I spent over 30 years with the FDNY in Manhattan and the South Bronx. I have been a volunteer FF firefighter for over 40 years. Time and time again I have suscessfully used 2 1/2" hose lines in all kinds of occupancies. The FDNY has an All Units Circular that has been in effect for many years the states, that a      1 3/4" hose can only be used when its use is "compatable with fire conditions".  In short a 2 1/2" hoseline is required to be used in the following situations:

1. Heavy advanced fire upon arrival.

2. Fire in a large uncompartmented area

3. The hose line is to be used in a defensive position.

4. Any line stretched off a Standpipe outlet.

5. The first line in a large commercial occupancy.

Note the use of 2 1/2" is increasing due to the high heat output in fires in modern occupancies due to the increased use of plastics and other man made materials.  The B.T.U. output of many fires now can overwhelm an 1 3/4" hoseline once flashover has happened or to curtail a ventilation induce flashover.

Capt. FDNY Retired


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Good points to go by. Thanks for posting, Cap. I'll pass this along to our folks as a reminder.

For a small volunteer department in a semi-rural area these still apply, but manpower sometimes becomes a problem when stretching that first line if you need the 2 1/2.

Then compromise and go to 2 inch.  We have a 200 gpm 75 psi low pressure combo nozzle on it and a 1 1/4 inch slug tip behind it.  We underpump to 160 gpm at 55 psi to start, can go to 200 gpm at 75, or dump the combo tip and flow 300 gpm at 42 psi from the 1 1/4 inch slug tip.  We have 200 and 300 foot preconnects and a 500 foot 3 inch line with a gated wye and 100 feet of 2 inch attached to that.


The advantage to 2 inch over 2 1/2 inch is 2 people can move  2 inch line much easier than a 2 1/2, and we flow the same amount of water as a 2 1/2.  Sometimes our 300 gpm is more than many flow from a 2 1/2 inch line.


our in east borneo using 2.5" fire hose. it is heavy fo move.

Thanks, Don.

I'll pass along your recommendation. Sounds like a good alternative.

FDNY is currently running a pilot program in limited engine companies. They've been issued 10 lengths of lightweight 2" hose for use as lead lengths in 2 1/2 bed. I believe the goal is 50 PSI at nozzle ( 1" tip) with 210 GPM flowing.

This comes in right around mid-way between our numbers for 1 3/4" line ( 15/16 tip) flowing 180GPM and 2 1/2" line (1 1/8 tip) flowing 250 GPM.

Is the intent to replace the 1 3/4 inch line or simply to add another choice to the arsenal?

Good question. Nobody explained that part. My guess is the 1 3/4 would go. Nobody needs that many choices, do they? Maybe it would replace both.

The 2in lead length has a 1 or 1 1/8 tip on it. It is the LEAD LENGTH ONLY for their high rise bundles for RESIDENTIAL high rise fires only. Commercial jobs still get 2.5 all across the board, and the bosses discretion for residential high rise jobs. 

Got to play with it at Orlando Fire Conference and High Rise Operations Conference last year.

Good point Don. 2 inch hose was tried FDNY back in the 1960's and 1970s in combination with what was called "Rapid Water". Rapid Water was the use of an inductor to add a long chain polimar "plasic type slurry" to the stream. Rapid Water allowed an     1 3/4" hoseline to flow about 250-300 GPM.  A 2" line with Rapid Water had too much flow for a handline. Rapid Water was expensive about $1,000 for a 5 Gallon can of the concentrate and if the ECC "Engine Company Chauffeur" did not adjust the dosage of the slurry the area where we operated became very slippery. Rapid Water is no longer used.FDNY decided for us the best option was plain water with 1 3/4" in alot of cases. But due to our, at times long hose stretches, and challening buildings 2 1/2" hose is often better for advanced fires and other situations as I said in my first entry on hose sizes. All to often manpower is a problem in FDNY.

Capt. Bob Rainey FDNY retired

Negative. The 2 1/2 lead length for standpipe operations is a different program. Your parameters are correct, though.

There is a seperate program for 2" hose for hand stretches.

The staffing issue is really relative, isn't it? Guys hear that we put six firefighters (exclusive of officers and chauffeurs) on a line and think it's overkill or that we are lucky, spoiled, etc. Of course, you have to lok at the stretches involved. Those who don't fight fires in large NFP apartment buildings would not fully understand. Could be a six or seven flight hand stretch with 100 feet or more needed on fire floor. Plus the lobby, the courtyard and the distance to pumper with numerous parked (sometimes double parked) cars.Plus numerous panicked occupants coming down the stairs we are going up.

And then the mandatory second line due to numerous hidden vertical voids.

PS. If you were a company officer in a mid town truck on the west side, I've worked some tours with you.

Interesting, using a 1in tip, or going to a 1 1/8?

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