Firefighting, Fireground Safety

National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: The Dancing Line

When it comes to fighting fires, there is no job more important than moving water. It’s a task that is inherent to the fire service. No matter what else we do correctly on the fire ground, if we don’t have adequate water and the ability to put it where it will be an effective extinguishing agent, our firefighting efforts will probably end in vain.

Transporting water from the source to the point of use, whether from a municipal fire hydrant, from a lake or stream, or via a tender, requires training and skill in order to do it safely and effectively. Water in motion is one of the most powerful forces in nature and must be handled with respect. Water flowing through a hose under pressure can cause some surprising events, sometimes possibly resulting in injuries to firefighters, as this firefighter near-miss report exemplifies.

“…During this time, the first due Quint had arrived with a crew of three and pulled in next to the engine, approximately 10 feet away. The Quint officer and firefighter began to disembark the vehicle on the side closest to the engine as the supply line was being charged on the ground. Before the hydrant could be shut down, the 5 inch line began to dance and whip around…”

Discuss the following issues with your crew members:

  1. How often does your department train for pumping operations? Do you train for situations where things don’t go as planned?
  2. Is full PPE mandatory in your department when working around charged hoselines?
  3. How important is communication between apparatus operators when setting up a permanent water supply?
  4. Many injuries occur each year as fire departments are conducting annual hose testing. Is the hose used by your department tested to NFPA standards? What are some steps that you can take to reduce the potential for an accident during hose testing?

As you read the reports below related to incidents pump operations, try to imagine how you would have reacted if you had been involved in the action on the scene.

Have you been involved in a near miss while involved in a pumping operation? Submit your report to today so everyone goes home tomorrow. Share a story – save a life! For more on the value of firefighter near-miss reporting, CLICK HERE.

Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.