Mayday Monday: Follow the Hose

By Tony Carroll

Courtesy of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department

I hope everyone is having a good Monday!! This week’s edition builds on last week’s.

To review, last week we worked on using the hose couplings to determine our direction of travel. Think “Smooth Bump Bump to the Pump.” This is a basic skill but very important.

Back in April, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a report on a line-of-duty death from Michigan. Firefighters responded to a fire in a strip mall involving a restaurant/pool hall. During the search for the seat of the fire, the officer in charge of the hose team felt it was time to get out, and he directed the team to exit. Here is an excerpt from the report and a link:

“The hose team then decided to back out by following the hoseline and the nozzleman said he had communicated with the fire fighter and he was right behind him. However, when they got out, the fire fighter wasn’t with them.”   


To emphasize the importance of this skill, today’s drill is the same as last week’s but with a twist. Here’s the plan … while the member is following the hoseline out, the other firefighters will add obstacles. They can snag the exiting member with wire or rope and then “pile on” with a mattress. Or, they can add more hose to confuse the exiting firefighter.  All of these situations should necessitate a Mayday call, and the member should make it.

After you check out your SCBA, check the apparatus, and get your coffee—please look at the NIOSH report, and then stretch some hose and train. Remember, firefighter survival starts with the basics.

Until next Monday…have a good week!


Tony Carroll is a captain with the safety office of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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