Do YOU go in wet or dry? Why?

Helmet cam video of this Pennsylvania house fire drew some comments from readers about entering with an uncharged hoseline,

"Hmm one question....why would you go into a burning building without a charged hose line? A empty line will do nothing for you, especially if no life was in danger. Unnecessary risk." Shane Reed

"I would have gone in with out the line charged. it looked like 10 cents worth of fire, a dry line is a lot easier to lug around than a charged one." Timothy Dexter, Jr.

Every fire and size-up is different. How you might do something will vary from someone else based on training, staffing, alarm assignment, size-up, ect.

In their article "Dry & Wet Hoseline Stretches" Mike Kirby and Tom Lakamp look back at where and when you need to charge that line before the initial attack. They also look at a related line of duty death from their own department.

When does your nozzle team call for water?

What conditions influence you decision to stretch dry?

How much does staffing play a part of your decision?

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I like discussions like this   really gives a good look at how things are done across the world.   Lets just put the "its easier" factor to the side.  Is it the safest to go in dry?  Sure every fire is different but the fires are changing too.  They burn hotter and faster and give off more toxic junk than they did before.   Sure you can pull up on a normal fire.  Single room involved no big deal right?  What are some other factors that could cause this to go bad?  Could the fire have been burning for a while and now is just waiting for some fresh oxygen to really take off?   maybe its an arson attempt and there is a propellent in there ready to explode?   These are all possible with your average fire. What is your EO has an issue with the pump?   What if there is a communications issue and the EO cant hear you call for water?  How long do you wait till you back out?  Ease and comfort shouldnt take place of safety.    I dont know maybe its because ive only been in the fire service for a year and a half and dont know all the tricks the veterans know but i would rather drag and fight that charged hoseline and be ready for anything than increase the risk of things going south and someone getting hurt or worse

Stephen Duffy

but this isnt one of those some do some dont things, its bad practice to enter a house that is on fire, without charged and tested hoseline......furthermore, i cannot imagine a credible reason why i would want too.

So do you believe VES is a bad practice?  Because if you are doing VES you NEVER have a charged hoseline and you are definitely inside a building on fire.

Furthermore I cannot imagine a credible reason for entering a building on fire with a high pressure booster line, and pulsing the ceiling, yet that seems to be a common practice in European fire departments.  I would much rather enter with a hoseline capable of at least 150gpm that offers me a margin of safety if things go bad.

This is entirely a some do some don't type of thing.  If you aren't confident enough in your company officers to let them decide how they want to advance the hoseline then set your SOG's with a hard and fast rule that doesn't allow a dry stretch ever.  We are confident enough in our officers that we trust them to make this decision.  It is really nothing more than a training and experience issue.

Stephen Duffy 1

hello Kyle,

I think its important that this is cleared up here, this is a public forum, read by firefighters the world over (i'm in the UK). There are potentially impressionable young firefighters who need us to state what is wrong when things are wrong, like here.

To begin, let me ask you a question, do you and your dept carry out compartment fire behavior training periodically, under the supervision of a CFB instructor?

It is important to voce opinions on what you believe is wrong when they are wrong. Case in point, less than 30 gpm high pressure 800-1500 psi booster reels being pulled and used for interior firefighting. This is dangerous beyond all reasonable perception.  Yet as I stated elsewhere it seems to be a common European tactic that once again is poisoning the American fire service.  It didn't work here in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's to the point that seeing a rig with a high pressure pump was as common as seeing a unicorn.  Now a European based apparatus manufacturer is pushing it as the next new wave on the American fire service.  Sorry NO!  It is dangerous and offers no safety margin what so ever for interior structural firefighting.

Let me ask you some questions.  Do you practice flow path control?  Do you practice transitional attack?  Do you practice VES?  Do you practice roof ventilation?  Do you practice RIT operations?    

VES is vent enter search. A firefighter enters a window to do a rapid search of a room.  The window is cleared, the firefighter enters the room and heads to the hall door to check hallway conditions, take a quick look for victims in the hall and then closes the door. The room is then searched and if a victim is found they are removed.  Depending on the fire department's operating guidelines, and the fire situation, the door may be left closed or reopened for ventilation.

Nope, we do not do CFB training.  At least not in the manner YOU deem appropriate.  We do train on structural firefighting and containing the fire to the compartment.  Do you train on or even know what the things I listed are?

So Stephen Duffy, since you were so demanding in wanting an answer, how about answering my questions...

Stephen Duffy said:

hahaaha i have to admit Don, i do find you amusing, how can a man get this angry on a forum? :)

The only thing amusing here is your arrogance.  You demand answers yet refuse to answer questions.  Honestly I haven't found much of what you post here to be anything other than snide little attacks on the US fire service.  

now, if you would like to discuss fog vs straight bore, or HP hose reels, smoke diving (VES), roof venting or if you would like to launch an attack on European fire tactics, may i suggest you start a new thread, to avoid derailing this one? I'm happy to discuss those matters in detail, but this isn't that thread.

