Archive for the ‘2. Hose Work’ category

The Little Things



It’s the little things that make a difference.

Being part of the “Combat Ready” mentality means more then just surfing around the internet and staying up on current information. You must put it into practice. Train on it over and over again, until it is very hard to get it wrong. That’s what makes us truly prepared for our next fire.

The rig is checked like were going to use it, the saws are always run like we are going to use them, the hose is loaded perfect so it pulls perfect later. When these small links start to be ignored or overlooked, the result will be very clear the next time we go to use them.

When you treat your next fire call as if it is a working fire until we prove otherwise, it keeps your mind in a healthy state of expecting to go to work when we arrive. I take just as much pride in a small fire call that was laid out for success as I do in a good working fire that goes well. The photo below is a great example, this was an apartment fire call that was small and handled with an extinguisher. However you can see the great pride the nozzleman on E8 takes in getting his stretch right and being ready to go to work. (Nice accordion forward!!) This doesn’t happen without the right state of mind and a lot of self practice.

Don’t just tell yourself your ready, prove it to yourself. Talk is cheap, actions show the truth.IMG_4499

Seaside Fire Video (Ladder Rescue)


Here is the first 3 parts of a 5 part video showing a fire out of Seaside California. This first due company had their hands full with a well involved fire and active rescues required. It looked like they had at least one adult and one child pulled out of this fire. This is a great set of videos to challenge yourself with priorities and how you would try to handle the same situation.

Apartment Fire Behavior Video


This is a great one to show the crew and talk about some tactics. The rapidly growing fire conditions in this video are a great reminder to us all why that first water is so important. No time for complacency on this one, we need a first line that is quickly flaked and charged, we need guys that can mask up quickly and then make an aggressive push through the apartment. It also shows the importance of aggressive search crews making a quick pass through the floor above, it could be what makes or breaks someones chances in those rooms.

This seems to be one of those fires that could quickly have people worrying about everything but that first hose line, look how much fire is knocked down in a matter of a few seconds of the first line flowing.

“The Fire Goes As The First Line Goes”
A. Fredericks

Vehicle Fires….


We had a car fire a while back that presented a unique hazard. It was a good reminder that vehicle fires may not always be relatively uneventful and certainly have their own list of hazards. The problem we encountered was involving a newer style VW convertible bug. It was fully involved and seemed to have been torched by someone tossing something under the dashboard. The garage looked as if it was also becoming involved and an 1 3/4 was pulled. The problem arose while the hose was being flaked. Two small explosions occurred within the first few minutes. They were loud enough to catch your attention and sounded similar to when tires pop during  car fires. The first one was not much of an issue but the second one sent a fairly large piece of debris flying over our heads across the street and landed on the sidewalk on the opposite side. This was about 35 feet away from the vehicle.

When the fire was knocked down we discovered what the small explosions were. We found the entire airbag assemblies from under the dashboard had exploded and dislodged sending one across the street, and the other one was found a few feet from the car. It had the air bag, the mounting hardware and the gas cylinder all still connected as one large piece of debris that came out of that vehicle like a rocket. I am sure other people have experienced this, but I just wanted to throw it out there as a heads up because it is worth thinking about. Anyone had something similar?

Below are a few videos that I have saved over time regarding some of the other problems we may run into.

Troubleshooting Standpipe Problems


We have saved this next post as a PDF so that you can download it and throw it around the kitchen table or take it out to the tower and put it to the test. This is a great piece put together regarding many of the different problems we can encounter while operating off of a standpipe system. This offers different scenarios from the time the water comes out of the hydrant to the time it leaves the nozzle and all of the other failure points in between. By preparing for these problems before hand, we will be able to react much more quickly on the real thing.

Below is an introduction by the author, Les Chapel. Then click on the picture for the entire version.

Standpipe and sprinkler systems are often overlooked. The female connections on a FDC may be missing or packed with crud for sometime before anybody notices there is a problem. Hopefully any problems are noticed and corrected before the system needs to be used.

 I’d like to offer some scenarios that your crew can discuss or set up at the training tower, if one is available, to help recognize and train in correcting any flow or pressure fluctuations that may arise while operating attack lines from a standpipe system.

