The other training issue/discussion we have had here at my dept. recently is the advancement of dry line vs wet line into a fire structure. The advantages or each and the disadvantages of each. We recently had a fire in the area in which this was a big issue and resulted in the death of 2 FF's. Our deptment conducted some training evo's and found out some key issues that must be addressed and some things that may be a surprise to some. I think that it was believed that advancing a dry line into the structure and then getting water would be faster than advancing a charged line to the seat of the fire. However we found out that is was most cases at least 30-40 seconds slower and in some cases over a minute. Most of this was communications and water to nozzle time. Communication was one of the biggest issues as it often is. With us we have found out as most others have that 8oomhz digital radios pretty much stink on the fire ground operations. I could go on for awhile on this subject, however I just would like some other opinions from you guys. We concluded that barring some rare circumstances there was just no reason to enter a fire structure without a charged line. Now I am talking about a residensial fire not a warehouse fire where abviously circumstances could be different.
I have to ask what is your manpower? What type of occupancy are you responding to? Is this residential building protected by a suppression system. Size-up of the structure and the determination of fire advancement is critical. Company Officers are paid to make these determinations.
I totally agree with Tim Sendelbech's points and use them daily. If you are operating like many of us (bare minimum or less) Stretching a wet or dry line is critical on how much manpower you have and the protection factors built-into the structure.
One story residential ranch, cottage, bungalow, the advancement of a charged handline is critical for rapid attack and overall firefighter safety. Absolutely, a charged line before entering.
Two or three story residential occupancy, fire on an upper floor or in the attic, why are you charging a line in the street? Nobody here would be expected to carry a charged line to the 4/5/6th or 22nd floor of a high rise. We use a high rise pack to connect to the stand pipe below the fire. Yes these occupancies are protected, either by sprinklers and/or fire doors, but we still enter without a charged line.
Now with a fire in the attic of a residential two-story house, how many firefighters do you have to stretch the initial attack line to the entry point of the attic? How many turns do you have to make and why would it be considered unsafe to lessen the work stress and stretch dry to the 2nd floor landing and flake out the rest of the anticipated stretch? I just did a job last week with the same scenario and the firefighters chose to charge the line on the ront porch and the stretch to the second floor landing which had 4 turns with just a nozzle man and 1 firefighter... Tools and the TIC were shed so both hands were used to hump the heavy line around four turns and up there. The entire first floor was clear, no smoke, as a matter of fact the lights were still on and you wouldn't know you had a job until you made it upstairs.
When asked why they charged the line on the porch, the answer was that is how we did it at the academy.
If the line is stretched dry, yes there is a liability, communications are huge and need to be precise. In the past, as a firefighter I have told the pump operator which line we were pulling and stated we are stretching DRY and standby for the call for water. Communications started in the street. There was no delay. This was done from an exterior size-up, with smoke/fire showing from a window with a room and contents fire in an upper bedroom.
Your case study of being 30-40 slower and in some cases over a minute is probably valid, you can take away the water to nozzle time factor you address because you will need to add in that time whether you stretch the line dry or wet. Time delay was probably all communications but I must ask what was the scenario, what were the interior conditions at the entry point on the first floor, could the entry team see and move (walk) quickly with a dry line or were they stretching blindly in the dark or smokey condition? If you can walk, 1 firefighter can drag a dry line with ease. If you can't see, then you are forced to crawl and feel your way in which means you may have a fire on floor one also... These are two different scenarios drive the speed of the deployment and the decision to stretch wet or dry.
The, we're only trained to the text book, run less than 500 calls and see less than 5 working fires a year crowd will say always stretch a charged line. Those of us who see a lot more know that you can and will stretch a dry line to a safe area, call for water, bleed the line and set your pattern before moving on. There's been fires on 2nd and 3rd floors where I couldn't imagine taking a charged line in from the street.
You can lose suction, lose prime, have a hose section burst, have the nozzle clog with gravel from a new hydrant, or a variety of other problems regardless of whether you go in with the line wet or dry.
My department has 2 man engines. You will bring a dry line to outside the compartment of fire on a 2nd or 3rd floor fire. Is this the best or the safest, no, but it's how we do it. You put as much fire out as possible till back up comes.
One factor that hasn't really been brought up. Bringing a charged line into a 2500 sq. ft yuppie palace is fine but try doing it in a trash strewn floor to ceiling 900 sq ft row home where there is a foot maybe 18" path to get by all through out the house. A dry line flaking off your shoulder makes life a lot easier.