Highrise Hose Pack and Tool Bag
When you think of any commercial above grade fire you should think big water, weight, and manpower. Sometimes in the suburban setting firefighters say “We Don’t Have High-Rise’s” think about this, Do you have a building taller than your aerial ladder? Do you have a building with a solid outer skin? Do you have a building two or more stories with or without a stand pipe? Do you have a building two or more stories with a partial sprinkler system or no sprinkler system?
If you said yes to any of the above then you need to think big water. Our standard residential 1.75 hand line does not give us the GPM necessary for above ground fires. GPM reduces the BTU’s and extinguishes fires. Just remember it is better to have more than not enough.Â Any building build prior to 1993 will only give you 65psi at the top floor on the standpipe. Hardly enough for those 100psi fog nozzles.Â Also standpipes are a common place for debris to collect.Â The open orifice of the smooth bore will help to expel the debris that will clog the fog nozzle. Look at how much hose you will need, remember your not stretching from the Engine you are stretching from the Stand Pipe. Take a wheel and measure the distance from the stand pipe to the lobby in your High-rise buildings. This will give you a good idea of how many hose packs you need. Chief Dave McGrail recommends you have three fifty foot hose packs for a total of 150ft. Forget the gated wye remove it from your kit. Using wye’s creates a number of different problems. If you need another line connect two floors below the fire.
Those bulky 80-100lb all in one high-rise bags or strapping systems make it difficult to ascend above grade. Remember we need to have energy left when we reach the floor below the fire. Breaking the High-rise pack up reduces the weight and each member can carry a component of the kit.
Manpower is another key to high-rise success. Now most departments don’t have the resources like major cities. This is another reason why it is critical to take big water to the fire floor. A Midwestern Department has the following policy. Two companies of at least three firefighters each will assemble before ascending to the floor below the fire.Â Each company will have at minimum of 100ft of 2.5 hose. This ensures 200ft of 2.5 is available at floor below the fire. Once they determine how much hose is needed they can assemble one attack line for the fire floor ranging from 100ft-200ft long. The two companies can operate in this order.Â One member to operate the standpipe hand wheel regulating the pressure for the attack line. This is a critically important position the hand wheel should never be left unattended.Â One member operates as the doorman controlling the fire floor door and helping to move hose onto the fire floor from the stairwell. Three for the attack line nozzle, back up, and company officer. The last person can help to force doors, victim removal, opening up walls and ceiling.
Remember the above suggestions are just that suggestions. You should conduct thorough research into High-Rise Firefighting before adopting any changes in your departments policies.
Below is a High-rise Hose Pack and Tool Bag that a suburban Midwestern fire department built.Â This departments high-rise pack follows their county’s model procedure for high-rise fire equipment. This was developed/ adapted from ChiefÂ Dave McGrail’s FDIC H-O-T High-rise course, book Firefighting Operations in High-Rise and Standpipe Equipped Buildings, and Chief Norman’s Fire Officer’s Handbook on Tactics third edition. Please read or refer to Firefighting Operations in High-Rise and Standpipe-Equipped Buildings by David M. McGrail for more detailed information. Remember the follow is one departments adaptation for their needs.
Below: This is the entire High-Rise Pack. It consist of two fifty foot hose packs of light weight 2.5 hose. There is one tool bag that carries all of the necessary tools, appliances, and adapters. If needed three to four firefighters can place this line in service and advance it to the fire.
NOTE: This Department Uses Orange to Identify High-rise Equipment. All items were ordered orange or have orange electrical tape applied.
Below: Starting with the hose it is assembled per Chief Dave McGrail’s recommendation. Measure 32 inches from the female coupling draw a black line with the number 32. This will serve as you first fold point. Then horseshoe fold the hose.
The straps are high quality and inexpensive. They are available from Turning Out Solutions.
Below: Is the Finished Hose Pack with straps. Only three straps are needed.
Note: Nozzle can be positioned toward the top of the hose pack if cleaner bends are made.
This Department uses a 50psi break apart nozzle 2.5 inch x 1.5 inch ball valve with a 1″- 1/8 smooth bore slug tip. At the end of the tip are 1.5 thread so the 250gpm 50psi fog bumper can be attached or an 1.5 to 2.5Â increaser can be attached. The department does not allow the fog tip for firefighting, it is recommended for mop up after the fire or hydraulic ventilation. The department had to specify 250gpm at 50psi for the fog tip.
Most recommendations are for a 50psi non break-apartÂ 2.5 inch x 1.5 inch ball valve with 1″-1/8 smooth bore tip nozzle in the top right photo. This nozzle also provides the 1.5 thread so a increaser can be added.
The tool bag is an important key for the entire High-rise Pack . This is where all of the tools, appliances, and adapters are carried.Â Most items are available in light weight versions .Â Below we will look at each individual component of the tool bag. First is the bag this is a medium sized tool bag available at any home improvement store. It even has a detachable shoulder strap.
Don’t forget twenty wooden wedges for choking doors open.
The in-line gauge is the most critical appliance of your high-rise kit. The larger gauge is preferred for easier reading, however either style will work. This gauge ensures that 50psi is at the nozzle. After attaching the gauge before you attach the attack line you must flow the standpipe into the stairwell so the hand wheel can set the proper pressure. Don’t worry about water damage the building is on fire!!Â A simple pressure cheat sheet is attached to the gauge.
Here is the simple pressure cheat sheet applied with adhesive tape.
Lightweight 18inch aluminum pipe wrench available at any home improvement store. The pipe wrench will assist if the hand wheel is missing also if any pressure reducing devices must be removed.Â The vise grips are standard weight. Lightweight aluminum Spanner wrenches.
The wire brush helps to clean debris from the threads. The screw driver is a multiple head style with two Phillips and two slotted. The colored construction crayons or grease crayons are used to mark doors that have been searched / = Primary, X= Secondary, O = All Clear.
The Lightweight Elbow is very important for those poorly placed standpipe connections. The Elbow changes the direction of water and keeps your hose from kinking. Two Lightweight Elbows are recommended for the Tool Bag.
The next componentÂ is the 1.5 female to 2.5 male increaser. This is a very inexpensive appliance that allows you to extend the line without shutting down the hand wheel at the stand pipe. Plain and simple it gives you options.
Bring a new hose pack with nozzle,Â shut down the nozzle,Â attach the increaser with new hose pack, radio for higher pressure with new length, open nozzle bale tie open with hose pack strap, advance to the fire.
The last component for this department is the 250gpm at 50psi fog nozzle bumper. This department had to specify the 250gpm at 50psi tip.