Class 2 Standpipes…..What For?



L. Chapel


There are three classes of NFPA approved standpipe outlets found across the nation:

Class I – 2.5” hose connection intended for fire department use only.

Class II – 1.5” hose connection (with hose) intended for occupant use only.

Class III – 1.5” hose connection (with hose) intended for occupant use only, and a 2.5” connection intended for fire department use only.

Some nineteen years ago, all the old 1.5” single jacket hose was removed from all Class II hose cabinets in our city. This was to prevent occupants from attempting to fight a fire using these old systems that were equipped with untested hose and very low flow nozzles. This of course rendered these outlets useless, and rightly so.

 While walking through a modern big box store have you ever notice those 1.5” standpipe outlets (SPO) that are attached to product display racks? Have you ever wondered why they are there and who would use them? Figure 4 was taken at a Lowe’s store and is typical of this type of installation.

 If they where meant for the fire department to use during a fire attack, they certainly would have been installed as a 2.5” Class I approved SPO. And even if they were, would you want to hook up to an interior SPO that is on the fire floor whereas a retreat would lead the crew back to the SPO, and not to the safety zone of the building’s entrance/exit? They’re not technically for “occupant use only” (Class II) because these new systems were never outfitted with hose. The best explanation I’ve heard is they’re for the fire service to use once the fire is out and we can then attach a 1.75” hose to perform mop-up. But this is a head scratcher since all we have to do is remove the smooth bore tip from our 2.5” attackline bale and attach our 1.75” mop-up line. So I put these SPO into the same category as all the other Class II standpipe outlets; pretty much as worthless as tits on a boar hog. 

To further clarify my statement about not wanting to hook up to an interior SPO in a big box store (wide-rise) one must consider that in a high-rise, we hook up our attacklines in the stairwell at least one floor below and stretch to the fire floor. This gives us the safety zone of the stairwell to operate from, or retreat to if needed. We really have only one safe option when considering where you stretch your attacklines from. They must be stretched from the engine. The attackline leading from the engine and through the entrance/exit will lead back to the safety zone; and that is to the outside where the engine sits.

Whether it’s a ground floor fire in a wide-rise, a ground floor in a high-rise, or the tenth floor of a high-rise, the concept of the attackline leading to and from a safety zone is illustrated below. Also; just as a high-rise building is considered a commercial structure, so is a wide-rise or big box store. Choose the size of your attacklines accordingly.

Ray McCormack – Full Day Class in January 2010


A couple of guys who have been working to put this class together sent us over some information and the attached flier. Ray McCormack will be teaching a class on two different topics as follows:

Engine Company Errors- The Dirty Dozen

Line Boss- About the Engine Officer and Hose work

These classes will be limited to the first 100 people who sign up and only cost 50 dollars for the full day class. A tip of the hat to the two guys (twoknuckleheads) that spent the time and energy in making this class possible. Please review the attached flier and hang it in your firehouse if you would like to help spread the word.

A detailed description on the classes and registration information can be found in the attachment. If you are interested please do not contact IRONSandLADDERS rather use the email address found on the flier. We do not want to be responsible for you losing your spot before the class fills up.  



Update: 50 out of 100 spots have been filled

Update: 75 out of 100 spots have been filled

Update: 90 out of 100 spots have been filled




Tactical Safety: “Examining the process of firefighting to see if there is a better and safer way to operate”


At the last FDIC Lt. Ray McCormack gave a speech that had an immediate impact on the fire service. To some it was an attack, and to others it was motivating. I for one didnt believe Lt McCormack was advocating unsafe firefighting and would agree his message was saying something much different. I believe he was saying the way to operate the safest is by knowing and studying our craft. To remember how important (even if it seems redundant) hose stretch drills are. Even how basic tool maintenance correlates with how you handle them on the real thing.  By treating it as your trade, and attempting to cut off the dangerous thought process that the basics of our job have somehow become less important.

Lt. McCormacks recent articles have been released almost every week since June and really sum up this thought process. Read the articles and take anything and everything that can apply to your own daily operations.  Thank You to for posting these articles. 

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