When I first started in the fire department we had two types of hand lines 1 1/2" and 2 1/2". We were taught that when you attack a fire that you always take your first line in, backed up by a 2nd line at least as big or bigger. We were also taught that if you have light fire conditions you can use small (1 1/2") water, but heavy fire conditions require big (2 1/2") water. I know we now have 1 3/4" hand lines, but I did not know that we no longer use 2 1/2" hand lines.

A couple weeks ago I was out drilling with my engine company and was discussing using 1 3/4" and 2 1/2" hand lines, when to my surprise one of my pump operators who has been around 30+ years and happens to be a retired state fire instructor said "you can not use a 2 1/2" house as an attack line it is to big".

What do you think?

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I don't miss your point. I am suggesting that you are wrong in your point. You say that a stream turning to steam MAY be cooling. I say that a stream turning to steam is DEFINITELY cooling.

I maintain that interior fire extinguishment is a progression. Any cooling within the fire compartment also helps to cool the area at the seat of the fire. If we open up and the stream does not immediately reach the seat intact, we keep operating and advancing. It appears that your position is that the stream MUST reach the seat of the fire intact upon opening nozzle or the fire won't be extinguished.

We want the water to reduce the rate of heat release. We want the water to absorb energy (heat) as it turns to steam. This does not have to happen from the seat of the fire outward. Therefore we don't have to be hitting the seat of the fire initially upon opening nozzle. Unless of course, it is a smaller incipient fire. That is not what I'm referring to.

We will have to just agree to disagree on this.

The steam is ONLY cooling if it is overcoming the BTUs produced by the fire.  If it isn't overcoming the BTUs produced all it is doing is being turned into steam and making the atmosphere untenable by changing dry heat to wet heat.  

I never said the immediate opening of the nozzle had to be on the base of the fire.  Obviously there will be times we must fight our way down a hallway, or across a large room or area, to get in a position to hit the seat of the fire.  What I said was if the fire stream isn't flowing enough water to pentrate the heat and cool the fire area we will never get close enough to hit the seat of the fire.

There is simply no way 2 smaller streams flowing the same gpm together make the same hit as one larger stream flowing the same water.  It has to do with the size of the streammand the volume of the water.  Unless of course your nozzle men are marksmen and always hit the same area at the same time with the 2 smaller streams, in effect making them one stream.


We will have to agree to disagree. 

 Wow where was this guy  a firefighter? That's the dumbest statement I have heard. we have 2- 2.5in preconnect on our pumpers plus 1.5 in. preconnects. yes they can be tuff to handle but practice with them.  most of the time you wont be dragging them around. 

We use 2" hand lines, we carry 2 1/2" preconnects as well.

Here's how you have to look at it. A 2 1/2" can be use for an attack line in industrial buildings where you have large open areas and you need lots of water. But for a residence, think of being fast and aggressive in your fire attack. you can't move fast lugging a 2 1/2" through a house or up the stairs. Remember this as well if your in a defensive attack use that 2 1/2" for an attack line. 

  I beg to differ on part of your statement,Jerry. 

  A 2 1/2" can be used in a residence. Let me be clear, we use 1 3/4" for residence. However we use 2 1/2" for large area and high rises. Taking a 2 1/2" from a stand pipe through apartments on the 5th+ floor is like going through a residence. Twist and turns etc. 

  With training and practice 2 Firemen can operate a  2 1/2".....Not that I would want to use one all the time, just saying it can be done.  

The old saying goes this. One room 1.5 two rooms a 2 and half. pull the big one. Yes we can fight fire with 1.5 or 1.75. With the increased full load with synthetic materials, the cooling needed to reduce the off gassing of the combustiable materials sometimes dictates the need to flow water that cannot be achieved with a 1.5 or 1.75. With many departments using 1.75 hose and larger flow nozzles the need for larger hose is reduced but we have come to rely too heavy on the small hand lines, much in part the reduced manpower and the heavy load a 2.5 puts on your crew. Once its charged you better be where you need to be or close with it flaked out for easy advancement.  

To answer is it too big. with normal staffing yes but if you have a well involved fire it should be your first choice to obtain a good fire flow. Reduce your fire volume and switch out with a gated wye or lay out  a smaller line.

We had well involved barn fire on Tuesday. 2 guys on the 2.5 and we knocked down a lot of fire but maneuvering is difficult, We had plenty of assistance with the Amish community after a short time. The 2.5 inch lines where moved and placed where needed in nothing flat. We had the manpower shortly after the attack started.

Position the line in an area that you can access the bulk of the fire. that is where your gain will be unless you have good manpower.  2.5 lines should always be considered on larger fires. But Good solid knowledge of your fuel load will help make that decision.

I highly agree that a 2 1/2 cannot be used for an attack line.

Bud are you serious?  Or did you mistype your post?  2 1/2 has been used as an attack hose for over 200 years.



we in east borneo using 2.5" fire hose. it's so heavy to move. 

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