Our objective on any fire is to protect life and property. The faster we can get water on the fire, the faster conditions will improve and our environment is less hazardous.
Many times we get caught with too many firefighters pushing toward the nozzle and not assisting in manipulating the hose line. These are just a few ideas on how to ensure that the water gets on the fire as soon as possible.
Pulling the line
Choosing the right size line can't be emphasized enough. We have to know when and how to take the appropriate weapon into battle. It does us no good to get to the fire, only to find that we don't have enough GPM to decrease the BTUs. That means the fire doesn't go out.
Additionally, we need to make sure that we pull the hose off of the truck in the appropriate manner. This requires us to know what hose loads we have, how they are to be deployed and if they are specific to certain types of fires.
Pulling the line off incorrectly adds time to our attack and allows the fire to grow. So, the next time the guy asks why the hose load needs to be neat and tight, remind him if it is loaded right, it will deploy right.
Once we have effectively pulled the line, we need to make sure we have no kinks in it and that the nozzle is set appropriately. We must understand what we are working with.
If we are using combination nozzles, it is paramount that we know what gallons per minute we are using and have it set accordingly. This all comes from being familiar with our equipment and training with it on a regular basis.
Advancing the line
Once our crew is masked up and ready to go, one of the first things we need to do is control the door we are entering. Door chocks and wedges, or some other method other than a tool needs to be used to keep the door open while we advance the line.
Having the door slamming against our hose line will slow us down, and delays our ability to get to the fire.
It is important to know when to call for more resources. We must train and use our firefighters appropriately.
A second company may be needed to help manipulate the attack line at corners or stairs. The only way to understand how this works and when it is needed is through training.
If we need to advance down stairs, we may need people at the top of the stairs and the bottom of the stairs just to help manipulate the line in a manner that allows the attack crew to efficiently get to the fire.
We may also need them at corners or going up stairs. We have to be fast and in many instances we must have more people to get the hose line advanced.
Do not be afraid to ask for more resources just to help advance the first line. Remember, the faster the fire goes out, the faster things get better.
Keep in mind that interior basement doors will typically swing into the hallway or main level area. This can be a hindrance for us and in some cases we should just take the door off with our tools and continue rather than fight the door.
This is especially true when the door swings into our path of travel. Taking the time to take the door down very likely will save you time compared to fighting past the it.
When taking hose up stairs, training will dictate if you raise it over the railing or advance it up the stairs. Raising it above the railing is more common in apartments, but can be done in a residential setting.
Whatever method you choose, just make sure you have trained and are efficient. If you do take it up over the rail, keep in mind that the weight of the hose can cause it to kink on the rail.
Every gallon in that hose is approximately 8 pounds and will be increasingly difficult to advance the higher the hose has to ascend to get to the railing.
These are by no means the only techniques or methods for advancing a line. We could write a book on hose advancement if we had the time.
However, these are some quick methods and ideas to think about when advancing hose on working fires.
As always, follow your local operational guidelines when you operate. You must continually include hose deployment in your training program to be efficient.
Stay safe and take care and I'll see you next month "From the Fireground."