STANDPIPE SYSTEM OPERATIONS: THE STANDPIPE KIT

STANDPIPE SYSTEM OPERATIONS: THE STANDPIPE KIT

BY ANDREW A. FREDERICKS

With the many problems inherent in operating from a building`s standpipe system, a properly equipped standpipe kit will go a long way in making a difficult job less stressful. By planning in advance, you can assemble a standpipe kit that will ensure that the necessary fittings, adapters, wrenches, and other tools are readily available at the standpipe outlet selected for use. In addition to the standpipe kit that facilitates handline operations, a second kit can be assembled for the engine company chauffeur. This second standpipe kit can prove invaluable when a siamese connection poses difficulty or a standpipe system must be supplied through a lower floor hose outlet. Let`s examine these standpipe kits, the various causes of standpipe water supply problems, and the critical role the engine company chauffeur plays in troubleshooting these problems. In “Standpipe System Operations: Engine Company Basics” (Fire Engineering, February 1996, p. 33),1 I listed some of the tools and equipment carried in a typical Fire Department of New York (FDNY) standpipe kit. Now we will discuss each item in the kit and how to overcome various difficulties at the standpipe outlet.

The only way to know which specific problems exist in your jurisdiction is to get out and look at standpipe systems. Determine the type of system (Class I, II, or III) as well as its flow and pressure capabilities. Pay particular attention to the type and condition of the valve outlet threads and any indication that foreign objects may be in the riser or piping due to vandalism or malicious mischief. Try to get a general sense of the condition of the system and examine maintenance and test records. Walk the stairs, and check valve stems to ensure all valves are in the closed position. Measure the distance from each standpipe outlet to the farthest room in the most remote apartment or office area. Measure from the outlet on the floor below and from two floors below. A utility rope is excellent for this task. Scissor stairs should be properly identified at each floor landing on both the inside and outside of the stairway door. The siamese connection(s) must also be checked, as well as the fire pump and/or gravity tank. Verify the serviceable condition of nearby fire hydrants. If you perform these inspections on a regular basis, there will be fewer surprises during operations.

THE HANDLINE STANDPIPE KIT

Selecting Wrenches

Every standpipe kit should include a pair of spanner wrenches. Aluminum spanners are very light and easy to carry. They are useful for tightening hose butts and will provide sufficient leverage to loosen most caps and reducer fittings. When more leverage is necessary, a pipe wrench provides the solution. A pipe wrench is also useful when the control wheel is missing–particularly with a tight valve stem or one that is stripped, negating the use of a replacement wheel. Even when the control wheel is present, the pipe wrench may prove handy. The wrench can be attached to the spokes of the wheel to gain more leverage.

There are several considerations when selecting a pipe wrench for the standpipe kit. First, it must be a true pipe wrench (with serrated jaws–sometimes referred to as a stillson wrench), not a “monkey” wrench. Second, aluminum construction will provide a significant weight savings over traditional steel. Third and most importantly, ensure that the wrench is a minimum of 18 inches in length. If it is not at least 18 inches long, the jaws will not open wide enough to get a “bite” on stuck caps, reducer fittings, and pressure-restricting devices. A 20-inch wrench is better and ensures a clear jaw opening greater than 212 inches. If the 20-inch pipe wrench is too long to fit inside the standpipe kit bag, cut two inches off the end of the handle. You can also carry a short length of aluminum pipe (about 12 to 14 inches) and use it as a “breaker” bar. You can gain additional leverage by slipping the pipe over the handle of the wrench.

Vise grip or channel lock pliers do not provide as much leverage as a pipe wrench but may provide another option, especially when the outlet valve is located close to a wall or behind a door and the clearance is tight. Some engine companies fabricate a wrench with prongs that can be inserted between the spokes of the control wheel. (A photo of one such wrench appeared on page 38 of my February 1996 article cited above.)

