By Carl Meyer
Many factors may affect the hose stretch at a high-rise fire. They include location of the fire apartment in relation to the attack stairway, hose cabinets on the floor below vs. standpipe connections that are in the stairway, location of stairway-installed standpipe connections whether they are on a half-stair below or the full floor below, and two-story apartments that may have access stairs. Preplans give us invaluable intelligence regarding the strategy and tactics to use in a fire. The high-rise hose stretch training kit is useful in gathering this intelligence.
The Training Site
Have you tried to get permission to enter a beautiful high-rise and stretch dirty hose up a stairway and down the hall for training purposes? You’re probably not going to get it. It’s probably not the best idea anyway. The potential mess that could occur would certainly not do much for public relations, and a return invitation would probably not be forthcoming.
The best place to practice this type of stretch is at a standpipe-equipped parking garage. There are no worries about leaving a mess and, many times, there’s a good possibility that you can connect to the fire department connection (FDC) and flow water. Home run! Just remember to get permission first.
What do you do when you really want to get in a building and figure hose stretch routes and distances? You could bring your cleanest hose, pad the couplings, and take great care not to drag the hose against walls or around corners so you do not scuff the paint or the floors. This would be a waste of much effort and thought.
You could use a measuring tape or wheel, but this method wouldn’t give you the realistic feel of stretching hose. You can also use search ropes. Our search ropes are set up with distance knots, another good way to measure the distance of hose stretches. But again, you really don’t get the feel of stretching hose.
Horry (SC) Fire Rescue came up with a simple, inexpensive, and somewhat more realistic solution. Our members carry a kit that contains four 50-foot sections of rope equipped with rings and clips at each end to simulate coupled sections of hose. This kit also contains a 2½-inch cap equipped with a ring and some wooden door chocks. This allows us to screw the cap onto the appropriate standpipe connection, connect the sections of rope, and stretch. Included in the kit also is a plastic nozzle equipped with a ring to indicate the nozzle section.
Our company uses the Denver Load for our high-rise hose packs, so we can also train using the correct drop points for tenable and untenable hallways. This setup allows for a quick and nonevasive drill that clearly illustrates the amount of hose needed in just about any situation you may encounter. This method is not limited to high-rises. It’s great for estimating stretches at any type of occupancy such as garden apartments, shopping malls, strip malls, and single-family dwellings with large setbacks. You are limited only by your imagination.
Keep this bag on the rig so that you can quickly access it and use it in a minute’s notice. We’ve taken this bag out after investigating a fire alarm or handling a medical call for a quick drill. You can vary the number of 50-foot sections of rope in the bag according to your company’s needs. The kit facilitates a quick drill that can be done on the fly. Give it a shot.
Carl Meyer, a lieutenant with Horry County (SC) Fire Rescue, has more than 35 years in the fire service. He is a former 2nd deputy chief instructor at the Nassau County (NY) Fire Service Academy and a former chief of the Seaford (NY) Fire Department.