More Training Needed in Stretching Hose
The Volunteers Corner
STRETCHING HOSE is an evolution that is basically simple, but is frequently complicated by those first few minutes of fireground excitement.
The trouble is that we too often regard lining-in as excessively timetaking and laborious for drills. So we don’t practice enough. And then when you lay from fire to water source, one of your most ardent firemen stands on the rear step and pulls off several lengths of hose until he has a pile of spaghetti in the road.
Sure, several lengths of hose are off the truck in a hurry—but what can you do with it? The weight of the pile makes pulling the hose out from the bottom a tough, slow job. The result is that too many men wind up at the end of the line, where they eventually will do the least good. And the task of getting the line into position will take twice as long as it should.
On the other hand, let’s see how easily hose can be taken off an engine and laid on the ground in a deliberate, methodical manner that will get the hose where you want it in half the time.
The first man grabs the nozzle (if attached ) or end coupling with one hand and the second fold with the other hand. He then walks back about 25 feet and lays the hose on the ground. The second man grabs a fold in each hand (usually the second and fourth) and walks back to lay the hose on the ground.
This continues until enough working lengths are laid out. Then the pumper goes to the water source.
The hose should look like an accordion fold on the ground. It should be taken off the bed so that the folds are made in a direction away from the fire. That makes it possible for the nozzleman to walk toward the fire without stepping over hose or getting the line tangled by dragging folds across one another.
Meanwhile other men preparing to help move the line toward the fire can quickly see where to spot themselves either a half a length or a full length apart. How far apart the men should be on the line depends on how many men are available.
The usual difficulty is the tendency of men to gang up on the first length of hose. A good way to prove the futility of this is to lay out about 500 feet of 2 1/2inch hose in a drill and have six men try to move the line by hauling on the first length. Then have one man carry the nozzle and the others take positions at every second coupling. Even though this is far more hose than this number of men should have to move, they will be able to do so without much difficulty if they place a coupling on their chest, in the hollow of the shoulder, and put folds across the shoulder by walking into the hose. A full length can be carried on the shoulder.
The key to any hose-moving evolution is to keep men equally spaced on the line so that the burden is fairly even for each.
We all know that hose should never be dragged, but we have to be realistic. There are times when there just are not enough men for the job. But if the men keep well apart, the amount of hose dragged will be minimized.
When you move the hose toward the fire, get as much dry line as possible as close to the building as you can. Then when the line is charged and you have to advance it, you won’t have to haul line from a couple of hundred feet away. All the slack will be up where you can get it with the least effort.
This holds true for taking hose into buildings. Try to get as much dry line as you will eventually need as far as possible into the building or up the stairs. The weight you will drag after a 2)S-inch line has been charged will include slightly over 100 extra pounds of water.
There is an old rule of thumb for estimating how much hose to pull off a pumper. It is to allow one length of hose for each floor of the building plus an extra length in addition to the hose needed to reach from the truck to the building. This is for average buildings. If the building were unusually long, you would allow an extra length or more.
This hose need estimate is important because in areas where hydrants are far apart or where a static water source is some distance away, your judgment may mean the difference between making the water with one engine load or running out of hose just a length or two away.
When the hose load is finished with an open coupling, it is good practice to throw a hose clamp on the hose near the rear step before the pumper begins laying. Then you have time to put on the nozzle and get dry hose where you want it, even if the line is charged before you are ready to use water.