According to FDNY Engine Company 36, engine companies in Harlem have had success using an oil filter wrench to remove stuck caps. Simply take a cap to your local automotive parts store, and select an oil filter wrench with the proper fit. A plumber`s strap wrench might also be an option.

A common reason for stuck caps is the use of dissimilar metals–most often aluminum replacement caps on brass outlet threads. In some instances, plastic caps are used, and engine companies in the south Bronx have found these caps attached with epoxy to prevent their theft. I have been told that the oil filter wrench will free some caps stuck or glued in place, but if the caps cannot be removed, only three options exist: (1) remove the threaded pipe nipple from the outlet valve body, and replace it with an adapter (this is discussed in the next paragraph); (2) hand-stretch a line up the stairs, if feasible; or (3) improvise a standpipe riser by stretching hose on the outside of the building. A seventh-floor fire on Roosevelt Island in New York City was extinguished by connecting the lengths of standpipe hose from two engine companies, lowering the hose out a sixth-floor window to the street, and then connecting it to hose from the supply pumper. Options two and three are usually limited due to time constraints, logistical considerations, and available personnel.

Thread Adapters

The next items to include in your kit are adapters, in case you encounter incompatible threads. Even if your community has only a handful of standpipe-equipped buildings, at the very least you should carry a female National Pipe Thread (NPT) to male local fire hose thread adapter in the standpipe kit. This adapter (actually just a pipe nipple or hose rack nipple) is traditionally constructed of brass and is rather heavy. It can be purchased in anodized aluminum and, in addition to being lighter in weight, is considerably smaller than the traditional brass nipple. One caution: At a glance, this particular thread adapter is easily confused with a 212-inch double male fitting (see photo on page 84). Color-coding the thread adapter to avoid a mix-up is a good idea.

Why is this particular adapter necessary? Male outlet threads may be missing due to vandalism, or perhaps they haven`t been installed yet on the upper floors of that new office building downtown. Another problem is that a cap may be glued in place or a fitting may prove to be so tight that when you apply force to remove it, the pipe nipple unthreads from the valve body with the cap or fitting still attached. Another pipe nipple must be immediately available as a replacement.

Other adapters may be needed as well. There always exists the possibility that the male threads on the outlet valve are not compatible with local fire department hose threads. Especially if your fire department has its own hose threads (New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and several other cities) or uses thread other than National Standard Hose Thread (NHT or NST), problems are likely to crop up at some point. In New York City, these problems have been more pronounced in buildings constructed under the auspices of the state and federal governments, which bypass New York`s building code. To cope with incompatible threads, you must conduct preincident planning and seek input from field units regarding their problems at standpipe operations. Of course, you should demand remedies from the building owner/manager anytime you discover a problem, but carrying a thread adapter or two can save valuable time in the heat of battle. Consider color-coding each additional thread adapter to help reduce confusion on the fireground.

Additional Equipment

The next most important piece of equipment is the 212-inch by 212-inch in-line pressure gauge. Discussed extensively by John Grasso in “The In-Line Gauge” (Fire Engineering, February 1996), the type selected should be sturdily constructed, and the gauge itself should be large enough to be read easily and be suitably protected to prevent damage. Preset pressures based on two, three, four, and even five lengths of hose can be marked on the face of the gauge to ensure accurate nozzle pressures. Before attaching the gauge, remember to flush the system through the outlet to remove scale, rust, and any entrapped garbage and debris. Flushing through the standpipe outlet valve, just as hydrants are routinely flushed before hooking up, should be SOP.

The next piece of equipment is a nozzle. Even if a nozzle is preconnected to a length of hose, a second nozzle should be readily available in the standpipe kit. Nozzles have been known to break or clog at critical moments, and having another nozzle within a floor or two of the operation will save valuable time–and maybe lives. The nozzle in the standpipe kit should be identical to the nozzle preconnected to the hose and should be inspected with the same frequency as other nozzles carried on the engine. Hidden in the standpipe kit, this important nozzle is easily overlooked.

