Light Line to Handle and Unlimited Water Supply When Attacking Small Fires Help to Lessen Damage

Some six years ago, in conversation with the late Chief McLeod of Port Arthur, in the use of chemicals at fires, he advised me at that time to try out l 1/2-inch hose, as he was using it in his department. I found it worked a hundred per cent on fires of not too great proportion. Shortly after that time I equipped the pumper that was to answer nrst alarms, with one hundred-and-fifty feet of 1 1/2-inch hose with shut-off-nozzle attached. I then had a reducer made, at one of our local machine shops, from 2 1/2 inches to 1 1/2 inches; with a swivel on the 2 1/2-inch end. This is carried on the running-board of the truck where it is always readily accessible when it is needed.

The following orders were then given the officers of the department; Upon arrival at the scene of the fire, if the fire was not too far advanced, the first line laid was a 2 1/2-inch from hydrant to curb. It was then up to the officer in charge to estimate as to what extent the blaze had progressed. If it was the opinion of the officer that the fire could be handled by the small line, the 1 1/2-inch was connected at the curb to the 2 1/2-inch; and the signal given for water. If we find that we have not a sufficient amount of water, it is only a moment’s work to disconnect your 1 1/2-inch from the 2 1/2-inch line, and connect the nozzle to the 2 1/2-inch line. Because you have your 2 1/2-inch line, with plenty of slack, already at the curb.

On my second pumper I carry the same amount of 1 1/2inch and shut-off-nozzle with 1/2-inch tip. But in this instance the first line laid to the curb is a 2 1/2-inch with nozzle attached. While this 2 1/2-inch line is being stretched, the 1 1/2-inch line is being laid out from curb to building; and ready to be connected to the 2 1/2-inch line, by taking off the tip of the shut-off-nozzle on the 2 1/2-inch, and using a connection we have, from 1 1/2-inch to the thread size in this shut-off-nozzle. In this case the water can be controlled by the shut-off at the curb.

Advantage for Small Departments

I would say the 1 1/2-inch hose is a big advantage in small departments, as it takes less men to handle it than the 2 1/2inch line. We will say for instance you have a roof fire, caused by wooden shingles, which most of us have still to contend with. The fire has worked its way through the sheeting, and into the attic. In this case you lay out your 2 1/2-inch line; and we will presume your ladder is already raised to the roof. In many instances, just as your men start up the ladder, the hydrant man turns on the water; and we all know’ that it is not a very easy task to take a charged line up a ladder, especially when you have not sufficient men. On the other hand your 2 1/2-inch line is laid to the curb, you can connect your 1 1/2-inch line: and one man can run up with this line without much difficulty.

Another instance for argument’s sake! We will say a fire occurs on the third floor of a high class building in the residential section of your town or city. By the time the Fire Department has arrived on the scene, the fire has enveloped a couple of rooms. In many residences the third floor is finished to perfection the same as the other floors. As you ascend the stairway to the location of the fire, after viewing it, you are not just sure if your chemical (which is usually thirty-three gallons, if you should so happen to have this equipment attached to your truck”) would be sufficient to cope with this fire. Then you may have a Booster tank with an eighty or a hundred gallon capacity on your apparatus. But when that is exhausted, you have to lay a line from your hydrant to keep your tank going, or get some other means of keeping it filled up. Then we all hate to drag a 254-inch line over a highly polished floor, and up a couple of flights of highly polished stairs with beautiful balusters. In many instances the 254-inch couplings may be not just tight: and then there is the old pin-lug catching and doing damage that is unwarranted. On the other hand you have your 254inch line to the street, with your 154-inch connected at the curb; and a couple of men can pick up this line, and get in to the scene of the fire. If the fire is not too far advanced— w’e will say confined to a couple of rooms—T have found it could be extinguished very quickly with the use of the 154inch line.

Advantage of Light Line to Handle

My argument is that you have an unlimited supply of water at your command, you have a light line to handle, so that you can move trom one position to another much easier than you can with a heavy line. I would also say that you have a line that is tar superior to a chemical line, a line from your Booster tank; or a 254-inch lino, providing your fire is not advanced too far. If you find your fire is getting the best of you, it is only a moments work to disconnect at the curb, and run up with your 2| j; but if proper judgment is used at the start, this will seldom happen.

In comparison of the two methods of systems, the possibility of lost efficiency must be given serious consideration. It is an admitted fact that you have not the volume of water with an 15′-inch; but experience has taught me, that it is not the quantity of w’ater that counts so much, in certain fires. It is the manner and where it is placed that counts. 1 w’ould say the use of the small line would, no doubt, create an approved efficiency in small departments, in that it is much easier handled than a heavier line.

More Damage Caused by Wafer Than Fire

I have found in my years of experience, that in many instances more damage is caused by water than by actual fire. This, I claim, is another argument in favor of the small line; and I doubt very much if there is anyone, with any experience in fire fighting, who will not agree with me in this statement. In this paper I am only giving what 1 have found out from experience. But I firmly believe that any Chief that wants to try an 154-inch line in his department, will find out for himself, that it is just the thing for certain fires, that, as I have said before, are not too far advanced.

(Excerpts from a paper read before the annual convention of the Dominion Association at Peterborough, Ont.)

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