Hose Loads Can Be Adapted To Any Type of Stretch
The Volunteers Corner
It’s easy to get an argument started over whether hose should be packed for a straight lay or a reverse lay and the debaters will forget that regardless of which way the hose is packed, any good engine company should be proficient in stretching the same load either way.
More to the point, well-trained engine companies are able to lay hose in different ways to best meet the demands of various fireground conditions. All that is required is an adequate supply of double male and double female fittings and a little skill in improvisation.
The straight lay (A) and the reverse lay (B) are basic and one or the other—or both—are used in all the other hose lays. Which way should your hose be packed? Look at your records and the way you stretch hose most often—straight or reverse—should determine your choice of hose load.
A female coupling is the last one on top of a straight load and a male coupling is the last one atop a reverse load. With either load, it’s handy to attach a double male or female to the appropriate final coupling of the load. It’s easier to take a double coupling off and put it in your pocket when you don’t need it than it is to find one to put on. You also can keep double males on playpipes if that will be useful in your operations.
Good investment: Money spent on double male and double female couplings is well spent and sets of these couplings—both in 2 1/2 and 1 1/2-inch sizes along with a 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 reducer—should be on both the rear step and at the pump operator’s position. Another set in a compartment can come in handy from time to time.
Whenever possible, an engine stretching 2 1/2 or 3-inch hose should drop parallel lines. This will both save time and at least double the potential flow. You should consider the value of 4-inch hose in your operation and decide whether stretching a 4-inch line will do more to improve your operations.
In areas where hydrants are plentiful, the straight lay is frequently preferred. The first-in engine drops lines and a hydrant man at the last hydrant before the fire building and then continues to the far side of the fire, leaving the front of the building open for the first-due ladder company. The hydrant man gates one 2 1/2-inch outlet and then connects both lines. By keeping the hydrant gate closed, he can charge only one line when he opens the hydrant.
At this point, two choices are available. Direct hydrant streams can be used if the hydrant pressure is sufficient to take care of the friction loss in the lines and provide adequate nozzle pressure. If only one line is ordered charged, the hydrant man shuts the gate before opening the hydrant.
Inline pumping: The other choice is inline pumping (C). In this evolution, the pump operator charges the initial attack line—or lines—with booster tank water as he waits for water from the supply lines from the hydrant. When the need for water is obviously within the capacity of one line, the hydrant man can keep the hydrant gate closed as he opens the hydrant.
When a reverse lay (B) is made, the lines are dropped at the fire and the engine goes to the water source, which may be a hydrant or a drafting site. This is great for getting 2 1/2-inch lines on the fire quickly. On the other hand, a hose load can be finished off with a water thief or a gated wye to provide an initial attack option with an 1 1/2-inch line preconnected to the water thief or one side of the wye. A 2 1/2-inch line—two or three lengths—is also preconnected to either fitting.
The combination stretch (D) is useful when responding to industrial complexes, apartment house or condominium clusters, narrow dead-end streets and farm or estate driveways. The first-in engine drops parallel lines or a 4-inch line at the main road and proceeds to the fire. The second engine picks up the lay and stretches to the water source. With the use of double males or females, continuous parallel lines are established between water source and fire.
To be continued