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  1. #1
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    Question Cars,Kitchens and Bedrooms,Oh My!

    I guess I will make the first leap!


    Jamy Cote is a former Charleston firefighter with a two-year degree in fire science and more than 10 years' firefighting experience here and in other departments. He said he left the Charleston Fire Department last year after his suggestions for safety upgrades earned him a cold shoulder from colleagues. He said it would not have been unusual for firefighters to have made their initial attack on the sofa store with the smaller booster lines, particularly if the blaze was small when they arrived.

    The booster "is usually the first to be pulled off the truck," he said. "Big fire, small fire, it's so ingrained to pull the booster."

    Cote said Charleston firefighters have long favored the booster lines for their light weight and maneuverability. One firefighter can grab the line, dash into a building and get water quickly on a blaze, an approach that fits squarely with the department's aggressive style, he said.

    He said his main concern with using booster lines is that firefighters can find themselves outgunned in a growing fire.

    "It wasn't necessarily a horrible practice, but it has to be a smart one," Cote said. "If the fire is too hot, then you're not going to have enough water there to do anything."

    Thomas said he leaves it up to his captains to decide when and whether it's appropriate to pull a booster line on a fire, and whether it should be used in combination with larger hoses. Booster lines remain valuable tools for quick attacks and are mainly used by the department to put out fires in cars, kitchens and, in some cases, bedrooms, he said.
    "The booster has its place in the Charleston Fire Department, and it's up to our captains on the truck to pull whatever size hose they think is needed to put the fire out," Thomas said. "That's the way we do it."

    If the this is True!

    I'am shocked about the use of booster line for car fires and its unheard of locally to attack any type of structure fire with less than a 1 1/2 line.If the report rings true. Look for some major changes..
    Last edited by coldfront; 07-18-2007 at 12:19 PM.
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  2. #2
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront View Post
    I'am shocked about the use of booster line for car fires and its unheard of locally to attack any type of structure fire with less than a 1 1/2 line.If the report rings true. Look for some major changes..
    We use booster lines here everyday on the very same kinds of calls at the officers discretion. A vast majority of car fires in the city are extinguished with booster lines. They can also be pulled by policy, into buildings where contents are on fire, but not the structure. That could very easily be kitchens and bedrooms.

    On the other hand, if we pull up and see alot of fire, the same officers that utilize booster lines on the smaller stuff will drop dual lines, wyed lines, or start off with a 2 1/2 if indicated. It really isn't rocket science. It really boils down to big fire = big water, little fire = little water.

    They are all tools. They all have their place. Sure they can be used inappropriately, but suggesting that booster lines should be eliminated from the fire service is probably one of the stupidist things I have ever heard people say. If people cannot grasp the concept, you have training issues, not equipment issues.

    If someone using a booster, albeit with a low flow but virtually unlimited water makes you nervous I bet people doing searches or entering burning buildings with 2 1/2 gallons of water in a can drives you full fledge bizarre!!!

    I say again - check your local papers. There are plenty of "safe" jobs.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-18-2007 at 12:57 PM.
    Robert Kramer
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    We use booster lines here everyday on the very same kinds of calls at the officers discretion. A vast majority of car fires in the city are extinguished with booster lines. They can also be pulled by policy, into buildings where contents are on fire, but not the structure. That could very easily be kitchens and bedrooms.

    On the other hand, if we pull up and see alot of fire many of the same officers that utilize booster lines on the smaller stuff will drop dual lines, wyed lines, or start off with a 2 1/2 if indicated.

    They are all tools. They all have their place. Sure they can be used inappropriately, but suggesting that booster lines should be eliminated from the fire service is probably one of the stupidist things I have ever heard people say.

    If someone using a booster, albeit with a low flow but virtually unlimited water makes you nervous I bet people doing searches or entering burning buildings with 2 1/2 gallons of water in a can drives you full fledge bizarre!!!

