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    Default Why so little discussion of utilizing the backstretch?

    I noticed something while looking at discussions of the 3 inch vs. 5 or 6 or whatever size supply hose and LDH...etc.etc.

    Why is there little to no discussion of setting up your Engines or at least part of the hose bed to perform a backstretch or "reverse lay" as it is often called in many of your depts.?

    Just so I am clear...I am speaking of having the male butt with a nozzle come off the top of the hosebed first.

    The Motor-Pump operator (MPO) would stop in front of the fire building or just past it and allow the members to pull the neccesary hose off to reach the farthest part of the structure (PD, fire apt in MD..etc.) and then he would continue on to the hydrant where he would secure a water supply.

    They could even pull two lines off similar to the 3 inch and leave the other one in the street for the next arriving engine. Most of your fires in light urban and suburban areas would at most need 4 lengths(50ft lengths) from the street (some would obviously require more.)

    For those of you with less than adequate staffing this would be a win-win as more men would be available for the stretch and the efficency of using the chauffeur in hooking up to the hydrant would allow this.

    Furthermore the front would be left open for your ladder or service company apparatus with additional tools and ladders...etc. The use of the pump and the water would also gain some effiencies due to the pump being immeidately adjacent to the hydrant.

    I can understand there will be places where the 5 inch+ will always be a neccesity (hydrants spaced irregularly at 1500ft apart or industrial settings...etc.) but there seems to be a focus on only one possible solution and not looking to ensure that our Engines and manpower are used to their most effective effiency in many places.

    Why is this so?

    FTM-PTB

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    Probably the biggest reason is that "its too complicated" and most places wouldnt expect the ECC to be able to figure out the proper pressures.

    Where I'm from, it wouldnt work, even though we are capable of laying attack hose as described. The only difference in our case is the layout would be 2 1/2" with a water thief with the hose packs used to run the attack line. We have to be able to do the duties of the engine and truck, so having to go fetch the ladders or hooks a few hundred feet down the street wouldnt too well. We also have places where its 1000' to the nearest hydrant. We drop line if we have to pass a plug or from the nearest address and have the second arriving engine pick it up. The use of Humat valves allows us to start the water before the second due engine arrives. My engine staffing is 2. We dont leave someone at the plug, if its my day to pump, Ill run back and make my own hookups.

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    FFFRED

    Can you explain the hosebeds on the engines for your dept. How much hose in each slot and how many different loads? How does the ECC know how much is on the street? I have a vague idea, but have never seen it explained thoroughly. Also, can certain engines have different amounts of hose based on their location in the city or is it mirrored on every engine?

    Thanks

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    We have a skid load which is basicall two 100' 1 3/4" attack lines coming from a 2 1/2" playpipe with a wye attached. This connected to the 3" in our bed. If we reverse lay this we pull the skid all the way to the door we are going in , pull and extra lead of 3" and then the engine can either do a reverse lay to a hydrant or get a 5" supply from the next incoming engine. We only tend to use the skid on houses or properties that our preconnects cannot reach. I know this isnt really what you are looking for, but that is where we reverse lay on occasion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    FFFRED

    Can you explain the hosebeds on the engines for your dept. How much hose in each slot and how many different loads? How does the ECC know how much is on the street? I have a vague idea, but have never seen it explained thoroughly. Also, can certain engines have different amounts of hose based on their location in the city or is it mirrored on every engine?

    Thanks
    Its been a while since I worked in an Engine Co., but I'll give you what I remember.

    Most engine companies carry 2 beds of 1 3/4 hose with smoothbore nozzles. The beds consist of 6 "lead lenths" of 1 3/4, and the rest 2 1/2. The amount of 2 1/2 can vary, at the discretion of the company captain. There is then a
    3rd bed of all 2 1/2 with a smoothbore nozzle, for situations where a 2 1/2 is determined to be needed by the officer, such as a commercial building. There is usually a 4th bed of 3 1/2, to supply the Engine Co. in certain situations or to supply a Tower Ladder or multiversal. The 3 1/2 is also used to supply standpipe systems and sprinklers. I dont belive the amount of lenths is dictated, but is determined by the company, based on the types of stretches the company usually makes.