The need for solid bore tips and 212-inch handlines at standpipe operations is critical for firefighter safety. I have discussed this issue extensively in previous articles, so I will not belabor the point here. Each 212-inch nozzle should be equipped with a large (118-inch or 114-inch) main stream tip capable of at least a 250-gpm flow with proper pressure. In addition, a 12-inch “outer stream” or overhaul tip should be carried with the spare nozzle in the standpipe kit or in a turnout coat pocket. Should outlet pressures be critically low, the additional velocity pressure developed by the smaller tip may provide enough reach and penetration to allow ladder company personnel to reach and close the fire apartment door, save a civilian trapped in the hallway, or protect nozzle team members as they retreat to the safety of the stairway. In essence, the handline becomes a “super can,” as it will produce a flow of only about 50 gpm at a 50-psi tip pressure–less if pressures are lower. Restrict the use of the smaller tip to emergency situations, and never use it as the standard attack tip.

Should it become necessary to extend a 212-inch handline without shutting the line down at the outlet valve, you should carry a 112-inch by 212-inch increaser in the kit. This allows you to add hose at the 212-inch nozzle shutoff simply by unscrewing the tip and attaching the increaser. You can then attach the spare nozzle from the standpipe kit (or from another engine company) to the new section(s) of hose and resume the fire attack. Always be sure to secure or protect the bail of the nozzle to which the extra hose is attached to prevent accidental closure.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department devised a rather ingenious solution to the problem of extending handlines and the need to find and attach another nozzle. While I disagree with the use of fog tips during standpipe operations, the LA nozzle features a dual shutoff. A standard ball shutoff is provided, but the low-pressure fog tip is itself a rotary controlled nozzle. The fog tip is removed, additional hose is connected to the ball shutoff, and the fog tip is reattached to the end of the new hose and the fire attack continued.

Another important item to carry as part of the standpipe kit is a wire brush. When threads are covered with dirt, paint, or sprayed-on insulation, a wire brush will be necessary to clean the threads and permit attachment of the in-line pressure gauge. Every standpipe kit should also include several door chocks and perhaps a latch strap or two. Many standpipe kits also include replacement hand wheels for attachment to the valve stem when the regular wheel is missing. There is nothing wrong with carrying spare hand wheels, but damaged valve stems, the many different sizes and shapes of valve stems, and the difficulty in holding the replacement wheel in place and/or developing enough force to open the valve with it, make the pipe wrench the better choice.

A final consideration in organizing the standpipe kit is protecting any exposed male threads from damage. Damaged threads on a fitting or adapter are as dangerous as not having the proper fitting or adapter at all. Although some fittings and adapters can be connected as a means of protecting the male threads, others cannot. Two simple solutions exist in this latter case. The first is to attach a plastic “blind” cap. Plastic caps are lightweight and, unlike metallic caps, there is no possibility of an oxidation reaction. A second solution is to wrap any exposed male threads with a piece of bicycle inner tube cut to size.

Transporting the Kit

Some departments attempt to carry their wrenches and adapters inside the same bag as the hose, but I suggest utilizing a separate bag. Although I have seen tool boxes (both metal and plastic) used as carriers for standpipe kits, a durable, soft-sided bag is better. In FDNY, tool bags for carrying the standpipe kits are issued to each engine company. These bags are available at most hardware stores. Some engine companies use old mail sacks. Bags are also available from various fire equipment manufacturers. It is very important to attach a shoulder strap to the bag. This will allow the firefighter assigned to the kit to keep one hand free, even if he is also carrying hose or other equipment.

THE CHAUFFEUR STANDPIPE KIT

The chauffeur standpipe kit was born of necessity–specifically to meet the need of having various fittings and wrenches close at hand when supplying a standpipe system through a lower-floor hose outlet. The following example illustrates its importance.

