Advancing a Charged Hoseline


1¾-inch and two-inch diameter hoselines are effective in residential firefighting because they flow sufficient water to rapidly control one or two rooms of fire and have the mobility to be easily advanced up stairs and around corners and furniture. Firefighters may encounter a problem when their hoseline must extinguish a first-floor fire before ascending to the second floor to stop any vertical extension. In this situation, there is no opportunity to “stretch dry” to the second floor or stair half-landing because the hoseline has already been charged and operated on the first floor. Advancing a charged hoseline up a stairway and operating it on the second floor usually requires three firefighters at minimum, who may not be immediately available if the first-due engine has a crew of three, including the driver-engineer: One is positioned at the base of the stairs to pull hose and feed it up the stairs; a second firefighter is at the top of the stairs to pull the hose up and then feed it to the nozzleman (the third firefighter) for the advance down the second-floor hallway. When only two firefighters are available to perform this operation, the following technique can be effective.

1. Photos by Kelly Marie Mason.

Photo 1. The nozzleman brings the charged hoseline nozzle-first into the stairway and positions himself at the bottom of the stairs to the second floor.


Photo 2. The nozzleman places the nozzle on the floor or first step at the base of the stairs.


Photo 3. The nozzle is placed on the floor (or first step), aiming downward, and the hose is pushed over itself so it is in front of the nozzle. The firefighter then secures the nozzle with his foot. This provides three-point contact: under the firefighter’s foot, against the wall, and on top of the step (or floor) at the base of the stairs.


Photo 4. After the firefighter has secured the nozzle with his foot, he pushes the available hose up the stairs. As the hose is pushed, it makes a loop that will advance available hose up the stairs.


Photo 5. Ensure the nozzle is against the wall opposite the direction from which the hoseline is coming—for example, the hose comes into the stairway from the firefighter’s left and he lets the hose come across his chest to be secured under foot to his right. This way, the hoseline will not have too much resistance as it makes the turn around any partition wall at the base of the stairs. This prevents a back injury and conserves the firefighter’s energy. The best way to remember this is to think that the hose needs to come across the chest of the nozzleman before being pushed up the stairs.


Photo 6. The nozzleman pushes the available hose up the stairs as far as it will go. He can push the hose in this manner because it is still charged and hard enough to hold its own weight. It should go up at least one flight and, in some situations, the hose may even go over the handrail to a second flight.


Photo 7. When the 1¾-inch hoseline cannot advance any farther up the stairs, the firefighter picks up the nozzle and carries it to the next floor or landing. With this technique, there will be available hose to advance the nozzle the length of the loop that was made from the hoseline below. If you cannot push the hoseline loop up and over the handrail to a second flight from the ground floor, perform this technique again from the midlanding of the stairs.

Thanks to Captain Bill Gustin, Miami-Dade (FL) Fire Rescue, for his assistance with this article.

JIM MASON is 21-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant with the Chicago (IL) Fire Department.

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