Thread: 4" or 5" LDH

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    Default 4" or 5" LDH

    Dept. currently runs with 4" LDH and there have been discussions concerning switching over to 5".

    As for hydraulic calcs, most engines are 1500 gpm single stage pumps. Area is provided with hydrants and largest water mains are 12". Pressures on mains fluctuate based on seasonal demand and static pressures vary from 65-100 psi.

    Community is largely residental and good mix of commercial. Most buildings are type 3 construction and provided with fire sprinklers.

    Based on water supply, fire pump capabilites and building construction, is it realy worth the expense to switch from 4" to 5" hose?

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    Look back at past fires....

    have your engines been running short of water?
    do you lay in from the hydrant directly or are you on a humat and an engine pressurizes the hydrant?
    are you laying long stretches or under 1000'?
    what GPM from the hydrants is possible? All of mine give the same PSI but due to main sizes, flow from 500 up to 2000gpm.
    is mutual aid compatibility a concern? I doubt it, but it may/may not require adapters.


    Just a couple other things to discuss...
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    How about putting it this way. If purchasing LDH is there ANY reason to buy more 4" rather than stepping up to 5". Tremendous benefit to buying 5" if you are laying any distance at all.

    A few 4" to 5" adapters is a trivial expense if you end up with a mix of 4" and 5" for a few years. And make sure the 5" is on the hydrant not at end of the lay.

    Our LDH is 6" and we have 6"-5" Storz adapters as our mutual aid depts have 5" LDH.
    Last edited by neiowa; 09-07-2006 at 02:58 PM.

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    Default either 4 or 5

    Long lays..........nah. Most of the times not more than 500-600 feet at best. Hydrants located for the most part not more than 750 ft. apart, unless on a court or cul de sac.

    Running 4 and 5 together as a mixed load.....not good idea. Keep it simple. Each engine runs with 1200 ft (1000 in bed, 200 rolled in compartment).

    Replacement costs not a issue. Funds can be found or budgeted.

    Issue in my mind is this.......is there enough water in the Municipal system to justify going with 5 inch? My thinking is we can currently maximize the 4 inch (flows, gpm, etc)whereas will we only use "xyz" percentage of the capabilites of the 5 inch? With the problems with water restrictions in the spring and summer and the fluctuations in available water supply due to demand, is it prudent to consider going from 4 to 5 inch LDH?

    Past experience shows that if a single 4 inch lay don't cut it, drop another line. SOP's dictate forward lay for first due engine. No Humat/hydrant assist or engine on the hydrant. Just a "cold" water line from hydrant in to the job.

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    Using the "x % of available" reasoning is a bad idea IMO. If you have a poor water system you want to use larger hose so as to not make a bad situation worse by excessive friction loss. In other words the flows encountered in ANY structure fire can make 5" a benefit. Remember we calculate available water at 20 psi residual system pressure so that means that if you are pulling the max system capacity you will only have 20 psi at the START of your hose lay and so you cannot afford to have more than 5-10 psi friction loss in the hose lay itself at the very most.

    Myself, I would just buy 5" hose, not mix them between engines, but I would probably not throw out anything either, I know money is tight.

    Also I would not base this kind of decision on past experience, I would pre-plan some of your larger commercial occupancies and consider what kind of water would be required vs how much pressure and flow would be available and see how that 4" would do in that situation.

    Birken

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    If cost is not an issue, then there is no decision to me. No reason not to go to the 5". You won't overtax the water system and it will give you the added benefit of less friction loss (although minimal on 4").
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    If cost is not an issue, then there is no decision to me. No reason not to go to the 5".
    I agree, but let's look at your 500' lay at a few different flows and see what happens (numbers rounded off to nearest 5's)...

    We'll assume no supply engine on the hydrant, as you said was your SOP.

    @ 500 gpm over 500', you'll have 25 psi loss in the 4" and 10 psi loss in the 5". As long as your hydrant has a flow pressure of at least 45 psi, you're fine.

    @ 750 gpm over 500', you'll have 60 psi loss in the 4" and 25 psi loss in the 5". Now, you need a flow pressure of at least 80 psi on the hydrant to support the 4" lay, but only 45 psi for the 5".

