How to avoid 'fire hose spaghetti'

Improperly pulling the attack line causes more work and compromises the effectiveness of the fire attack

There is much debate in the fire service over which hose lays on the fire truck is best. As there are varying ways in which a pre-connected hose line can be packed on a fire truck, there are also varying opinions about each type and about how each one is better than the other.

There is no perfect pre-connected hose lay — it comes down to what works best in your department based upon how you work and what you encounter as far as building types.

The flat load is the most common type of pre-connected hose lay. Many departments choose this type of hose lay because it is easy to pack and pull off.

These hose lays can vary from 100 to 250 feet. There are a few departments that will have hose lays beyond the 250-foot mark. The average lay is about 200 feet, or four sections of 50-foot hose. 

We can handicap ourselves when we are advancing a hose line by the way we pull it off of the truck. In the case of the flat load, there is a wrong way and a right way to advance the line.

Lotsa pasta
When the line is pulled of the wrong way, it leads to a handicap, which will hamper offensive or defensive operations.

The one wrong way that tends to happen a lot is where one firefighter will grab the nozzle of the pre-connect hose line and start to walk away with it toward the fire building.

What ends up happening is that the entire hose line is pulled off like a piece of spaghetti being produced by a pasta machine — one long singular piece. The pump operator is then expected to help pull the rest of the line off in short sections which leads to a spaghetti pile on the ground.

This method of hose advancement is ineffective as it produces more work for the entire team. There is no coupling at the door along with the nozzle — this allows for at least 50 or 100 feet of extra hose to be at the door in a loop ready for advancement inside.

Instead, there is only a nozzle and a long stretched out line going back towards the engine. At the engine is a pile of hose that is being flaked out by the pump operator — if that person is actually doing that. The pump operator may be busy elsewhere getting other things done that pertain to the pumping operation.

If the line is charged with water with the hose being in a spaghetti pile at the truck, it will cause the hose to kink, twist and lock so that it cannot be advanced. 

The above video shows a load that has been packed with two loops so that one firefighter can effectively advance the entire line to the front door without much effort while at the same time setting themselves up for success with their advancement.

Do not handicap yourself by pulling the flat load off with just the nozzle — adapt the flat load to work for you and practice advancing it in an efficient manner.  

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