1. #1
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    Default Dry vs. Charged Initial Attack Line

    When do you stretch the initial line dry versus wet. I'm looking for specific fire situations and consideration to fire location and building construction. I've always been taught and believe that, in wood frame construction you go in charged unless its a top floor fire, where you may stretch to the bottom of the stair landing and call for water. Looking for some good feedback as usual. Thanks.

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    My belief is stretch it dry as far as you can safely.

    We recently had a fire in the attic of a 2 story wood frame house. We stretched dry to the bottom of the stairs and called for water before we went up.

    As for industrial or multiple story stretches, again, dry as far as possible bringing extra hose with for the advance. It really makes little sense to drag charged hose up several flights of stairs or several hundred feet through a factory or warehouse.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp
    My belief is stretch it dry as far as you can safely.

    We recently had a fire in the attic of a 2 story wood frame house. We stretched dry to the bottom of the stairs and called for water before we went up.

    As for industrial or multiple story stretches, again, dry as far as possible bringing extra hose with for the advance. It really makes little sense to drag charged hose up several flights of stairs or several hundred feet through a factory or warehouse.

    FyredUp
    Can't say it much better. I will always stretch the line dry for a 2nd floor or higher fire, no need to beat yourself up.
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    Dry until you get to a point where you may need the protection of a charged line. A dry line is way easier to advance through a building, especially with minimal firefighters.
    Watch out for doors or a narrow well hole where the line could get caught and kinked.
    We have had second floor residential fires where the line was taken in flaked out then charged for the advance upstairs and it works well. It is just a matter of being comfortable with fire behavior.
    Leave yourself an out if the water doesn't come for some reason and you should be fine

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    When encountering a deep fire, we stretch the line dry until the last defendable position. Usually the entrance to the fire floor, or in a larger hotel, etc, the last intact fire door before the fire.

    If you're stretching and happen upon significantly increasing or heavy smoke, or any visible extension, its gets charged on the spot.
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    Private Dwellings...Charge it at the front door....no matter were the fire is. You want to be sure you have water and can hold the interior stairs.

    Basements....same thing...straight to the basement door to protect the first floor.

    Stores, Industrial.....sorry to say, Charge it in the street, b/c its the unknown with LOTS of stock and or unknown product. A dry line can be snagged on machinary, with is much more likely with only a few guys on the line. Fire can break out above and behind you with a ferouscity that you won't have time to get the line charges and operated.

    Apts....stretch dry to the apt or when conditions dictate.

    But this is only my experiance.

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    So far, the responses are on the mark of what I've always done/been taught. My question is more intended to affirm what I believe is right, looking for your guys input. I see most of my work in wood frame buildings, so there arent many opportunities do do anything but a charged line stretch here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    Private Dwellings...Charge it at the front door....no matter were the fire is. You want to be sure you have water and can hold the interior stairs.

    Basements....same thing...straight to the basement door to protect the first floor.

    Stores, Industrial.....sorry to say, Charge it in the street, b/c its the unknown with LOTS of stock and or unknown product. A dry line can be snagged on machinary, with is much more likely with only a few guys on the line. Fire can break out above and behind you with a ferouscity that you won't have time to get the line charges and operated.

    Apts....stretch dry to the apt or when conditions dictate.

    But this is only my experiance.

    Pretty much the same here. We dont have basements, and a large comercial structure that would require a courtyard lay or other type of extension would be dry untill the connection of the smaller line is made. It would then be charged and advanced to the seat of the fire. Same as we would do on a standpipe.
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    I am a Lt in a small volunteer FD. Whether I charge the line on the front porch or advance it dry usually depends on the crew I have. I'm sorry to say we don't allways have an "A" team and having a charged line for protection helps, even if it is a pain in the butt to advance it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    Private Dwellings...Charge it at the front door....no matter were the fire is. You want to be sure you have water and can hold the interior stairs.

    Basements....same thing...straight to the basement door to protect the first floor.

    Stores, Industrial.....sorry to say, Charge it in the street, b/c its the unknown with LOTS of stock and or unknown product. A dry line can be snagged on machinary, with is much more likely with only a few guys on the line. Fire can break out above and behind you with a ferouscity that you won't have time to get the line charges and operated.

    Apts....stretch dry to the apt or when conditions dictate.

    But this is only my experiance.
    Nice job Vinnie, that pretty much sums it up. Someone else said it but I want to re-hash with stretching dry line.

    Make sure that you chock all doors that an UNCHARGED line passes through. If the door is closed even partially on an uncharged line, that door will become a very effective hose clamp and cease water to the nozzle team. The only way to recover from this is to remove the door from it's hinges to allow the water to pass.