In FDNY, SOPs require that standpipe and sprinkler systems be supplied with 312-inch hose. The 312-inch hose used by FDNY has three-inch couplings and is normally loaded with the male coupling on top. With all siamese connections in New York City required to have three-inch swivels, the 312-inch hose can be immediately made up to the connection. Difficulties are encountered, however, when it is necessary to supply a standpipe system through a first- or second-floor hose outlet, which might be necessary because of a damaged or vandalized siamese connection or the need to reinforce augmentation with an additional supply line. Since standpipe hose outlets consist of 212-inch male threads, making up a connection between the male three-inch coupling on the supply hose and the male 212-inch threads on the outlet requires both a sound knowledge of fittings and a means of ensuring that they are readily available when needed–hence, the chauffeur standpipe kit. Before I explain which specific fittings you should carry in the kit to solve this problem, a review of some basic rules governing the use of fittings is in order.

Proper Use of Fittings

Solving any problem involving fittings is a three-step process that can be summed up as follows: SEX-SIZE-SOLID to SOLID. Same-sex couplings that must be connected (male to male or female to female) should be handled first. Very simply, the use of a double male or double female fitting will be required. The second step is to solve any existing size problem. Size problems are handled by employing reducers and increasers. All firefighters should be able to differentiate between thread sizes by a visual examination and by touch–with firefighting gloves on. While 112-inch and 212-inch threads are easily distinguished, the differences between 112-inch and two-inch threads or 212-inch and three-inch threads are more subtle and require training for prompt recognition. The third and final step is to thread any solid fitting (reducer or increaser) onto the solid (male) coupling. Once the solid fitting is connected to the solid coupling, then the female swivel can be made up.

So let`s return to the problem involving the male 212-inch outlet and the male three-inch coupling. First, the sex problem is handled by use of a 212-inch double female. Next, the size problem is overcome by use of a three-inch to 212-inch reducer. This fitting is then threaded onto the three-inch male end of the supply hose (solid to solid). The reducer is then attached to the double female, and the connection is complete. An alternate method of solving this problem is to utilize a three-inch double female on the hose and then connect a 212-inch by three-inch increaser to the outlet. While either way is acceptable, the key is to carry the required fittings in the chauffeur standpipe kit. In addition to various fittings, the same thread adapters and wrenches carried in the handline standpipe kit should be included as part of the chauffeur`s kit. A wire brush and door chocks are also necessary. A durable canvas bag or sack is ideal for carrying the equipment, and a shoulder strap should be provided.

Additional Equipment

Even when a siamese connection is used for supplying a standpipe (or sprinkler) system, items can be added to the chauffeur standpipe kit to help overcome various problems. The first additional tool is a male blind cap, which can be important if it becomes necessary to plug one side of an uncapped siamese connection with a malfunctioning clapper valve. Including oversize spanner wrenches or hydrant wrenches that incorporate pin lug spanners is another good idea. When you encounter a tight cap, the large spanners and/or hydrant wrenches will provide much more leverage than standard spanners. The handles on these wrenches also make excellent probes and may facilitate removal of garbage and debris without the risks associated with placing your fingers or hand inside the connection. Including both a double male and double female fitting will permit rapid connection of the supply hose even when the female swivels on the siamese connection are “frozen” and will not turn. The biggest issue now becomes the weight of the kit, so some of the items used less frequently may have to be carried elsewhere. A flashlight or hand light should be readily available for locating hidden connections, determining what type of system the connection supplies, and examining the position and condition of the clapper valves.