    The ECC is told by the Control Firefighter how many lenths were stretched (the controlman estimates the amount of lenths needed, and then breaks the line at the hose bed and hands the butt to the ECC to hook up to the pumps) The ECC, now knows how many lenths he is pumping, and makes his calculation.

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    When we first lost our two-piece engine concept here we tested the backstretch. I have to say I liked it. The bad part of it was that it wasn't given a fair chance and it wasn't mandated to be used to be properly tested. It would have allowed us to have every pumper taking care of there own water instead of the 3rd due boosting the 1st and the 4th due boosting the 2nd due engine.


    Are there downsides to this that you ever experience with the backstretch?
    Last edited by R1SAlum; 07-30-2007 at 05:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    FFFRED

    Can you explain the hosebeds on the engines for your dept. How much hose in each slot and how many different loads? How does the ECC know how much is on the street? I have a vague idea, but have never seen it explained thoroughly. Also, can certain engines have different amounts of hose based on their location in the city or is it mirrored on every engine?

    Thanks
    Here are a few photos that can help answer the question.

    Engine 67
    Engine 67
    Engine 262
    Eng 262
    Engine 14
    Eng 14
    Engine 10


    Now we can look at Engine 67 and see there are 4 main sections of the hosebed:
    (Left to right)
    1. Primary bed of approx 10 lengths of 2 1/2 finished with no more than 6 lengths of 1 3/4.
    2. A bed of 2 1/2" hose approx 10-12 lengths.
    3. A secondary bed similar to that of the primary bed.
    4. A bed of approx 10 lengths of 3 1/2" supply hose, give or take depending on the area.

    Now I just made assumptions of which is primary and which is secondary...that is decided upon by the company but I just wanted to delinate between the two.

    There can be seen a small difference in companies set up as one bed is to the left on one rig and in a different location on another...but the premise is the same.

    You'll also note a small difference with the hose bed of Engine 10 as it is in a primarilly highrise area and is also a high pressure pumper that has a third stage that takes up space so the bed is slightly smaller.

    The point is the bed is set up to allow for both types of operations and allows Engine Companies the option depending on the situation presented.

    As for the question on how the Chaffeur knows how many lengths are taken off the appratus...

    Well there are many ways...one is for the men on the backstep to tell him how many lengths they took off and then all he has to do is count the buts back to the one in front of the house.

    Or one of those men should be assigned to control the stretch and count the Butts he sees pay off the back. Then tell the MPO and once the line is charged...chase the kinks.

    Or he could simply look in the bed and see how many are left. Depending on your bed dementions it shouldn't be too hard to learn how many folds equals one length. Plus a simple estimation of distance will also help confirm this to the Chauffeur.

    For most suburban applications it wouldn't be that difficult.

    And yes the number of lengths varries but only by a few depending on the commpany and the area they typically cover. It is decided upon by the Company commander (Captain) and agreed upon by the Battalion chief.

    Engine 308 from Southeast Queens could easily go to work in East Harlem and Engine Co. 6 from Downtown could easily go to work in Staten Island. They are all still Engine Co's and can perform In-Line pumping or Backstretches (Forward and Reverse Lays to you guys) depending on what the situation calls for...they aren't a one-trick-pony.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-30-2007 at 05:45 PM.

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    We operate with a modified reverse lay almost without exception. Our first due engine, per our SOP will stop just past the fire building, leaving enough room for the first due truck.
    Our second due engine, per our SOP is to back down the street, almost without exception, and drop two supply lines to the first due engine, both of which are three inch. The second due engine then finds a hydrant, be it mid block or on the northwest corner of every intersection. Our third due engine, per our SOP is supposed to come in from the opposite direction to hopefully be able to supply from the other side should something happen to the second due engine.
    We have utilized this since the introduction of motorized apparatus, and it works out very well.

    We donít necessarily charge both three inch lines, unless the fire dictates it. However, you had better drop both every time you supply. We have one rig that carries 4,000 feet of 5 inch; other than that one rig, all we carry is three inch.
    Every engine carries twin boxes of three inch, and both are 15 sections in quantity.

    A first due engine will take their own hydrant if the situation allows it, like a plug right in front of the building. Most of the time though, with the majority of our companies being fairly close to each other, there is not too long of a wait to get a supply.
    Last edited by jasper45; 07-30-2007 at 05:45 PM.