    In addition to being a hose clamp, if the door is blocking water, it is also blocking egress. The water trapped on the other side of the door will "pin" the door closed blocking egress.

    Stretch carefully & methodically, that's what makes a good engine company!

    Nice responses gentlemen!
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    I too agree with Vinnie B and Ndemarse. In my opinon you need that line charged. Yes it is a pain in the ***** to go up to the third floor of a house with a charged line or making an attic fire in a 3 story house, but that is where your training comes in. It is important to train on stretching hose lines. It does suck being the slack man on the hose and having to drop back to pull hose to make it easier on the nozzle man, but that is your job. And that job is just as important. Train as if your life depends on it, because it does!

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    Most of our fires occur in residential homes, therefore we will charge the line at the door before entering to make sure all the air is out and we have the correct stream selected.

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    Asking wether its better to stretch an attack line dry or wet is a really hard question to answer. You cant say one way or another all the time. Sure, its probably safest to stretch it wet. Having mainly row dwellings in my local allows for a simple layout easily recognizable from the front for the most part. Fire blowing out 3rd floor we would stretch dry to the bottom of the stairs leading to the 3rd floor. Fire blowing out 2nd floor we charge at base of stairs to 2nd floor. Fire blowing out first floor is obvious we charge at front door. But all cases can and will be different. You need a good officer and experienced tip man and even then you can make the wrong call. Maybe that fire blowing out the 3rd floor front originated from the 2nd floor rear and has yet to show itself on the 2nd floor front.

    Like has been said before, NEVER STRETCH A DRY LINE THRU AN UNSECURED DOOR!!! Thats probably one of the best tips I have seen on here recently.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18

    Like has been said before, NEVER STRETCH A DRY LINE THRU AN UNSECURED DOOR!!! Thats probably one of the best tips I have seen on here recently.
    A few good smacks with a halligan will solve the door problem in most cases. Attacking hinge side of course.
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    Last edited by sfd2605; 03-17-2008 at 08:05 PM.

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    Like VinnieB said- sooner or later it will get caught, kinked or pinched. Then someone has to go back and figure it out. If it goes bad that's when it will happen. Chock the door- that's why you have those big pockets- caution- even a chock can become dislodged when you're working. Don't chock a door and you're asking for more work.
    Long hallway stretches off a standpipe are the only time I can think you may want to stretch it dry and that's a gamble if the standpipe not up to par.
    Hey what's a few more feet of wet inch and three quarter anyway?
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    Default dry vs charged

    communication, is the key.
    do not hole yourself into a typical response,taxpayer, residential, or industrial.
    if you show up to a residential, size up the situation, and as the nozzle, don't be afraid to tell the engineer, "give me 15 secs. then give me water.
    i'm sure you both can count to 15!

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    Quote Originally Posted by careyc1090
    communication, is the key.
    do not hole yourself into a typical response,taxpayer, residential, or industrial.

    What do you mean by this?
    IACOJ Member

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    Department policy says it gets charged before you enter. Always. The backup line is always charged outside as well and left on the ground charged. Search team handline line is also always charged before entering.

    Do I agree with it? At times, no, but we have primarily single level homes and no basements. Commercial buildings tend to be fairly small (less than 200' x 100'), with only a couple of exceptions. From a practical standpoint, there are very situations here where a dry line would really make a difference.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 03-31-2006 at 02:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfd2605
    However im not saying that in a building that shares a common starewell to all floors which would be a high rise that doesnt have a standpipe system you should take the line up just as you would in a standpipe opperation, to the floor above the fire and back down the steps to the fire floor while dry and charge it at the floor entrance door. The reason you go the floor above is because its easier to pull hose down stairs than it is to pull up the stairs.
    I have to say that this seems entirely unsafe to me.

    The idea of anchoring somewhere off of the fire floor (i.e. below the fire) is to establish your safe zone or refuge area if pushed back by the fire. To have your safe zone above the fire is asking for entrapment. Also, when you open that stairwell door, the smoke is normally going to go up to your control point (potential stack effect aside).

    As well, in a sprinklered project with combined standpipe/sprinklers, there is likely going to be very little pressure above the fire floor. If you anchor below the fire floor, you have "first dibs" on the water, and can usually turn off that section of the sprinkler system from the stairwell right above the standpipe conection (if required to maintain handline pressure) before advancing.

    Also, if there is unseen extension, your standpipe could be compromised on the fire floor, resulting in your water supply being reduced or interrupted.

    I just can't see any benefits to your practice, other than saving you a very little amount of work.
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