    @ 1000 gpm over 500', you'll have 100 psi loss in the 4" and 40 psi loss in the 5". Now, you need a flow pressure of at least 120 psi on the hydrant to support the 4" lay, but only 60 psi for the 5".

    So, for most evolutions where you're using just a couple of handlines, you'll be fine either way. But, when you need bigger flows (or longer distances), the larger LDH really becomes an advantage, especially if you're operating without an engine on the hydrant (either by necessity or choice).

    If you flip this around and put a supply engine into the picture, consider this...

    With 4" tested at 200 psi and an operating residual of 20 psi, you can move 1000 gpm a maximum of 900' over flat ground (and just barely - 800' is safer). With 5", you can move that same 1000 gpm over 2000', or you can move 1500 gpm (if you could find it) over that same 900' of flat ground.

    So, I concur...if you have the money, get the 5" and give yourself some added flexibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmcfm

    Running 4 and 5 together as a mixed load.....not good idea. Keep it simple. Each engine runs with 1200 ft (1000 in bed, 200 rolled in compartment).
    Probably correctly but 4" on one engine and 5" on another engine is OK if you provide yourself with appropriate adapters.

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    Personnally, I would stick with the 4". With the lays under 1000', the additional water will not be substancial, especially if you have plentiful hydrants where another line can be laid from in short order. 5" is most effevtive in long lays, low pressure-high flow water systems, rural LDH operations and situations where a engine is not available to pump the hydrant, which brings me to .....

    I would make a suggestion though, if water is an issue. Buy a 4-way valve for each engine. This will allow the initial line to be laid and charged from the hydrant by the first in engine, and then a second engine can be sent to the hydrant to pump the line. This can make a big difference in your flow through the 4" as my former department in VT used this technique to boost flow and found it to be very effective.

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    I'd go 5". Basically a 1000 gpm pumper cannot flow capacity over 650ft through 4" LDH due to friction loss and exceeding 165psi engine pressure. Using 5" you can flow 1000 gpm more than twice as far. Yeah, most jobs you'll not need the big flow, but when you do, look out it will be critical to exposure protection and good defensive ops. Or you could do like most places and wait until the ifre burnes down to a size your gpm can handle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmcfm
    Running 4 and 5 together as a mixed load.....not good idea. Keep it simple. Each engine runs with 1200 ft (1000 in bed, 200 rolled in compartment).
    This one single statement holds the key to the biggest single thing you could do to make things easier on yourself. Forget the 4" and 5" stuff for a second.

    If you really want to help yourself and drivers, get rid of those 100' sections of 4" or 5" hose in the compartment and replace them with 33' sections.

    We carry 1066'. 1000 in the bed and (2) 33' sections. When you put it on the ground and come up 10' short it will be MUCH easier to complete the lay with a short section than unrolling or pulling off another 100'.

    The basic rule we follow is if it looks like you are 50' short or less, use both short sections to complete the lay. Over 50', pull another 100' out of the bed.

    Amazing how much time and energy you will save. Regardless of the hose you end up with, 4" or 5", getting some water faster is better than waiting with no water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Personnally, I would stick with the 4". With the lays under 1000', the additional water will not be substancial, especially if you have plentiful hydrants where another line can be laid from in short order. 5" is most effevtive in long lays, low pressure-high flow water systems, rural LDH operations and situations where a engine is not available to pump the hydrant, which brings me to .....
    This is certainly true, but if cost is not an issue, why not add flexibility for the low-prob, high-risk events. Some examples of where this could come into play...

    1. As I type this and until further notice, our tanker (3500 gals with 700' of 5") and engine (2000 gpm with 1800' of 5") have been bumped up from first alarm to initial structure response on a new, fully hydranted housing development in the next district. Why? Because now that it's becoming occupied and people are trying to use the water system, it turns out that the combination of municipal planners/water company/developer didn't arrange for sufficient water capacity in the development for some domestic use, let alone firefighting. All of a sudden, they need that 2500' of 5" LDH we carry (or tankers) to help make the kind of lays they'll need in the event of a fire. Our job would be harder and we'd need even more apparatus assigned if we all had 4" instead of 5".

