Ultimate Firefighter

Extending the Hoseline: Overcoming a Short Stretch, Part 1

Photo by Tony Greco.

 

By Anthony Rowett Jr.

At the heart of every effective hoseline operation is an effective estimate of the hoseline stretch. Estimating the hoseline stretch requires that the company officer determine the proper length of the hoseline to reach the fire while also allowing 50 feet of hoseline for working in the fire area. Although training can improve firefighters’ ability to properly estimate the hoseline stretch, no firefighter is perfect, and mistakes can and will occur.

A mistake in the estimate of a hoseline stretch will most likely result in hoseline that is either longer than necessary, which may result in a messy pile of hose (often referred to as “spaghetti”) or in unwanted kinks in the hoseline. Although it is possbile that a stretch can be too long, firefighters can stretch and advance a hoseline that will come up short and not effectively reach the fire area. All firefighters must prepare to overcome these mistakes when faced with the possibility of an incorrect stretch, especially with a short hoseline stretch that does not reach the fire area.

When a short hoseline stretch occurs, firefighters have two options: stretch and advance a second hoseline or extend the length of the initial hoseline. The former can be a resource depleting operation depending on the staffing that is available, while the latter can many times be performed in a more timely manner and requires less staffing than stretching and advancing a second hoseline.

When firefighters try to overcome a short hoseline stretch by extending the length of the initial hoseline rather than stretching and advancing a second hoseline, the extension of the initial hoseline can be performed in two locations: the nozzle end of the hoseline or the apparatus end of the hoseline. Many times, when confronted with the need to extend the length of a hoseline, firefighters will use a hose clamp to stop the flow of water through the hoseline while the length of the hoseline is extended or the apparatus operator will completely shut down the hoseline at the apparatus pump panel while the length of the hoseline is extended. When a hose clamp is used to extend the length of a hoseline, the extension can be performed at either the nozzle end or the apparatus end of the hoseline.

To extend the length of a hoseline at the nozzle end using a hose clamp, firefighters should perform the following operation:

  1. Apply the hose clamp to the hoseline behind the nozzle.
  2. Remove the nozzle from the hoseline.
  3. Connect the female coupling of the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the male coupling at the end of the initial hoseline.
  4. Connect the nozzle to the male coupling at the end of the hoseline.
  5. Flake the additional length/lengths of hoseline so that they will advance effectively without kinks.
  6. Remove the hose clamp.

 

RELATED: Carroll: Follow the Hose ‖ Humpday Hangout: Stretching Short and Power Saw Safety ‖ Moran on Estimating the Stretch

 

To extend the length of a hoseline at the apparatus end of a hoseline using a hose clamp, firefighters should perform the following operation:

  1. Apply the hose clamp to the hoseline behind the coupling of the last length of the hoseline that was pulled from the apparatus hosebed. The coupling will be located 50 feet away from the apparatus.
  2. Disconnect the male coupling on the last length of the hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed from the female coupling of the next-to-last length of the hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed.
  3. Connect the female coupling on the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the male coupling of the last length of the hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed. Then connect the male coupling on the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the female coupling of the next-to-last length of the hoseline the was pulled from the apparatus hosebed.
  4. Flake out the additional length/lengths of hoseline so that they will advance effectively without kinks.
  5. Remove the hose clamp.        

You can also extend the length of a hoseline by completely shutting down the hoseline at the apparatus pump panel. When the water flow through the hoseline is stopped by taking this measure, you can again extend the length of the hoseline at either the nozzle end or the apparatus end of the hoseline. To perform this action, do the following:

  1. Shut down the hoseline by closing the control valve at the apparatus pump panel that controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.
  2. Disconnect the nozzle from the hoseline.
  3. Connect the female coupling of the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the male coupling at the end of the initial hoseline.
  4. Connect the nozzle to the male coupling at the end of the hoseline.
  5. Flake out the additional length/lengths of hoseline so that they will advance effectively without kinks.
  6. Charge the hoseline by opening the control valve at the apparatus pump panel that controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.

To extend the length of a hoseline at the apparatus end of the hoseline by shutting down the hoseline at the apparatus pump panel, firefighters should do the following:

  1. Shut down the hoseline by closing the control valve that controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.
  2. Disconnect the female coupling on the length of the hoseline connected to the apparatus discharge outlet.
  3. Connect the female coupling on the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the apparatus discharge outlet and the male coupling on the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the female coupling on the last length of the hoseline that was pulled from the apparatus hosebed.
  4. Flake out the additional length/lengths of hoselines so that they will advance effectively without kinks.
  5. Charge the hoseline by opening the control valve at the apparatus pump panel; this controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.

The operation to extend the length of a preconnected hoseline at the apparatus end of the hoseline can differ from a nonpreconnected hoseline because of the location of the apparatus discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected. In the case of nonpreconnected hoselines, the hoseline is connected to an easily accessible apparatus discharge outlet on the side or rear of the apparatus.

Preconnected hoselines are typically connected to an apparatus discharge outlet inside the apparatus hosebed accessible only by a firefighter standing on top of the apparatus in the hosebed. Because these discharge outlets are usually inside the apparatus hosebed, the operation to extend the length of a preconnected hoseline at the apparatus end differs for a nonpreconnected hoseline. To extend the length of a preconnected hoseline to a discharge outlet inside the apparatus hosebed from the apparatus end of the hoseline by shutting down the hoseline at the pump panel, firefighters should do the following:

  1. Shut down the hoseline by closing the control valve at the apparatus pump panel that controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.
  2. Disconnect the male coupling on the last length of the preconnected hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed from the female coupling of the next-to-last length of the preconnected hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed; this connection is located 50 feet away from the apparatus.
  3. Connect the female coupling of the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the male coupling of the last length of the preconnected hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed and the male coupling of the additional length/lengths of hoseline to the female coupling of the next-to-last length of the preconnected hoseline pulled from the apparatus hosebed.
  4. Flake out the additional length/lengths of hoseline so they will advance effectively without kinks.
  5. Charge the hoseline by opening the control valve at the apparatus pump panel that controls the discharge outlet to which the hoseline is connected.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will be posted tomorrow, August 22.

 

Anthony Rowett Jr. is a captain with the Mobile (AL) Fire Rescue Department. He was previously a firefighter for the Ogdensburg (NJ) Fire Department. Rowett has an associate’s degree in fire science technology from the County College of Morris in New Jersey and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fire science and emergency services management, respectively, from Columbia Southern University.