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    It would all depend on the tactics of the individual department. The neighboring town of Hudson used to have their trucks set up for reverse lays, aka backstretch when they ran 3" supply lines. Their water pressure in their hydrant system dictated this.

    When my FD ran 3" supply lines, we were set up for forward lays. If we went mutual aid to Hiudson, we would use adapters and if they came mutual aid to us, vice versa.

    The nice thing about LDH is that the couplings are "bisexual".. no adapters required!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    It would all depend on the tactics of the individual department. The neighboring town of Hudson used to have their trucks set up for reverse lays, aka backstretch when they ran 3" supply lines. Their water pressure in their hydrant system dictated this.

    When my FD ran 3" supply lines, we were set up for forward lays. If we went mutual aid to Hiudson, we would use adapters and if they came mutual aid to us, vice versa.

    The nice thing about LDH is that the couplings are "bisexual".. no adapters required!
    My point is many limit themselves to just one tactical choice...and not neccesarily when circumstances prevent the usage of the other alternative. A casual look at many hosebed arrangements appears to show many use only the forward lay or in-line pumping and don't allow for the choice of the reverese.

    Many on here were discussing the limitations of 3 or 3 1/2 inch over lets say 4 or 5...but there wasn't much discussion on reverse lays which would make such arguments irrelevant.

    While many out there would claim the FDNY always does something one way or another...we do allow the flexibility of our Engine companies to perform either evolution without any modification of field improvisation.

    FTM-PTB

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    We use reverse lays in some of our older residential neighborhoods. The hydrants are spaced far and the the one-way streets are narrow. One of our beds has 500 ft of 2 1/2" with the last 50 foot in an accordian lay with a 2 1/2" to 1 1/2" gated wye. We grab the accordian and a 200 ft x 1 3/4" hose bundle and we reverse back to the hydrant. It saves room in front of the house for the truck.

    We don't do it a lot, but it works when we do. Its just another tool for the engine company officers to have when we need it.

    (We carry hose bundles to use when we have to use apartment stretches in some of our larger complexes.)
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    we use 5" in our dept for supply. It is also attack hose if we decide to reverse out from the fire we drop a manifold a minimum of 300' of 2.5" (100' sections) and 200' of 1.75" (100' sections) and the supply line. our 5" has sexless coupling allowing for foward and reverse lays. our engines hose bed looks like this


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    FFFRED....good question..I live in an area blessed with hydrants and good water supply....all of our pumpers carry 700' of 5" hose (stack load) with sexless couplings...can be layed forward or reverse, we also carry 700' of 3" and 700' of 2 1/2", (horseshoe load). we seldom do a reverse lay but do train for it. the 2 1/2 and 3' hose are loaded with the female coming off first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The nice thing about LDH is that the couplings are "bisexual".. no adapters required!
    Lets see.....that either means they can write with both hands or they can live on land or in the water....I don't remember which...lol

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    MattyJ and FFFRED,

    Very informative, thank you for the information. How often would you see an engine in the city laying supply hose (the 3 1/2")? It has always been my understanding that if the engine is laying line its almost always an operation as you describe where the attack line is being laid and not the supply line.

    Why are there primary and secondary beds? Doesnt every engine take its own line in? Is it just as a backup?

    Do your hosebed depths allow easy figuring how much hose is left (ie. one layer = a certain number of feet)?

    Thanks for the info, good discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    FFFRED

    Can you explain the hosebeds on the engines for your dept. How much hose in each slot and how many different loads? How does the ECC know how much is on the street? I have a vague idea, but have never seen it explained thoroughly. Also, can certain engines have different amounts of hose based on their location in the city or is it mirrored on every engine?

    Thanks
    We leave a loop at the halfway point in the load extending about 6" beyond the rest of the load....judging distance to hydrants and how much hose you have on the ground or may need comes with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    MattyJ and FFFRED,

    Very informative, thank you for the information. How often would you see an engine in the city laying supply hose (the 3 1/2")? It has always been my understanding that if the engine is laying line its almost always an operation as you describe where the attack line is being laid and not the supply line.

    Why are there primary and secondary beds? Doesnt every engine take its own line in? Is it just as a backup?

    Do your hosebed depths allow easy figuring how much hose is left (ie. one layer = a certain number of feet)?