    I say again - check your local papers. There are plenty of "safe" jobs.

    Good Luck! Sounds like you got it plan! Playing catch me (fire) if you can!
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

  4. #4
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    And I thought booster lines were a thing of the past. No one in this area even has them anymore. I don't even understand why you would use them. If you need 1000 gallons to put out the fire you will get the job done twice as fast with bigger hose. Then again, in this area we are all used to working with bigger hoses.

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    We have booster lines still on our engines, even the new ones that just got put into service last week. We use them for several different things including some structural firefighting. Unless it is a box van or something larger than a passenger vehicle booster lines are pulled on all car fires. They are also there for rubbish and grass fires.

    Here is where I am sure that a lot of us will disagree. We pull them on some small structure fires, mostly kitchen fires where there is nothing more burning than the stove top and cabinets. Not all of our engine companies carry water cans so we will pull a booster line. Anything larger than that gets at least an 1 3/4" line. We also use them during the overhaul stage to finish putting out hot spots so we can take up the cotten lines. It works well for us, now this is not to say that it hasn't ever bitten us but the decision lies with the company officer on which hose to pull in the end.

    Like I said earlier we also use booster lines on veh fires. I know this is also a hot topic, but there is no reason not to. If a FF can't put out a veh that is fully involved, or just the passenger compartment, or just the eng compartment with a 60gpm nozzle and the 1000 gal that our eng's carry then you need to go and train up on your fire attack.

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    So if A booster hose is used as primary attack line on any type of structure fire, you should have at least an 1 1/2" line as backup I would hope, deployed and ready?

    Why not just stretch the 2 preconnects?

    At least for us, the booster line is limited to roadside grass fires, small exterior trash fires, and washing the hoses and boots off after a day's work. We feel automobile fires have too much potential for a fairly large liquid hydrocarbon fire, and the higher flow of an 1 1/2" may be needed for protection. Also, the higher flow rates from the larger attack lines help to get the auto cooled own faster and get the heat off all those little items that go "boom" in them now adays.........

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFDLT1 View Post
    Not all of our engine companies carry water cans so we will pull a booster line.
    Any reason why not? Not flaming or attacking you, just wondering why a simple item isn't carried.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront View Post
    Good Luck! Sounds like you got it plan! Playing catch me (fire) if you can!
    Why catch up? Do you not think that there are fires that occur within structures that are within the capabilities of a booster?? Let me clarify a little. I would not pull on booster on a fire that I would think would need the support or help of another line - even it it were another booster line. It is not used as a "get in there quick" line to be backed up by another. Fires are judged by size and intensity and an appropriate line is pulled to extinguish it in a timely fashion. If there is any question, I would typically default to the next larger size. This rings true from an extinguisher to the deck gun. They all have their place.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWLAFIREDAWG
    So if A booster hose is used as primary attack line on any type of structure fire, you should have at least an 1 1/2" line as backup I would hope, deployed and ready?

    Why not just stretch the 2 preconnects?
    Not neccessarily. We strecth 2 lines when we need 2 lines, not just for ****s and giggles. Do you lay a 2 1/2" line everytime you drop a preconnect, just in case? Why not?
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-18-2007 at 03:40 PM.
    Robert Kramer
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  9. #9
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    Not neccessarily. We strecth 2 lines when we need 2 lines, not just for ****s and giggles. Do you lay a 2 1/2" line everytime you drop a preconnect, just in case? Why not?


    Wonder why we carry 1000 Gallons of water in most of our booster tanks.Hell if we just need 500 gallons the rest is just for ****s and giggles.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

  10. #10
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront View Post
    Wonder why we carry 1000 Gallons of water in most of our booster tanks.Hell if we just need 500 gallons the rest is just for ****s and giggles.
    We don't carry 1000 gallons.

    At any rate, I don't understand your point. We are equipped to be able to handle large fires, but that doesn't mean that tactically you have to handle every fire like "the big one."

