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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber rmoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default The Hoseline and the Lawyer

    Question regarding standby hoselines at crash scenes received from a fire officer. The question is who's really calling the shots; us or lawyers? I'm for deploying a dry chem instead of a hoseline. As I review crash images from all over the country, it seems to me that the line may get stretched but then it just lies there most times, unmanned.

    What is the stand that OSHA or NFPA takes on the issue of stretching a hoseline or getting out one or two dry chemical fire extinguishers at crash scenes?

    If we were to have an accident and didn’t pull a hose line, what is a court case going to do to us? It is a sad thing, but Attorney’s seem to be telling us what is right and what is the wrong way to do our job.

    We are a strickly volunteer dept. The fire dept to our west is a full time dept, and they are required to pull a hose line. Would that be held against us if someone was to get hurt?

    I would not like to be the person stabilizing a patient in a car accident when the dash starts to smoke and a firefighter dumps an extinguisher in the dash.

    My Reply:
    I believe that the "reasonable and prudent" person as far as the Jury knows, would be expected to have the hoseline stretched.

    The reality is that the hoseline could be shown to be a false sense of security in court unless it were charged, pump running with pump operator at the controls, the hoseline staffed with at least one FF as nozzleman, and that the nozzleman would be in full PPE with SCBA on and 'On Air' throughout the entire standby operation.

    I could show through expert testimony that a 10# dry chem could be defended as an appropriate "reasonable and prudent" fire safety measure just as much as a hoseline.

    Jurors still think that any vehicle that goes off a cliff will burst into flames while still in mid-air. At least that's what they see on TV.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Bridgton,Me USA


    I prefer a hoseline to an ABC for one simple reason.I'd rather get wet than get a snoot full of powder.If you have never experienced the inhalation of dry chem,you should try it sometime.It leaves an indelible impression on the brain.Not particularly good for accident/crash victims either.We use a dry line with a manned Engine(pump operator)if things start going bad it takes very few seconds to man the line and charge it.About the same as grabbing the Dry chem and pulling the pin.Less clean up too.Nothing wrong with a dry chem for the away from people stuff but that's where I would draw the line. T.C.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    Has this actually come up in a court case?

    If not, I say its hard to predict what the next case will be over, so we just have to keep plugging along and hoping for the best. No need to give them any ideas.

    Hoseline vs. Dry Chem.? Hose line will extinguish most fire and protect trapped pts. from heat. Dry Chem can't really provide that "fog" pattern of protection. However, I have been on plenty of gasoline fed car fires that all the water in the world would not extinguish. The Savior??? A Dry Chem.

    Screw it....pull both! Even if not manned, a quick access to either is better than no prep at all. And sometimes both will be used in conjunction. The downsides to both make it even better to have both. Steam, dust, protection, & extinguishment. Your situation will determine which when.


  4. #4
    Forum Member martinm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Northumberland, United Kingdom


    The SOP in the UK is to deploy a charged HP hosereel extended to cover the WHOLE of the scene, not just the vehicle nearest the appliance. As an added safety point we normally deploy a Co2 extinguisher to cover any vehicles which are smoking from the engine area until they can be opened and inspected, then the Co2 is used to standby the Amkus power pack in case of any problems with that whilst refueling etc.

    I would say its the proper thing to do, in order to cover any evantuality of a collision.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Our sop's require a hose line with 2 fire fighters with proper attire (scba and turnout). My feelings are it is better to have over kill than to find out you came out short. Our first in on an auto extrication is a pumper with 4 personel, the officer, driver and 2 with scba's, next due is our squad with jaws and other extrication equipment and more personel, while the first unit is laying hose, the next in unit is arriving and laying out its equipment.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Ft Worth, Tx


    If we were to have an accident and didn’t pull a hose line, what is a court case going to do to us? It is a sad thing, but Attorney’s seem to be telling us what is right and what is the wrong way to do our job.

    In studying for my vehicle fire course I found many of the lawyers advertising certain cases they were specializing in. One was the 1973-1987 Chev Pick-Up gas tank, records show that there are over 8000 cases of fire caused from tank rupture in side impact crashes, and 1600 deaths. 937 of these erupted during rescue operations. Chev spent a total of $687,000,000 in court settlements rather than have a recall including $5,000,000 to the NHTSA for training to deal with the incidents.
    Ford Crown Vic, Lincoln Town car, are another case of ruptured gas tanks in rear end crashes. Millions of dollars in law suits, and still no recall except for police package (after market).
    1979 Chev Malibu , July 9, 1999 Los Angeles jury awarded $4.9 Billion to a family of six, when their gas tank exploded in a crash.
    Toyota $4.7 million 2001,
    I have a whole book of these, including 15 pages of the name, date, and causes of the Chev Pick-Up fires.
    The point is lawyers are fighting for millions and even billions of dollars, they have their stuff together and with records showing NHTSA and others have put out millions in training, we better have our stuff together.

    My biggest concern is: Vehicle Technology, today’s cars are full of airbag inflators, and compressed gas struts, these are filled with nitrogen and argon both of which have a very high rate of expansion when exposed to very little heat and are well known for exploding in fire. The gases will neither one burn, it is the expansion from the heat that causes them to explode and a dry chem. extinguisher will not cool those metal canisters.

    My second concern is: today we have a lot more risk of fuel leaks then we use to, today’s cars all have pressurized sealed fuel systems, even with the engine shut down, these systems hold 15 – 95 psi of pressure at all times and the lines are made of plastic.
    85% of today’s car are equipped with plastic gas tanks, if they were to melt there can be up to 30 gal of hot gas dumped right at your feet in a matter of seconds. Look at the interview I did with the chief in Missouri City, him and 4 of his men lite up in 5-10 seconds. An extinguisher is not going the handle this type situation. And as you can see they have already happened.

    My self I am going for a charged line on every extrication, I do understand a lot of departments do not have enough man power but at least have the line laying close by.
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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