    Thanks for the info, good discussion.
    MG3610....generally speaking if you are putting attack lines on the ground you will need supply lines...ie: from hydrant to pump...but the term supply line can also represent suppling automatic sprinkler systems, standpipes, master streams, etc. we can pump LDH to master stream devices but most FD connections around here will not accept this which is where we would use 3" hose.

    All FD's operate differently, we always try to take two hydrants as a precautionary measure, most ops would only call for one attack pumper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R1SAlum View Post
    When we first lost our two-piece engine concept here we tested the backstretch. I have to say I liked it. The bad part of it was that it wasn't given a fair chance and it wasn't mandated to be used to be properly tested. It would have allowed us to have every pumper taking care of there own water instead of the 3rd due boosting the 1st and the 4th due boosting the 2nd due engine.


    Are there downsides to this that you ever experience with the backstretch?
    What is the policy in DC for the assignments to engine co's on a box and what are the hose lays used? I gather foward lay of 3" using Humats from some pictures I saw recently on another site. From what you said, is it true no engines will reverse lay attack lines, only supply lines?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfd86 View Post
    MG3610....generally speaking if you are putting attack lines on the ground you will need supply lines...ie: from hydrant to pump...but the term supply line can also represent suppling automatic sprinkler systems, standpipes, master streams, etc. we can pump LDH to master stream devices but most FD connections around here will not accept this which is where we would use 3" hose.

    All FD's operate differently, we always try to take two hydrants as a precautionary measure, most ops would only call for one attack pumper.
    Thanks, I understand general principle very well, but am very interested to hear some tricks from other places. This is the best way to find little tidbits to take back to the firehouse. If anytime is good for this discussion, its now before our new engine is delivered. We still have some time to think about our hose loads. When the new engine goes in service, we'll be running a real hosebed again after 5+ years running a telesquirt. Gotta prepare!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    What is the policy in DC for the assignments to engine co's on a box and what are the hose lays used? I gather foward lay of 3" using Humats from some pictures I saw recently on another site. From what you said, is it true no engines will reverse lay attack lines, only supply lines?

    Thanks.

    The first due takes a front postion supplied by the third. The second due engine gets in rear and is supplied by the fourth. This is important to us with 90% of our fires in rowhouses. Anything but a forward lay has to be an exception. You're right about the 3" and humats. You are also right that a reverse lay is very rare. When we had pumpers with our engines, some companies would send the pumper in the block first before the hose wagon and drop his supply line in front of the fire. The wagon pulled past the fire, hooked up the pumper's line, and all four guys were available on the line or sometimes 2 lines. We are a very preconnected driven department.

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    We have never practiced this procedure (also all hydranted). I think it would TRULY wig people out to actually do this at a fire. Besides room at the front of the structure what are the advantages of this ? I also recall there was a great article in a recent trade magazine about this. Not oppossed to it.........just isnt something done around here.
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    I would say hydraulically the biggest advantage is having the engine on the plug and being able to get the water to the tip with fewer variables and guesswork. In this configuration, you already know your nozle and flow, and the pressure limts of the hose. Its just a matter of setting the pressure right since the variables of the hydrant flows are all but irrelevant for a 1 or 2 line fire in this layout arrangment. You can easily get 250 GPM at 20 PSI through 25' of intake hose as opposed to 500' of supply line with the pump at the wrong end in the initial stages even on most crappy hydrants.

    The resistance (FL) in the hose eats up water thats at hydrant pressure in most systems pretty quickly. By putting the engine on the hydrant, you maximize the water supply and can now push that same water under much greater pressures over much longer distances.

    Good topic here.
    Last edited by MG3610; 07-30-2007 at 10:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    MattyJ and FFFRED,

    Very informative, thank you for the information. How often would you see an engine in the city laying supply hose (the 3 1/2")? It has always been my understanding that if the engine is laying line its almost always an operation as you describe where the attack line is being laid and not the supply line.

    Why are there primary and secondary beds? Doesnt every engine take its own line in? Is it just as a backup?

    Do your hosebed depths allow easy figuring how much hose is left (ie. one layer = a certain number of feet)?

    Thanks for the info, good discussion.