    2. Several years back, for both LDH and tanker coverage, we were added to responses in the fully hydranted Reading suburbs several miles away for a few months. Why? Because the earthquake strong enough to damage infrastructure that never hits Pennsylvania didn't get the memo, and went ahead and hit Pennsylvania anyway, cutting their water supply in a whole bunch of places. Again, long lays to either static sources or uncompromised water systems were needed, and 5" was a big advantage.

    My point is that it's those high-risk/low-probability events that getcha, and if you have the financial resources, why not have the extra capacity to handle them?? Mind you, I'm not suggesting huge investments in all kinds of fancy apparatus you'll never use, just a couple grand extra for one extra inch in diameter on hose you're gonna use anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    I would make a suggestion though, if water is an issue. Buy a 4-way valve for each engine. This will allow the initial line to be laid and charged from the hydrant by the first in engine, and then a second engine can be sent to the hydrant to pump the line. This can make a big difference in your flow through the 4" as my former department in VT used this technique to boost flow and found it to be very effective.
    If you're going with 4", that's certainly good advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    If you really want to help yourself and drivers, get rid of those 100' sections of 4" or 5" hose in the compartment and replace them with 33' sections. The basic rule we follow is if it looks like you are 50' short or less, use both short sections to complete the lay. Over 50', pull another 100' out of the bed.
    This is also excellent advice, and we do much the same thing as is described here.

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    Cool My two cents.......

    I currently work for a Department that uses 5" hose...... and we have to have a "football" that we have on all LDH beds. We are trying to go to 4" with a 4" to 4 1/2" adapter since we have hydrants that have both 4" and 4 1/2" steamer ports. Some reasons why are FF safety (having to carry 4" is easier on your shoulders and back, than 5"), money (both initial buys and replacement) and room in the hosebed.
    Personally, we have lots of hydrants that are a great water supply and I think that 4" is sufficient enough, especially from one hydrant. If you need more water than that I suggest bringing water from a different water main.
    Ultimately, it depends on your fire flows needed, availability of manpower, Management's opinion (come on let's be honest here) and the capabilities/needs of your Department.
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    Ultimately, it depends on your fire flows needed, availability of manpower, Management's opinion (come on let's be honest here) and the capabilities/needs of your Department.
    Okay, reasonable bottom line, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy
    Some reasons why are FF safety (having to carry 4" is easier on your shoulders and back, than 5"),
    Let's face it - you shouldn't be carrying LDH, no matter what size - 110 lbs isn't easy on your back, but 90 isn't much better. In reality, you should never have to carry 100' lengths of LDH: supply line can be drained an re-packed without ever breaking the couplings or lifting more than 10' at a time; make-and-break operations can be done with 25-50' lengths; and lower flow operations (tank fills, etc) can be accomplished with 2 1/2" or 3" hose. If a new 100' length is being added, or if you have to roll an old one to take it out of service, use a dolly.

    money (both initial buys and replacement)
    When you consider the overall cost, it's not really that much of a difference between 4" and 5". Especially if you eliminate the need for a hydrant assist valve, etc, by going to 5".

    and room in the hosebed.
    It all depends on what brand you use and how you pack it. When we switched from 4" to 5", we were able to put 3200' of 5" in the same hosebed that previously held 2000' of 4" - simply by carefully loading couplings at the front of the bed and staggering folds. This was with Angus Hi-Vol 5", the highest flowing hose on the market.

    Personally, we have lots of hydrants that are a great water supply and I think that 4" is sufficient enough,
    That may be the case, but fire departments' perception of "sufficient" is often based on those 95% fires that only cause 5% of the damage - and they don't take into consideration of the remaining 5% that cause 95% of the damage.

    especially from one hydrant. If you need more water than that I suggest bringing water from a different water main.
    If you need to hit another main to get enough water, that may be enough reason in itself to buy bigger hose - if you need to go farther away to get the water, you will need bigger hose to overcome the friction loss created by the extra distance.


    Again, I don't know your department's operations, so 4" could work fine for you. I just think you need to be careful about your rationale for making this decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    I'd go 5". Basically a 1000 gpm pumper cannot flow capacity over 650ft through 4" LDH due to friction loss and exceeding 165psi engine pressure. Using 5" you can flow 1000 gpm more than twice as far. Yeah, most jobs you'll not need the big flow, but when you do, look out it will be critical to exposure protection and good defensive ops. Or you could do like most places and wait until the ifre burnes down to a size your gpm can handle.

