Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Picture

Your fire is above the third floor, the engine officer has decided to utilize a key feature of the stairwell to make the stretch more efficient. The second-due engine officer felt the same. What do you see here in this photo? Why did the first and second-due engine officers opt for this type of stretch? What criteria must be met for us to incorporate this stretch? And what happened here? How do we fix it? It's up to you, here's your 'one picture:'


  1. It's a good stretch to maximize hose line reach. It will be imperative that before the hose is charged it is secured to the banister at the top or all that hose might end up back downstairs! As to why the lines are twisted and the potential pitfalls go, I'll be looking for more feedback myself. Can't say I've ever seen that before. Stay safe!

  2. - This is a well hole stretch.

    - This method reduces the overall length of the stretch by alleviating the use of the staircase. It allows for easier movement of personnel and civilians since the hoseline isnt laying on the stairs.

    - The well hole must be wide enough to accomodate a charged line. (the whole way to the floor below the fire)

    - Looks like barber pole affect. Caused by stretching the second line and allowing it to "wrap" around from floor to floor. Second line has to be passed around the first to they dont get twisted up.

  3. The Florida Fire Service has GOT to start training on this. With our limited staffing and water front multi-story buildings w/o st. pipes. THIS IS IT!!!!

  4. I am looking forward to learn from this one.

    This obviously requires a lot less hose to reach the top floor. Pressure will obviously have to be adjusted to compensate for elevation lost. The line should be secured with a strap or rope hose tool so the line can slide forward, but the weight of the line will not pull it back down. Also, once on top of the stairs, the line should, if possible go through the railing as opposed to on top of it. Going on top creates a drastic inveted V in the line and may cause issues when charging it because of the kink. Once the hose reaches operation pressure, that problem can sometimes be fixed by allowing the water through the kink and let the pressure build, but, what if the pump has a brief pressure loss? The kink at the railing will then be a problem again as crews are now within harm reach of the fire.

    I would pull enough line up to ensure I have enough line available to work on the fire floor without having to pull three floors worth of line once it is charged. I'd also make sure that the first available coupling is on the fire side of the railing.

    Two things can cause the line twist we see in the picture. The firefighters following the path of the stair well and the type of load the hose is deploying from. An accordion fold would cause no twist, where a roll would cause a huge amount of twist. Could hose loads be brought up and the female coupling be dropped straight down as opposed to hauling the line up.

    An other point to consider is that two lines advanced upwards in that fashion will twist together to the point where it might become a huge issue. If at least one was dropped down, then they would not interract. After saying this, I am looking at the picture and it looks like there are two liones there. Since one line was already stretched, I would definitely have opted to drop a coupling from above as a second arriving officer.

    At least one stretch has to be disconnected here in order to eliminate the twist between the two lines.

    Claude Duval
    Kingston Fire & Rescue

  5. If you get to the Fl. Below or FIRE FL. without strap, stand on line while being charged. If you have 50' or more of working line the 80lbs charged in a 50' SECTION or LENGTH as they call it up NORTH will hold it. A small looped rope and carabiner work great as rope tool.

  6. Did this once in a training evolution and thought the hose was secured, but it was not. The nozzle ended up at the bottom of the stairway and the second in company took our fire by stretching up the stairs. They used more hose but they also got the job done. That water weights a lot in that hose.

  7. They intertwined as the 2nd due made it's way up the stairs, employing the same stretch tactic, overlapping the 1st due's stretch. The easiest way to untangle it is from the top, at the nozzle. Simply turn them the opposite way of the twist. You may want to place a firefighter on the second flight of stairs to ensure they play out nicely and untangle completely.

  8. Wouldn't worry too much about the twisting... it happens from running up the flights with the rack playing off of your shoulder. The lines should be advanced until there is no slack in the stairwell and secured at the top with a utility rope so they will remain stationary... it's not like you would be trying to advance a twisted line...

  9. Well Hole Stretch.

    1) Less hose to stretch.
    2) secure with webbing at top.
    2) Keeps stairs free for firefighters entering and exiting.
    3) Less chance of Kinks.No bends or turns except at the top and bottom.
    4) 1 length in 2 to floor and 1-2 for attack=4 Where If you used the stairs 1 lenth pre floor(3) 1 to entrance (4) 1-2 for attack 5-6
    5) Not sure about the twisting so much, but it can be a concern.

    W Benner
    ONT Canada
    6) Do you go in with the 1 3/4 then the 2nd lay a 2 1/2?

    This is a great option for Engine Companies to use. Some say you may lose your Lifeline however we should have more then one option of leaving a IDLH and the following the hose is not always it.

