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Hoseline deployment: Avoid the ‘spaghetti’ pile

Video captures how hoseline kinks and piling can hamper water flow and advancement efforts

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Just about every structure fire we respond to is going to have two or three hoselines pulled off the engine for fire suppression efforts. Getting these hoselines pulled and advanced to the structure is the biggest challenge of the fire suppression effort – and the most critical one.

And of course, whenever hoselines are pulled off the engine, there is the opportunity for kinks and a “spaghetti pile” of hose – problems that can significantly hamper suppression efforts.

In our corresponding video of a structure fire in Washington state, we see two examples of hose deployment – one where a hoseline is flaked out and one where another hoseline is not flaked out.

Two hoseline problems

The video shows a great suppression effort by the fire department with multiple hoselines being used to extinguish the structure fire and protect the exposures. But as with any fire we respond to, there are going to be dominos lining up that eventually hamper our efforts along the way or even develop into a disastrous outcome.

The first hoseline that was pulled off the engine is a smaller 1¾-inch hoseline. You will notice that with it being charged with water and flowing, there is a nice figure eight (or S-bends) in the line. There are no kinks in the line, and when it comes time for the hoseline to be advanced a little, less effort is needed to do so.

But then we see the larger 2½-inch hoseline being pulled off the engine and advanced toward the structure. I must applaud this department for pulling off this size hoseline as the secondary/backup hoseline. But as you watch the video progress, you will see that when the hoseline is dropped at the structure, the hoseline is not completely flaked out before it is charged.

The result is that the 2½-inch hoseline has some kinks, creating two problems for the department: decreased water flow and limited hose advancement.

First, whenever there is a kink in hoseline, there will be a significant drop in the amount of water that will be flowing – and you can imagine the water flow issues with multiple kinks in the line. And when there is a need for a large volume of water to be flowing, it simply will not be there until the kinks are removed. Further, when a larger 2½-inch hoseline is full of water, it is much harder to undo kinks then when it is dry. You will see this in the video. A firefighter tries to remove the kinks, but this task can be extremely difficult for one person.

Second, when it comes time to advance the hose, depending upon the location of the kinks or the spaghetti pile, the hose will not advance. In the video, the spaghetti pile is a way’s back in the hoseline, which will most likely not impede their advancement, but if it were farther up the line toward the nozzle, then it would certainly have a greater impact on the line advancement.

Training time: Hoseline deployment

It only takes a few more seconds to ensure that the hoseline is flaked out when it is dry so that when it is charged, the spaghetti pile will not be there along with any kinks.

After watching this video with your company, take the following steps to improve your hoseline deployment actions:

  1. Conduct a training session with one firefighter pulling the 1¾-inch hoseline and focus on removing the kinks before charging it with water.
  2. Conduct a training session with one firefighter pulling the 2½-inch hoseline and focus on removing the kinks before charging it with water.
  3. Practice flaking out the hoseline by grabbing the couplings of the hose to advance/flake it toward the building, not away from the building. This will help with undoing the hose and staging the hose where it is needed.

The type of hose load will dictate the method for pulling it off. Whichever method/style/model you choose, make sure it allows for one firefighter to easily pull off the load, advance it to the door and flake out the hose to avoid any kinks.

The drill can be conducted with two firefighters – one pulls off the hose load and the second follows up the line, flaking out the hose and removing any kinks as they make their way to back up the member on the nozzle.

Final thoughts on hoseline deployment

The best way to avoid or avert the spaghetti pile is to practice pulling off the hoseline. As mundane as this may seem, it is an easy drill to conduct any time of year and at any location. And it is not a drill reserved for the junior firefighter; it’s a drill for all firefighters.

Editor’s Note: What training tips do you have for hoseline deployment? Share in the comments below.

Mark van der Feyst has been in the fire service since 1998, currently serving as a firefighter with the Fort Gratiot Fire Department in Michigan. He is an international instructor teaching in Canada, the United States and India. He graduated from Seneca College of Applied and Technologies as a fire protection engineering technologist, and received his bachelor’s degree in fire and life safety studies from the Justice Institute of British Columbia and his master’s degree in safety, security and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University. van der Feyst is the lead author of the book “Residential Fire Rescue” and “The Tactical Firefighter.” Connect with van der Feyst via email.