3 Keys for Engine Company Hose Line Success
Our most important mission for us to perform is to protect lives. As an engine company, that means we place the hose line between victims and fire to stop or extinguish impending danger. This vital task needs to be done as efficiently and quickly as possible. This means that our equipment should be easily reached, deployed and operated.
Although we don’t utilize our hose lines every day, they should be in ready order for quick deployment.
Here are 3 Keys to Set Up Your Engine For Quick Hose Line Deployment:
Key 1 – Have a Good Working Load and Set-Up
There are age old debates on the best hoseload – the best one is the one that works for you and for the area you serve. The triple-layer load deploys quickly but requires some attention when loading. It also doesn’t work well as a load to disconnect from the apparatus and carry on your shoulder.
If you frequently have to use a feeder line to extend hoses from the apparatus because of apartment buildings or setbacks, then the triple-layer is not your best load choice.
The minute-man shoulders well, but all the weight of the hose is on the deploying firefighter. The flat load is simple but to enhance its function, add dog-ears at the 1/3 and 2/3 mark (ie- 150’ hose line would have dog ears at the end of each length).
Personally, I like the dog-eared flat load. It can be shouldered the way it is or flipped over and made into a minute-man. It can be of any length and then shortened to reduce the potential of kinks in the unused hose. Whatever load you use, examine it for its functionality for the area you serve.
Key 2 – Able to Access and Reach the Hose Load.
It does us no good if our most important, time-sensitive function can’t be easily reached by ANY of our firefighters. We need to be able to step up onto the running board to reach the hose folds and help pull out the load.
If that doesn’t work, because the hose tray is too high (some apparatus are at 8’ and even 10’) then a short length of rope with a choke hitch around the end may help. But do what you can to show the problem to the decision makers of the department so that future apparatus isn’t specified this way.
Being proficient at deploying the load- this requires practice. Honestly, how often do you deploy the hose loads on your apparatus? How long does it take to deploy then reload it? Could you do it at least once a month? How about every other week? How about every shift?
Even the busiest engine companies can find the 10 minutes it takes to deploy and reload the line. If you did a different one each shift, how good would you be at taking the line off when it’s an emergency?
Key 3 – Able To Troubleshoot Hose Line Issues
Know when it’s necessary to troubleshoot problems. Water supply, the pump, deployment, length, placement, nozzle choice, nozzle problems, advancement and withdrawal are each their own challenge. When done well, there are no issues, but any one of them can cause big issues if they aren’t understood. And a thorough understanding will make troubleshooting much easier if an issue does arise.
Take these tips and utilize them on your engine so you and your crew can efficiently and effectively get the job done.