  10. What do you see here in this photo?

    I see a spiral staircase, a landing, and a spiral staircase, with an open well hole. I see two lines (uncharged) twisted. I see two lines deployed in the same method.

    Why did the first and second-due engine officers opt for this type of stretch?

    The officer might know this building due to inspections or previous calls in the building. When figuring the amount of lengths (sections), instead of using 50’ per floor, use 50’ up the well hole allows for less hose to be used. If done properly, it is quick and efficient.

    What criteria must be met for us to incorporate this stretch?

    There are open and closed well holes, your hose coupling must be able to pass through the smallest opening. You need a rope, webbing, or even a pike pole to raise the hose up to the fire floor or floor below if high heat or smoke conditions are evident on the fire floor. This works when you build a line or work with pre-connects.

    If you work with hose packs or bundles, you can go to your desired locations and drop you female coupling down the well hole to a gated wye or length of hose to be connected.

    And what happened here?

    I might be wrong, but I think it wasn’t a traditional well hole stretch. I think hoses were flaked off the shoulder on to the stairs and then lifted over the railing and placed in the well. This caused the twisting, which might be an issue, but probably not.

    How do we fix it?

    Training, Training, Training!

    Place one line in service at a time, only start work on the second (back-up) line after the first line is in operation. Either drop a rope/webbing down the well hole and attach it to the hose or nozzle and pull it up. Sometimes the nozzle won’t fit in a closed well; you might want to opt for dropping the coupling down from the desired floor.

    If you don’t have rope or webbing and you have a 4’ or 6’ hook, you can hook onto the bale of the nozzle and hand it up to firefighters on the stairs/landing, this works well on balconies of garden apartments.

    Make sure you have enough hose on the fire floor to make it to the seat of the fire. It is a good practice to place the coupling at the door to the fire apartment; this means you have 50’ to move through out the apartment.


    My old engine used to carry an old bleach bottle (leave handle intact and enlarge the opening) with 50’ of clothesline and a snap hook. With open wells, balconies, windows, etc. you can drop the bucket to the ground. With a closed well, you drop the snap hook down to the ground. A firefighter below will tie or attach the rope to the hose for it to be pulled up.

  11. Key word in many of the above responses. TRAINING. How many firefighters know or have used a well hole stretch in there career. It is a fast operation for an "upper floor fire". Size up is key as to everything. An open well is a large open space, as to a closed well which the stairwell railings lie close together. The rule of thumb for a well hole stretch up NORTH is if the well is 2 fists in width or more we can stretch up the it.

    As to the picture at hand, a large open well makes life much less complicated. 1st due nozzle carries folds over the railing letting the folds hang over FF arm, in the well and ascends to either the Fire floor (if conditions warrant) or the Floor Below where the hose is flaked out as per the Engine Officers descretion. The Back Up FF will secure the hose once the proper amount has been pulled up. ( 1 - 1 1/2 lengths). B/U FF will secure the hose w/ hose strap or webbing below the last coupling to take the weight off of the connection.
    When ready Eng Officer will call for water.
    As to the 2nd line in this picture. As the first line was carried with folds in hand, the 2nd line cannot be carried up the well or you will get twists. The nozzle FF must drop his folds at the bottom of the well, carry just the nozzle in hand, and proceed up the stairs, changing hands at each landing making sure the hose is continuing up its own path. B/U FF feeds line up to the nozzle until the point of operation is reached as per the 2nd Engine Officer (Fire Floor or Floor Below). Nozzle FF pulls the correct amount of hose to operate (2 lengths or more) and hose is secured as the 1st line was.

    - Less line stretch and in a much faster manner

    - Less engine pressure
    - Keeps stairwell clear of hose which allows for members to ascend to their positions faster and safer
    - Allows for victims removed from Fire Floor or Floors Above to be removed to street faster and safer due to the lack of hose on the stairs.
    -*** Makes the Engine Co look like Superstars when performed correctly

  12. 1. Why did the first and second-due engine officers opt for this type of stretch?

    Faster stretch and less lengths. Fire on floor 3, Seattle Fire Department has 100' sections of attack line, so we need 2 lengths (200',50 on the street, 50 in the hole and 50 on the fire floor min. depending on how deep the building is)

    2. What criteria must be met for us to incorporate this stretch?

    Does it extend all the way to the fire floor? Is the hole large enough to accept a charged line, and are you comfortable with it? Easy one to screw up if your not careful, don't try it for the first time on the fireground.

    3. And what happened here?

    The 2nd line was stretched the same way as the first line.