    The reason primary and secondary beds? The 2nd line is usually taken off the 1st due Engine. So the 3rd due Engine walks to the back of the 1st due (2nd due Engine helps 1st due stretch) and stretches the 2nd line from the same rig. In most incidents, the front of the building is occupied by the 2 truck companies...so rarely will there be other Engines on the block, and the job of the 2nd Due Engine is to make sure the 1st Due Engine has a good water supply....in other words, if the 1st Due Engine finds itself on a bad hydrant....the 2nd due chauffer is to assist him (probably supply him) with water.

    Probably the only time an Engine would "lay" a supply line would be to supply another Engine. Engine #2 backs up to Engine #1 and pulls off its 3 1/2" hose and "lays" it to a hydrant, pretty rare, as often Engine #2 (on its own hydrant) will hand stretch to Engine #1. It might also be done to supply a Tower Ladder in this way....but again, the
    3 1/2 is usually hand stretched. So yes, it is almost always the attack line that will be "layed" to a hydrant (backstretch) (a heads-up company might even pull the 2nd line off and leave it in front of the building to make life easier for the 3rd due Engine), the Engine then connects to the hydrant with the short "soft suction" or 15' regular (5 inch I think) hose. With the Engine entering the block before the Truck, and both coming from the same direction, this tactic leaves the front of the building open for the Truck Co's.

    The depths of the hosebeds allows easy calculation, but the firefighter has to have an idea of how wide each section of the bed is...for example, if I remember correctly, my first company had beds that were 4 hose-widths wide, which was about 1 lenth (50 feet) per layer. Usually the 1st two lenths of 1 3/4 are rolled into horseshoe (one lenth each) for the Nozzle and Back-up to grab and carry to the fire-floor and floor below.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 07-30-2007 at 10:21 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Weruj1;843732] Besides room at the front of the structure what are the advantages of this ? QUOTE]

    Apart from leaving room for the truck(s). Which is a huge advantage...

    1) In urban areas you can have large water mains. Large main equal high gpm with low pressure. You can increase pressure with an engine on the plug.

    2) With fire in rowhomes, stripmalls and garden apartments, its easier to moves hose (attack lines) than it is to reposition engines. We reverse enough hose off in advance to reposition if conditions change. We can get ahead of the fire and cut it off without having to extend lines on reposition engines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    FFFREDHow does the ECC know how much is on the street?
    Ahhhh. We use a highly advanced and technical system to determine this. We mark the female butts with masking tape.

    Fred - good discussion. Our engine companies are actually set up with a fair number of options. Standard loads in Memphis, from smallest to largest, consist of: 200-300' of 1" booster line, 100' 1 3/4" line off the front bumper, (2) 1 3/4" crosslays - generally both 200' but some vary by company. The rear hose bed consists of 3 sections. One, generally the far left consists of (2) 150 sections of 1 3/4" hose with the last 50' sections and both nozzles bundled together into a shoulder load that rests on top of the load. The bottom of the load hangs out of the bed about 3' while loading so the wye can be connected to top of the 750' load of 2 1/2" hose in the center section. Finally, the 3rd section has 1000' of 5" hose with (2) 33' sections of 5" in a compartment near by. Any of that make sense????

    This gives an engine company officer several options. There are 4 preconnected lines in different diameters and length if you want to start with tank water. If not, you can pull the shoulder load and lead out with the (2) 1 3/4" lines attached to the 2 1/2" hose and lay out to the plug. If you want to use the 2 1/2" hose, you can disconnect the wye and attach a nozzle. If you are being used for supply, you can use the 5" to lay in or out.

    Traditionally, Memphis ALMOST always lays out and will ALMOST always have the 2nd due engine on the plug to pump back to the first. Generally the only exception to this is if the hydrant is very close and the 1st due engine can either get on the plug with their front intake or the driver can hand stretch a short lay of 5" by hand.

    I will get picture of the hose bed up later. I dont go back to work until Friday. Maybe I'll get some OT before then.

    Oh.....the hi-tech stuff. Before loading any of the 2 1/2", all 15 rolls get placed at the rear of the rig. We record the hose ID number and mark every female butt with the corresponding number of feet for its respective place in the load on masking tape. So the first butt is marked 750', the next at 700', the next at 650' and so on. When it comes off the driver looks at the butt and knows exactly how much hose is on the ground.

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