Throw Back to Basics: Targeting and Line Deployment

By Brian Zaitz

It is absolutely critical for firefighters to be able to quickly and effectively deploy an attack line; this is a fundamental aspect of fireground success, and a skill you cannot drill on enough. Although pulling the line is a good drill, it can often become monotonous and is not very realistic. To improve the drill and incorporate the concept of “targeting” into the training, following is a company training drill that can be accomplished at any fire station.


The concept is simple: Pick your target and deploy your line efficiently and effectively to said target. The only requirements are a few traffic cones placed at varying distances from the apparatus. The cones’ placement should simulate that which is typically found for short, normal, and long stretches common to the first-due area of that specific company. Again, this improves the realism of the drill and challenges the crews in training scenarios, which will then correlate to success on the fireground. Have the firefighter ready to deploy the line, call out the cone (or “target”), and have them deploy the line.

With various methods to load hose, the deployment will be specific to the company. However, it should end with all hose inline or perpendicular to the target. This is a critical step because it reduces kinks and places all hose in line with the entrance, reducing initial bends in the line. Have the firefighter call for water and advance and flow the line. Once the line is flowing water, have the engineer chase “exterior” kinks, and have the officer follow in line, adding as much realism to the drill to improve its effectiveness.


Make the training a friendly competition in the station—the firefighter with the best time gets an ice cream on the officer, or maybe he gets out of doing house chores for the day; this will create a drive amongst the crew and build cohesion that will pay dividends on the fireground and in the fire station.


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Company training is the foundation for company success. Do something every day that improves your company’s performance and chances of survival at the next incident.

Download this training bulletin as a PDF HERE (3.8 MB)


Brian Zaitz Brian Zaitzis a 15-year student of the fire service and the Captain-Training Officer with the Metro West Fire Protection District. Zaitz is also an instructor with Engine House Training, LLC , an instructor at the St. Louis County Fire Academy, and the Board of Director with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. He has several degrees including an associates in paramedic technology, a bachelor’s in fire science management, and master’s in human resource development. Zaitz is also a credentialed chief training officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence as well as a student of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.


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