Throw Back to Basics: Securing the Bail

By Brian Zaitz

All of us have responded to a working structure fire where the preconnected line was simply not long enough. We have the option to deploy a feeder line—such as a 2½- or three-inch hose—and connect a gated wye or deploy a preconnect and connect additional sections of hose. This choice depends on fire conditions, future line needs for the fire, and department-specific standard operating procedures. No matter what your decision, an inline appliance will be in place in the form of either a gated wye or bail, and it must be secured in the open position.


Although simple, this task, like all others, must be practiced because the inefficient or inexperienced firefighter may secure the bail or wye only to find that a minor effort could easily close the line and render the line useless. This drill focuses on the knot (yes, just the knot).

When securing a bail or wye, tie an overhand knot on the appliance. When it is ready, open the appliance and secure with an additional overhand knot. Wrap the webbing around the male coupling below the hose connection point.


It is important to have the webbing against the coupling to ensure the webbing cannot slide freely up or down the line, potentially allowing the appliance to be inadvertently closed. Once wrapped, secure the webbing with an overhand knot and proceed.

This method provides an easy way to secure an extended line. Take the time to pull some line and practice securing a bail.

Download this drill as a PDF HERE (1.1 MB)


Brian Zaitz is a 14-year student of the fire service, currently assigned as the captain/training officer with the Metro West (MO) Fire Protection District. Brian is an instructor with Engine House Training, LLC as well as instructor at the St. Louis County Fire Academy.  Brian holds several degrees, including an associates in paramedic technology, a bachelors in fire science management, and a masters in human resource development. Brian is currently and accredited chief training officer and student of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.


No posts to display