How you can estimate hose stretches

This simple tip takes some of the guesswork out of the hose stretch

Pre-connected hose lines are utilized by most departments, and work well in many situations. However, what do we do when the pre-connect is not long enough?

Estimating hose stretches is an important skill for every firefighter. There are two main skills involved in making sure you have enough hose to accomplish the mission.

The first is estimating how much hose you need. The second is knowing how much hose to grab. It is important that we grab enough hose before we depart from the rig.

The most effective way to know how much hose to grab is to simply know the depth of the hose bed. As you can see from the photo below, this hose bed is approximately 10 feet deep, and set up with a forward lay.

As we know the depth of the bed, we know that the top section contains 10 feet and each fold contains 20 feet. Grabbing the male coupling and two folds will get you 50 feet of hose.

This simple tip takes some of the guesswork out of the hose stretch, and allows us to focus on more important things on the fireground.

Like with every other skill in our business, the only way to get good is with practice. Every run, every trip out of quarters we should be looking at buildings and estimating hose stretches. But don't stop there!

The real training opportunity comes from actually pulling the hose, and getting it into position. We should know ahead of time what buildings in our response area are beyond the reach of our pre-connects, or if nothing else, what the limit of our pre-connects "looks like."

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