    Tell you what. Next time you have some food on the stove or some fire in a wall, go ahead and lay your preconnect, back it up with a 2 1/2", have the next pumper drop you a supply, have the truck set up, and call a second. You know, just in case it gets away from you.

    I'll pull a booster, stop everyone else, and go home & wait for the next one.

    Edit - Ladder work is a perfect comparable. You only want to carry as much ladder as you need to get where you want to go. Would you argue using a 14 foot straight ladder to get on the roof of a single family dwelling? Why not lug the 24' or even 35' extention over there just so you know you won't come up short?? Its the same dang thing with hoselines.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-18-2007 at 04:10 PM.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  11. #11
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    I have to agree with Memphis. Not all fires need 1 1/2" hose lines pulled. Each officer should have the experience to know when a booster will work and when it won't. My department uses booster lines on auto fires all the time, with no problem.

    It does seem ridiculous that some departments have gotten rid of their booster lines to keep someone from making a poor line choice on the fireground. If this is going to be the line of thinking, let's get rid of 1.5", 1.75" and 2" hose and go strictly with 2.5". This way, we'll always know we have enough flow, you know, in case that auto fire or dryer fire gets too out of control.

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    Default Well said.....

    They are all tools. They all have their place.
    That is all that needs to be said.

    For some reason there are several in the fire service who want a policy and guideline for EVERYTHING!

    We have tools, the company officers AND firefighters of that company should have the knowledge and training to know when to use those tools. Properly trained firefighters do not have to be micromanaged.

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    A tool is a tool is a tool. Use whatever tool you need to get the fire out.

    Personally I don't think we have used a booster line for any structural fire here, regardless of size. We usually either go with water-can or 1 3/4 line. The biggest reason we do not pull a booster line for any fire in the structure is because of our SOG's/SOP's. And it is not my place to tell other departments what to do. As long as you are following your departments SOG's/SOP's that should be the end of it. And any good department will have a process to review and change them if needed. Look over your tactics: Are they efficient? Could we do things better? Try something new: Did the new way make an improvement? If yes keep it, of not trash it. How do we know that the CFD has not done trial runs with pulling preconnects, and compared their fire loss/water damage/etc when using preconnects compared to booster lines.

    And yes we have 1000 Gallons of water on some of our trucks. But once again, use the tool you need for the job at hand. If the bag of popcorn in the microwave is on fire, there is no need to drown it with a 2 1/2 inch line until your 1000 Gallon tanks is empty. Lets just foam the heck out of the microwave while we are at it, cut a ventilation hole in the roof and pull the meter. You can "what if....." everything to death, but you don't have to use every tool on every call.

    If you are on a kitchen fire (content), and you get another call for the big structure fire of the year, wouldn't it be nice to just push the "rewind" button on the booster line, instead of draining and loading 150 foot of preconnect. And since we only used a booster line, using the minimun amount of water needed to put the kitchen fire out instead of flooding it, I got a little bit more water on the big fire.

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    I personnaly don't see the need for booster lines anymore. It has been proven time and again that we as firefighters get complacent, and as such we suddenly find ourselves in a bigger fight than we expected. I understand perfectly Memphis's points and believe that with strict guidelines, quality training and leadership, some dept.s are capable of safely using them. Unfortuneately it seems that Charleston may have proven at best account that even what was thought of as a minor trash fire can be significantly different. At worst, we have brothers pulling the red line because "we always do". Believe it or not, fire has changed in the last 30 years. We now have tons more contents made of pocessed compresed petroleum. Most of the furniture in my first apartment was stuffed with jute and had wool batting. Now? Foam rubber! Nevermind the lieghtweight construction issues to contend with. Fires burn hotter faster then ever before, its time to bring a bigger gun!

    BTW: In the space a booster line takes up I can fit as much as 500 ft of lightweight 1" line that is perfect for the trash fires, dumpsters, grass and similar outside fires. I'm hesitant that a booster line or 1" is acceptable as an interior line when a 1.75" line stretched dry is as fast, as safe and has more capablility when charged.