SUPPLY VIA A LOWER-FLOOR OUTLET

When attempting to augment supply to a wet pipe standpipe system via a lower-floor hose outlet, keep several considerations in mind. The first is the additional hose needed to reach the outlet. Depending on the distance, obstacles such as doors and fences and the weight of the hose employed can cause considerable delay in establishing augmentation. Second, the question of whether it is possible to augment the system through a lower-floor hose outlet must be answered. The presence of pressure-regulating devices may delay or even preclude augmentation altogether. Although pressure-restricting devices can be removed and pressure-restricting valves can be defeated, pressure-reducing hose outlet valves cannot be “backfed,” negating their use for augmentation. A third issue concerns when the hose outlet valve should be opened. It is very important not to open the valve prematurely. Communication between the firefighter responsible for opening the valve (oftentimes the second- or third-due engine chauffeur) and the first-due engine chauffeur is vital. After flushing the system through the outlet and connecting the hose, opening the valve must be timed with the chauffeur`s readiness to supply water. The chauffeur must be properly connected to a hydrant and the supply hose attached to a discharge outlet. If the nozzle team has started its attack on the fire using gravity tank pressure, opening a lower-floor hose valve will reduce the nozzle pressure and the volume of water being applied on the fire. Any reduction in water pressure could compromise the safety of the nozzle team and firefighters performing search operations. Timing the valve opening will permit augmentation to begin smoothly with little impact on nozzle pressures. In departments with inadequate staffing, the first-due pump operator may be completing these tasks alone, in which case the nozzle team should be informed that alternative augmentation tactics are required and that there may be a temporary drop in n

CAUSES OF PRESSURE PROBLEMS

Often, poor nozzle pressure at standpipe operations is caused by kinks in the handline. Charging a 212-inch handline within the narrow confines of a stairway enclosure inevitably leads to kinks but is sometimes necessary for the safety of the nozzle team.

Another cause is an insufficiently opened outlet valve. If the outlet valve is opened while the nozzle is still closed (static condition), the hose will feel rigid, and the in-line gauge will show what appears to be adequate pressure. Once the nozzle is opened, however, the pressure will drop, and a poor fire stream will result. The firefighter assigned to open and adjust the outlet valve must remain at his position until the nozzle is fully opened, making adjustments as necessary. Always be certain to remove any pressure-restricting device or to ensure that the pin limiting travel of a pressure-restricting valve is removed.

A third possible reason for inadequate nozzle pressure is a partially or wholly closed outside screw and yoke (OS&Y) or post indicator valve (PIV). PIV and OS&Y valves are employed in standpipe systems as zone or section valves. They are used to isolate portions of risers, individual risers, or even entire building standpipe systems to facilitate maintenance activities. If a closed control valve is not to blame, have a firefighter check to see if the pipe from the siamese connection is attached to the standpipe riser. On more than one occasion, an engine chauffeur has filled a basement with water as a result of a broken or detached pipe from the siamese connection.

Another potential problem involves manual dry pipe standpipe systems. In areas with rampant vandalism, large numbers of open hose outlet valves will steal valuable pressure from the handline operating on the fire. These valves will have to be closed, and a team of firefighters should be dedicated to this task. A similar problem can exist in buildings under construction or, worse, when the top of the riser being supplied has not been properly capped and water will be pumped out the top. A deputy chief from the Utica (NY) Fire Department told me of a building in which the standpipe riser has been cut in half by vandals. The department`s method of bypassing the standpipe system consists of placing an aerial ladder or elevating platform at a window one floor below the fire, substituting the waterway on the aerial or platform for a standpipe riser. Remember, anytime an aerial ladder, elevating platform, or tower ladder is used in this fashion and the fire is on or below the tenth floor, ensure that at least one other aerial device is available for firefighter rescue.

TROUBLESHOOTING

The engine company chauffeur plays perhaps the most important role in troubleshooting supply and augmentation problems during standpipe operations. Besides securing a reliable source of water from a nearby hydrant, he must ensure that an adequate volume of water at proper pressure reaches the operating nozzle. One valuable tool to help with this mission is the flowmeter–yes, the delicate, misunderstood, and still far-from-perfect flowmeter. My experience with flowmeters is that many fires are extinguished so quickly that the flowmeter never enters the picture as a means of ensuring that sufficient gallons per minute are being delivered. Another issue concerns a lack of maintenance and recalibration, which makes the flowmeter suspect and hence forgotten even when its use would benefit operations. Still other problems relate to the design of the instrument and its often fragile construction, which may contribute to breakage under the heavy wear and tear placed on many engine apparatus. Still, despite their flaws, flowmeters should not be ignored and, when properly and regularly calibrated, can be a tremendous asset during standpipe operations.