    This is only true at draft with ONE suction line (or 2 if you have a 2000+ GPM pump). Working off a pressurized supply (hydrant) your 1000 GPM pumper can probably pump 1500+ GPM if you use the pump and hose right and it can certainly pump 1000 GPM more than 165 PSI if the incoming pressure is sufficient.

    Assuming my math is right...

    The max you can move 1000 GPM is at 185 PSI in supply grade LDH for a total approximate distance of 825 feet in 4" and about 2050 feet with 5" hose.

    If you are drafting with that 1000 GPM pumper your 4" will give you 1000 GPM @ about 725 feet pumping at 165 with 20 residual. The 5" will give you about 1800' of distance with 20 residual.

    Alot of people will read this an say "thats crap, nobody can remember that." We made a chart that shows the supply line pressures/FL's and keep it in the rig.
    Last edited by MG3610; 09-16-2006 at 10:17 PM.

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    4" is best suited to medium flows off a modest hydrant system going a modest distance.

    5" will make the most of low pressure systems, take advantage of high volume systems, and move it the furthest.

    If you have a hydrants that put out 1000gpm at 65psi residual pressures and only lay 500', 5" ain't gonna do anything for ya other than *maybe* save a little bit of fuel since you're not boosting the pressure as much with your pumper If you have a hydrant that can deliver 2000gpm, you can get big flows but only with low residuals, or you have situations you need to lay a quarter mile or more...5" can make stuff happen without using relay pumpers or parrallel lines.

    The figures MG quoted are based on rubber lined, double jacketed hose which just about no one on earth runs in these diameters. Most modern supply lines have more flexible jackets (read: they expand in diameter under pressure) and slipperier liners which make a big difference.

    165psi PDP, 20psi residual, 1000gpm through Angus Hi-Vol will get you 1,600' in 4" and 3,300' in 5". Other brands will fall somewhere in between Angus which AFAIK still has the best performance and the "book" values.

    Will you necessarily get the whole 1,600'? Only way to find out is to pump your own hose and measure it. But it should be significantly more then the 725' value based on obsolete hose technology.

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    Exactly Dal ...

    My point in my posts were that if you currently operate with 4", the additional amount of water you would flow with 5" are in all liklihood not worth the very large expenditure of switching over. This seems especially true especially in the original posters situation where hydrants are plentiful and generally spaced about 750' apart.

    A few simple additions or changes can be much more cost effective. The addition of a utilizing a (previously mentioned) 4-Way Valve can make a huge difference. This wikll allow a pumper to "boost" the 4" laid in by the first due pump without requiring the hydrant to be shut down to make the connections. In my previous department, where we used 4" extensivly, we were able to flow 1500 gpm or more off 20 psi hydrants 1000' when we utilzed a pumper at the hydrant. I would dare to say that a flow such as that will be more than sufficiant for 95% of the time for most departments out there. In addition, if in most cases, hydrants are within 750', a second line will not be a problem to lay quickly if even more water is needed.

    I understand the thought that we need to think about those 5% of our fires that will require very large flows. In this case, it seems like there are more than enough resources to deal with that 5% without completly re-hosing the fleet. After all it's not our money, but we do need to be smart with it.

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    [QUOTE=Dalmatian190]

    The figures MG quoted are based on rubber lined, double jacketed hose which just about no one on earth runs in these diameters. Most modern supply lines have more flexible jackets (read: they expand in diameter under pressure) and slipperier liners which make a big difference.

    [QUOTE]

    Good point. Unfortunately you can't work strictly off of friction loss cards for true values with hose these days. It is true, though that "old school" values can still show the difference an inch makes in hose diameter.

    Thanks for the reminder...

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Exactly Dal ...