    4. How do we fix it?

    Drop the hose at the bottom of the stairs and carry up the nozzle and change hands at the post and the first hoseline. I like using my drop bag for the 2nd line if the well hole is large enough for me to drop the bag without it getting caught.

    How do we fix it, the same way we fix everything! Training, Training and more training. This is easy to screw up, lets screw it up in training first. Try it with rope if you don't want to stretch hose. Hose is always better of course....

    Thanks for the picture and the opportunity to talk fire...

    Josh Materi
    Seattle Fire Dept.

  13. Great points by all... Heres what I have to add.

    We carry 150' bundles of 1 3/4" with a gated wye, because of this I would prefer to carry the entire bundle (with bundle tie) to the floor below and lower the gated wye (Assuming the stair well is wide enough)This will keep 100+' of untangled hose at the landing and reduce the possibilities of wedging the hose in the stair well when hauling up. I would have the second due company pull 2 1/2" to the base of the stairs and make the connection, charge the 1st line, and check for any kinks. To secure the hose I have always stretched over the railing securing the hose below the railing in the well and then tieing off to the railing. This way the weight of the hose is on the strap not pinching on the railing.
    I totally agree with Jay Blake... The backup line doesnt get pulled until the first line is in service and flowing water.
    The backup line size choice depends on the occupancy type, size of fire, whats on fire, whats above the fire floor... etc From the picture Im assuming a multi family dwelling, ordinary construction (lots of fire extension problems and unknown fire load), and the initial stretch is going to take a few minutes. I would stretch a 2 1/2" to assist on the fire floor, and a 3rd line probably a 1 3/4" to the floor/floors above for extension.

    Any thoughts? I always like a good fire discussion!
    Chad Snyder

  14. Good stuff. The twisting should be a nonissue as you have already maximized the hose lay and shouldn't really be pulling much more length without a change in tactics. The twisting also creates some friction to reduce tendency of the hose to fall back down the stairwell.



  15. There are some very good points here already, just adding my two cents...

    -Train, Train, Train
    -Know your first-in

    I agree that taking your "working" hose to the fire floor or floor below in a bundle or shoulder load and then dropping the female end to the hose on the ground floor is the cleanest and most efficient way to go. Whether you ride on an engine with 2-man staffing or 5-man this technique requires training so that each individual knows their role. The name of the game in multi-story buildings (standpipe or not) is reflex time - how long does it take us from arrival on scene to flowing water. The only way to reduce this time is by examining the process with a fine tooth comb and then training on it. First of all, decide how much working hose you need (the amount from the tied off upper story railing to the nozzle that will be in service actively fighting the fire). This is where preplanning and knowing your first-in comes into play. Having a good idea of the square footage and number of floors in each apartment, condo, etc. in the fire building will help you to decide how much hose you need. Is your first-in made up of 400 sq. ft. apartments? Do you have 4000 sq. ft. penthouses in your district? If you don't know the sq. ft. a quick and dirty estimate of how much hose is needed is length + width of the involved apt. + 50 ft. per additional upper or lower stories to account for stairs. Once you've decided on how much hose you need, decide on how many FFs it will take to get it to the upper floors. Remember that you must add enough hose to the "working" length to reach the ground floor. When you have the right amount of hose and the manpower needed, get that hose moving up the stairs asap, remember reflex time, that fire is still burning unchecked. While that hose is being carried up, the hose from the engine is then stretched to the base of the stairwell. If this happens quickly, then make use of the "down time" and start bringing in the tools you will need for the fire floor. Once the hoses are connected get your crew together and go put that fire out.
    Please consider using 2.5" for these fires. First of all, basically every engine carries hundreds of feet of 2.5" in a static load that makes deploying hose for this operation fairly straight forward. If your department is on the ball and using 2.5" for your standpipe ops. then you already have bundled 2.5 ready to go. Granted, we are not working off a standpipe full of debris or with PRDs or PRVs installed, but we are fighting that dreaded reflex time. Let me ask you this... if you pulled up on a 1000 sq. ft. home fully involved, what would you use to put it out? I'm hoping most of you would be pulling the 2.5". Remember needed GPMs = (length x width) x % of area involved / 3, meaning that 1000 sq. ft. home needs roughly 333 GPM. 1.75" isn't going to cut it. Now, put that 1000 sq. ft. building 5 stories up with greater exposure risks and possibly increased wind effects and an increased reflex time. What may have started as a room and contents fire in the bedroom may have spread throughout the apt. by the time your line is in service. So please, think 2.5".
    If the second due engine follows the same process you will not be twisting your lines in the stairwell. Those are my thoughts. Be safe, thanks for listening to my ramblings.