should be thinking of collapse. If you can do a walk around of the building and it has a rear entry that may also be a better means of attack in which a 2 1/2 would be ok.

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    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Yeah important point here .... don't crowd the stairway .... (hence the 'viable' bit) .... the safety line should always be equal to, or larger, than the primary line in.

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    Following the tragic loss of two London Firefighters in the basement of a store in 2004, new LFB policy dicates that a second line is to be laid to the entrance to the Basement to cover crews down in the basement.


    They are recomending a main jet as the primary line...but they still haven't clearly come out and said that Crews cannot take a High Pressure Hosereel in with them. I don't know what has changed over the years but we were always taught never to rely on a Hosereel in a Basement. And for my money I will have a blue fit if I turn up at a Basement job and see a H/R in use.

    I also have some doubts over the line covering the basement entrance....WTF good will that do if a crew get into trouble 20 yards inside the basement? To me this is an arse covering exercise by my employers, the decision, made by some HQ desk bound Senior Officer instead of the people on the ground.

    IMO Hosereels as effective as they are should be backed up by a main jet on every occassion unless the fire is known to be restricted to one or two domestic compartments. And in every case, due to the unknowns in a basement a main jet should be used with, as Paul says an additional crew equally armed acting as a back up with them.
    Steve Dude
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  11. #11
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDude
    Following the tragic loss of two London Firefighters in the basement of a store in 2004, new LFB policy dicates that a second line is to be laid to the entrance to the Basement to cover crews down in the basement. They are recomending a main jet as the primary line...but they still haven't clearly come out and said that Crews cannot take a High Pressure Hosereel in with them.
    Halleluja Why does it take the loss of two brothers to recognise we have been under-flowing basement fires in London for years! I know your feelings are the same as mine on this Steve. I am amazed they are still advocating 3/4" HP reels after what happened at Bethnal Green (ref: p92 Fog Attack Steve).

    Steve - is that a safety bulletin or operational note they have issued? Can you get me a copy? I also heard that one home counties UK brigade have banned the use of hose-reels inside structures!

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    Paul,
    It is part of an 'Arse covering' package called "Staying safe" rushed out by the Brigade.... a few pages of bullet points, mainly refering everyone to other procedures such as DRA, Flashover/Backdraught and tactical ventialtion, compartment firefighting...and a really badly acted video.

    It told us nothing we didn't already know, but looks like something has been done as a result of the fire. I will see if I can get hold of a copy for what it's worth.
    Steve Dude
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    Yea, I have to agree with what has been stated already about 1 3/4. The main concern with basements is most of them are packed full of crap. So the maneuverability of the 1 3/4 is key.

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    I know I am going to catch some flack for even mentioning the idea, but I would recommend putting a fog nozzle on that 1 3\4 line depending on what your situation is. If you have a bunch of experienced ff's, good officers, and good truckies, I would say go with the 15\16 smooth bore. If you have a bunch of new guys or ff's that don't have much experience using a smooth bore I would say go with the fog nozzle. The smooth bore is going to be easier to move because of reduced pressure, but if you have a bunch of FNG's then they could get themselves in trouble not having used a smooth bore much. The bad thing about the fog nozzle is the steam if you flow it too much and mess up the thermal balance. Thats just my 2 cents. All are welcome to disagree now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GFDLT1
    I know I am going to catch some flack for even mentioning the idea, but I would recommend putting a fog nozzle on that 1 3\4 line depending on what your situation is. If you have a bunch of experienced ff's, good officers, and good truckies, I would say go with the 15\16 smooth bore. If you have a bunch of new guys or ff's that don't have much experience using a smooth bore I would say go with the fog nozzle. The smooth bore is going to be easier to move because of reduced pressure, but if you have a bunch of FNG's then they could get themselves in trouble not having used a smooth bore much. The bad thing about the fog nozzle is the steam if you flow it too much and mess up the thermal balance. Thats just my 2 cents. All are welcome to disagree now.
    What is so difficult in using a smooth bore nozzle? The nozzle mechanics and stream application should be the same for a SB as a fog nozzle set on straight stream. Where the FNGs as you call them will get in trouble will be operating a fog pattern in the basement because things get a little to warm, only to have the steam and heat come back onto them due to a lack of ventliation.

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    Also, for discussion, how many departments or people here advocate making the stairs with a fog pattern for "protection?" What is done to ensure a quick advance down the stairs, especially with poor engine staffing? (IE. vertical loop near the stairway entrance, etc.) Does a FF, such as the "door man", always remain at the top of the stairs to feed line, or is there a point when he moves up on the line?

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    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    I'm all for the fog nozzle in basements but you have to be very careful how you apply the stream. You know me 'pulse' the pattern .... short bursts .... the stairway may become untenable for a second or two. Smooth-bores are for exterior operations or high-rise situations Ow noooooooo lets stick to the topic! Straight stream? .... depends on how the fire is presenting itself. If you need some penetration into the base fire then most certainly yes.

    Where possible I would try and make the base of the stairs without water application. That first few feet is normally the worst and we have used a backward entry low on all fours to assist getting in below the heat barrier. Once there things may become a lot more tenable. We have used Hi-Ex foam successfully in very large basements. However, this strategy does have it's drawbacks and is never guaranteed.

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    Paul, thanks for the reply. What I meant for fog protection is using a narrow to wide fog pattern while desending the stairs. Again, I do not agree with this but I certainly have heard it mentioned a few times here and there.

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    Thumbs down

    GFDLT1: Whats wrong with a fog in the basement? Fog for protection making the stairs?

    We've already established that there is very limited ventilation in a cellar/basement fire. Just try making the stairs with a fog pattern, if it converts and your standing above it (going down the stairs) you'll be burned/steamed. Wet steam is much "hotter" than dry heat. You need to get down and off the stairs quickly as previously stated. For the life of me, somebody explain how fog can protect you? It can push the fire away using the air, but without anyplace to go, it will come back- over the top, around the side, anywhere. Then look out. Paul's tactics of pulsing the fog are the only way using fog makes sense and at this point I would say you need more training (us US firefighters) than if you switched to smoothbore. And here (in the US) we tend to not only use fog, but automatic fog nozzles. Talk about trouble, now you don't even know if you're flowing the amount you expect to get. I'd say proper, safe firefighting with an automatic fog nozzle training is much more complex than SB direct attack training.

    The only trouble you get in using a smoothbore when you're used to fog, is thinking your false protection is still there. With the SB you know you won't be doing the "left for life" BS. I guess you could **** people off and get into trouble by putting the fire out from further away and faster using the SB.
    Last edited by RFDACM; 01-18-2006 at 08:34 AM.

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    Default A few thoughts

    Depending on the particular circumstances at hand I would go with the standard 1.75" or possible upgrade to a 2" line to get that extra flow capability. I am sure you all have thought about this but make sure the stairs are there before charging in and not burnt away or significantly weakened. A few other important tips. If you do feel the stairs give way as you descend hold on to that nozzle for dear life and make sure it lands with you. It may be the only hope you have in the immediate future. That being said always have an attic or roof ladder immediately available along with a back up line if such an event occurs.

    Be Safe!

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