    My point in my posts were that if you currently operate with 4", the additional amount of water you would flow with 5" are in all liklihood not worth the very large expenditure of switching over. This seems especially true especially in the original posters situation where hydrants are plentiful and generally spaced about 750' apart.
    MG+ Dal:Good points about the true measuring of friction loss, true PDP and the gains of 5" over 4".
    LA: I'd note the same principles hold true for 5" making it that much more useful. Anytime you can upgrade to push more water further, eliminating inline apparatus and pumpers on hydrants would seem to have a high potnetial for pay off. And the original poster does not seem to have the monetary constraints some of us share. So where's the downside?

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    If they have the money, there really isn't a downside.

    However, given that they seem to have a pretty descent water setup at the moment, which can be made better with a rather small investment in a few 4-Way valaves and maybe the addition of an additional pump on the run card for the hydrant (if they don't have enough now), I'm just thinking that the money they would pour into a complete 5" upgrade could be better used on firefighter safety issues .. TICS, RIT equipmen, tgear, upgraded training, communications, etc, etc.

    But since I have no other info on them it's all speculation I guess. maybe none of that is an issue and the money is truly available.

    Just my thoughts.

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    But investing in those 4 way valves also ties up an added engine. Where 5" may let them get the job done with 1 engine, the 4" and hydrant valves now requires 2 engines. Just an added thing to figure in that they may have the engine available, they may have to be waiting for it to come mutual aid, etc. Again, it's just another consideration.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default We used 4" and we tried 5"- we only use 4" now

    Our department has used 4" LDH for years. We tried 5" on two engines for a 6 month period and based on the feedback from crews the department has decided to stick with 4". The flow calculations on paper look appealing for the 5" but in practice the 5" is very heavy. There can be more kinks in any given situation which contributes to friction loss. The actuall size of the hose lowered the length of hose we could store on our engines; so the benefit of being able to use the 5" LDH for long lays was not practicle.

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    So where's the downside?

    There's very few.

    5" does weigh more, both empty and charged. Might make a small difference if you're really watching your GVW (i.e. rural department and amount of water you can carry...).

    Either charged needs some serious manpower -- around 6#/foot for 4" and 9#/foot for 5".

    Similiar to the dry weight is the space per length issue mentioned by Firefloor.

    In certain rural evolutions, you strand more water in the hose. For us a common evolution is to forward lay 500' to 1000' up long driveways. 5" takes 36 gallons more per 100' to charge than 4". May not sound like much, but you're losing it in those critical first few minutes when the booster on your first in truck is rapidly going down, you're in the middle of the active firefight, and most of your water is still responding lights-and-siren. In some situations, it'll mean the difference between the first ET pumping off giving you a couple more minutes of water v. just filling the line.

    We do run both. However, I think that's largely a legacy of acquiring a good amount of 4" in a merger with another station. I'm not sure at all we would've spent money initially to split between 5" for supply and 4" for fireground otherwise. But given we had the 4", it was put to the best use.

    NOW...

    An equally valid question becomes...if you're department decides that 4" is perfectly adequate given medium flows, medium hydrants, medium distances...is there really any advantage to running 4" vs. staying with dual 3" lines? Given the same hose construction, they give equal performance. And give you several options -- laying only a single, easier and quicker to pickup supply line for outside fires; higher operating pressures if necessary; if one line is lost, you still have a supply; and for unusual situations being able to lay one very long supply line (recognizing the lower flows).

    It's just to point out that you can select the right tools for how you operate. A pencil and calculator can help a lot, but sometimes then it becomes a judgement call among equal options which you prefer.

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    Default Maximizing the hydrant

    Our department dresses the hydrant with a gate on the steamer port and both 2.5" ports as well. The 4" supply is always utilized and in some situations a second supply line (2.5") is dropped with the 4".

    So it seems we have found this adequate to date. We have fire calls in hi-rises in highly populated downtown areas and we have barn fires down 900' driveways.

    Relay pumping has always been our way to achieve the volume and pressure we need.

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    One of the other issues with long lays is that generally these happen in less than urban places where the next due engine could be a few minutes. If you forward lay until your bed is empty then proceed in, how long before you've got water? Sure you can carry umpteen hundred feet of either hose, but once its charged who is gonna break a pumper inline when you need more water? In all likelyhood you're going to lay out the bed and put in a truck at that point. Now how far have you laid and what are you going to get for GPM at the end?

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