The 2 1/2 Inch Handline

Issue 12 and Volume 149.

The 2 1/2 Inch Handline BY ANDREW A. FREDERICKS For decades, 212-inch hose was the mainstay of fire departments across the nation. Despite the widespread availability of smaller, lighter 112-inch hose after World War II, many fire departments continued to use 212-inch hose exclusively for interior and exterior firefighting. Urban fire departments in particular–confronted with large factories, high-rise office buildings, and residential neighborhoods crowded with combustible housing stock–found the limited flow of 112-inch hose insufficient. In New York City, 212-inch hose was required for all structure firefighting up until the late 1960s. During the early 1970s, a combination of factors caused a reevaluation of 212-inch hose as the handline of choice for many fire departments. One factor was the sudden, dramatic increase in fire activity throughout urban America. Increased fire activity required handlines that could be deployed swiftly and drained and repacked with a minimum of effort. Recently introduced 134-inch…

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