    And not to be to arguementative here Memphis, but taking the can on a search is perfectly acceptable, and standard on my job, but that is due to the fact that we know the engine is stretching in with a fully capable line. I'm not so sure I want to be on the floor above knowing the initial line in may only be flowing 60 gpm. Too much to lose for the little gain. Hell, I cringe to think some places like DC still use 1.5"! But, they do a hell of job with it, so I guess its how you use it, over size, despite what she says.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I personnaly don't see the need for booster lines anymore. It has been proven time and again that we as firefighters get complacent, and as such we suddenly find ourselves in a bigger fight than we expected. .

    I agree with you 100% That is why we need to do away with 1 3/4 hose and use only 2 1/2" attack lines., that way no matter what happens you will have the water. Hey i see crews get run out of houses all the time with
    1 3/4 hose.....
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

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    OK, first off I really think there is not nearly enough evidence out to start judging the Charleston incident yet, so this whole thing is mute.

    But,

    From the info I have seen, the Sofa Superstore fire started in a DUMPSTER behind the building, and only progressed to the interior of the building after an officer opened a rear exit, and was forced back by flames.

    Any department that has Boosters pulls them for most Dumpster fires. If this was in fact just a dumpster fire upon arrival, I can fully understand the use of the booster.

    But again, we have to wait for the official report before we can get any valuable discussion out of that particular event.




    As for Boosters in general, of course there are plenty of valid uses for them like exterior fires (trash), wildland uses, automobiles, etc. There is no better way to get a small amount of water flowing quickly, without having to pull an entire pre-connect. Bumper lines are good too if your apparatus can take them. I agree that they are not a good idea for interior work, but my opinion and $5 will get you a starbucks coffee.

    You can't throw the tool away because they are used wrong by a few depts. Training is the key.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 07-18-2007 at 07:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    You can't throw the tool away because they are used wrong by a few depts. Training is the key.


    BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ ON HERE IN A VERY LONG TIME.......
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

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    From what I have seen of your construction and fire laods over there, I wouldn't be keen to use booster reels inside a house either. Over here in Australia we use them often for a number of jobs, in fact most of our pumpers are fitted with twin lines. We tend to have high pressure lines, so it gives it a bit more fire power, but for more fire load we use 38mm/50mm line or 64mm lines for almost carpark type jobs.

    We would never get rid of booster reels, with the fire type we see it would be insane, and our trucks aren't set up for quick deployment of larger hose.

    Can I ask how you guys have your booster reels setup, low pressure or high pressure ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hfd838 View Post
    I agree with you 100% That is why we need to do away with 1 3/4 hose and use only 2 1/2" attack lines., that way no matter what happens you will have the water
    Like I said, what is the advantage of the booster line? There is a clear difference between pulling the 1.75" and the big line. Where's the advantage of the redline? Oh I know, it's easier to pick up. OK, well enough on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by hfd838 View Post
    Hey i see crews get run out of houses all the time with
    1 3/4 hose.....
    Poor choice of weapon to start? Don't get me wrong, I know you guys do a hell of a job, but "run out of buildings all the time with 1 3/4 hose?" Why not take the big line to start? Do you have procedures that dictate hose size based on occupancy type/size or are you also relying on the first due engine officer to make the call? No finger wagging, I am interested to know.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 07-18-2007 at 09:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Like I said, what is the advantage of the booster line? There is a clear difference between pulling the 1.75" and the big line. Where's the advantage of the redline? Oh I know, it's easier to pick up. OK, well enough on that.


    That's my point as well why bother with the 1 3/4 go straight for the 2 1/2 everytime. get rid of both the boster and 1 3/4

    to me i think i rather keep all three and use common sense and good judgment on which hose to pull. but that's just me.
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

    "YOU'RE KILLING ME ROOK"

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