Let`s examine two situations where monitoring both the discharge pressure gauge and flowmeter can provide clues as to what type of standpipe supply problem exists. In the first situation, the nozzle team indicates poor nozzle pressure or no stream at all and states that the outlet valve is fully open, there is no pressure-regulating device involved, and kinks are not the problem. If the pump pressure has been increased to a point at or above the required discharge pressure and the nozzle team has verified the nozzle is fully open, observe the flowmeter. If the flowmeter shows a very low flow or indicates a zero flow condition, a partially or completely closed zone or section valve is most likely the culprit. Firefighters must be dispatched to locate and open the offending valve. OS&Y valves are most often found in stairways, usually at ceiling level. A “suitcase” or A-frame ladder may be required to reach the valve. The valve may be in the basement or cellar, so check this location as well. In the case of a PIV, it will be found outside in close proximity to the building. The presence of a freestanding siamese connection located some distance from the building hints that PIVs are used as zone valves.

In the second situation, the nozzle team again has poor nozzle pressure and kinks, or problems with the outlet valve are ruled out as the cause. This time, however, the engine chauffeur notes a drop in discharge pressure and a rather large reading on the flowmeter, perhaps well above the 250-gpm discharge typical of 212-inch hose. In this case, a closed valve is not the issue but, rather, open valves. In the case of nonautomatic dry standpipes, open outlet valves on intermediate floors will rob valuable pressure and volume from the operating nozzle and will have to be closed. The riser itself may be damaged or cut as described above, negating its use and forcing companies to utilize other risers or alternative supply procedures. If another riser is utilized and the risers are interconnected, it will be necessary to close a zone valve to isolate the broken riser and allow development of proper nozzle pressures. A broken or detached pipe from the siamese connection may result in a flowmeter reading of 1,000 gpm or more. In this situation, augmentation will have to be performed using lower-floor hose outlets. No matter what the specific water supply problem, the engine company chauffeur plays a key role in identifying the problem and helping to overcome it.

CHAUFFEUR SAFETY

Wearing turnout gear and a helmet is a good idea for the engine company chauffeur when operating in the street below an upper-floor fire. In some cases, even this is not enough to prevent injury. About three years ago, an engine company chauffeur at a multiple-alarm fire in Manhattan was struck by a piece of falling glass while checking a siamese connection. The glass sliced through his turnout coat and lodged in his back, partially severing his spinal cord. He retired on disability and remains partially paralyzed. Glass shards falling from the upper floors of a high-rise building have been known to travel great distances horizontally, widely expanding the danger zone and the risks posed to firefighters in the street. Heavy chunks of glass, besides slicing hoselines like soft butter, have become embedded in apparatus roofs and paved surfaces, creating further hazards.

In addition to falling glass and debris, engine chauffeurs should respect the high pump pressures sometimes required at standpipe operations. Supply lines should always be attached to the officer`s side of the engine or at the rear to prevent injury to the chauffeur in case of failure. Expect burst lengths from time to time, and have a contingency plan. Be aware of the difficulty in hearing radio transmissions when pump rpms are high. A headset-type radio is a good idea. Remember the high static pressure that will build in the hoseline when a nozzle is closed at an upper-floor fire. It may be better to keep the nozzle cracked opened use apparatus relief devices.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Standpipe operations are, more than most other firefighting operations, governed by Murphy`s Law. Just about anything that can go wrong will–and usually at the worst possible moment. At one Bronx fire, the nozzle tip became clogged with a crack pipe. At another fire, a building`s hot water system was tied to the standpipe riser, and scalding water discharged from the hose outlets. Failure to remove a pressure-restricting device at a “project” fire reduced the nozzle pressure and caused burns to a nozzle team. The list goes on and on. Planning for standpipe operations means anticipating what can go wrong and preparing for it. Preparation includes familiarizing yourself with local standpipe systems, conducting regular drills and training, and using well-equipped standpipe kits. n

Endnote

1. For further reference, see “Return of the Solid Stream” (Fire Engineering, September 1995, p. 44-56), “Standpipe System Operations: Engine Company Basics” (Fire Engineering, February 1996, pp. 33-42), and “The 212-Inch Handline” (Fire Engineering, December 1996, pp. 36-49).


This is FDNY Squad Company 18`s second standpipe kit, dedicated for use by the squad (engine) company chauffeur. The kit contains two spanner wrenches, oversize spanner wrenches (not pictured), an 18-inch pipe wrench, a female NPT (National Pipe Thread) to male FDNY thread adapter, a male NST (National Standard Thread) to male FDNY thread adapter, a three-inch male blind cap, a 212-inch double female fitting, a three-inch to 212-inch reducer fitting, a wire brush, and a flashlight. The chauffeur standpipe kit is invaluable when you encounter problems with a siamese connection or when you must supply a standpipe system through a lower-floor hose outlet. (Photos by author unless otherwise noted.)


Here a standpipe system is being supplied through a first-floor hose outlet. This procedure may be necessary because of a damaged or vandalized siamese connection or to reinforce augmentation with an additional supply line. Anticipate what fittings, adapters, wrenches, and other tools might be required for this operation, and carry them in a second standpipe kit dedicated for use by the engine company chauffeur.


Sometimes the female swivels on a siamese connection are “frozen” because of paint or trapped dirt. If you cannot free them, you can improvise a swivel by attaching a double male fitting followed by a double female. Here the fittings are preconnected to the hose used to supply standpipe and sprinkler systems, eliminating a desperate search for them at that 3 a.m. fire.





(Top left) In this photo, an oversize spanner wrench is being used in conjunction with a combination hydrant/spanner wrench to free a tight cap. Note the missing pin lug from the cap on the left. If both pin lugs are sheared off, a pipe wrench will be needed to remove the cap. Include in the chauffeur standpipe kit a set of wrenches to handle problems at the siamese connection. (Photo by Jerry Tracy.) (Top right) On the left is a brass pipe or hose rack nipple used to connect the female NPT threads of the hose outlet valve with occupant use hose installed on the rack. When male outlet threads are missing as a result of vandalism or because they haven`t been installed yet, or when they unthread during attempts to remove a stuck cap, reducer fitting, or pressure-restricting device, new male threads must be available to make the standpipe hookup. Carrying a hose rack nipple in the standpipe kit provides the solution. In the center is a lightweight version of the same adapter. Note how it might be confused with the 212-inch double-male fitting on the right. Color-coding the adapter is a good idea. (Bottom left) If you must extend a 212-inch handline quickly without shutting the line down at the hose outlet, a 112-inch by 212-inch increaser provides the answer. Simply remove the nozzle tip, attach the adapter, and add lengths of hose as necessary. The spare nozzle carried in the standpipe kit or a nozzle from another engine company is then attached to the new section(s) of hose. (Bottom right) This is a 118-inch nozzle tip clogged by a primitive crack pipe during a standpipe operation. It speaks both for the importance of flushing the riser at the outlet valve before connecting the handline and for carrying a spare nozzle in the standpipe kit.

n ANDREW A. FREDERICKS, a 19-year veteran of the fire service, is a firefighter with Squad 18 in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). He is a New York state-certified fire instructor at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in Pomona, New York, and an adjunct instructor at the New York State Academy of Fire Science. He has two bachelor`s degrees, one in political science and one in public safety, with a specialization in fire science, and a master`s degree in fire protection management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He developed the Fire Engineering “Bread and Butter” Operations videos Advancing the Initial Attack Handline (1997), Stretching the Initial Attack Handline (1998), and the forthcoming Methods of Structure Fire Attack (1999).

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