Um, you opened the flood gate by bringing your CFBT into this topic which had nothing to do with the original topic.  Uness you are a moderator I will post, within the site guidelines, anything I choose thank you very much.

back on topic, the reason why i asked about CFBT is that many US services do practice this, in fact, some of the leading voices in CFBT are its important to note here that this is not a US vs Euro debate, and you are not the US representative on the topic.

believe FDNY have now adopted some CFBT style approaches?

By your guidelines above YOU should not be discussing this here.  Maybe you should start another topic on CFBT instead of diluting this one with YOUR  attempts at derailing the original topic.

Are you claiming to be the English representative for CFBT?  If not your snide shot at me not being the US representative is just another example of your arrogance.

anyway, i maintain its bad practice to enter a house fire, without first charging and checking your firefighting media. please note that some of your US colleagues agree, so again this isn't Euro vs US, its good vs bad practice....

that's all...

I maintain it is bad practice to eliminate viable options when you have experienced, trained, skilled officers leading experienced, trained, and skilled firefighters.  We will not be removing this option from our tactics based on your beliefs, or anyone else's here, since we know it works here when appropriate.  


I knew you either were incapable of, or would be unwilling to answer my questions.  Nice attempt at a diversion while derailing the topic with CFBT.   


CFBT has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic of wet or dry line advance, as I am sure YOU know.

The funniest part of your arrogance and insistence that my tactic of the dry line advance is wrong is I never said you should do what we do. Honestly, I don't care what you do, I wish you could be open minded enough to give me that courtesy about what we do.


Stephen,  you are just being obtuse.  Both Kyle and I have said that when it is a long stretch, or even a short stretch, where it is easier and faster to get the line into position advancing it dry that would then be the choice.

Let me clear this up for you because I think either you don't understand the dry stretch tactic, or are being purposely obstinate.   I am not at all saying you stretch dry right up to the fire room or area.  You stretch as close as you can and still remain in a safe area.  You then call for water, check your pattern and then advance to a position to attack the fire.  Does that clear up the dry stretch for you?   

Stephen Duffy,

The apartment building, totally agree that would completely safe and sensible to stretch dry there, 

and the small cooker fire (cooking?) then yeah again totally agree, you wouldn't lug charged hose through a building for what you know is a nothing job.

would you agree with me, that when you turn up to a house fire, and its clearly a working job, that you would send your crew in masked up, with a charged and tested hoseline? lets say a 2 story, 3 bedroom place?

Why is it so important to you to repeatedly attack the way MY fire department chose to attack one specific fire, in one specific home, under those specific circumstances?  I have repeatedly explained why we chose to dry stretch.  Very small fire on the second floor, no smoke or heat on the first OR second floor, furniture and high value belongings in the living room area that we wanted to avoid damaging if possible, and an experienced, seasoned, trained officer that made the decision to go dry to the bottom of the steps.  The crew brought in enough line to make the upstairs, flaked it out, charged the line, checked the pattern, and then advanced to the second floor to attack the fire.  At no time did the first floor become smoke charged or hot.

You can continue to try to prove us wrong forever, frankly at this point you look like the 2 year old child repeatedly yelling NO over and over because you don't like what we did.  It won't change our minds and under the same circumstances we would do it again.

You seem to want to do what so many want to do on this and other fire forums.  Blather on and on against something  you disagree with without ever really listening or understanding what the other party is saying.  We did what we did because it was faster and easier.  We did what we did because an officer doing a size-up determined it was an appropriate and SAFE tactic.  If we had encountered any smoke or heat on the first floor we would have charged the line at the door prior to entry.  Because we didn't and the officer knew where the fire was he chose to dry stretch.  Am I saying you or anyone else should do what we did if it makes you feel uncomfortable?  NOT AT ALL.  Do what you have been trained to do and what makes you feel secure.

Now, I would really prefer that if  you want to continue to question our tactics you would address me directly instead of back dooring your questions to other posters about my fire.

Nice one Stephan, how about answering my post. 

Don and Stephen really?    Hate to say it but Im really kinda ashamed how you both handled this.   You both know you are from very different areas and have very different tactics.  Is one better than the other?  I dont think so.  You both train for the fires you have in your areas.  So why feel the need to attack each other?  You both have stated that different fires call for different tactic but yet you keep arguing about it.   Just doesnt make sense.  We are a brotherhood that is supposed to support each other not tear each other down because of doing what works for each individual dept.   Sure there is a huge difference in tactic between us here in the State and those across the pond.  Does that make ours more right than theres?   Hell there is a huge difference in tactics here depending on your location.  fighting fires in the city is nothing like fighting fires out in the sticks.   Im sure my dept. (rural) sees no where near the same kinds of fires say FDNY (don) sees.  Does that make him better than me?  Nope  We are one in the same.  We all do the same job and we all risk our lives doing something not too many people can do.  So why dont we all just play nice, acknowledge our differences and move on.  There is no need for the personal attacks

Actually I have said repeatedly that we do what we do based on OUR area and OUR people.  I honestly don't care what Stephen's, or your, or anybody else's fire department chooses for tactics.  I finally fought back after being repeatedly told I was wrong. 

Just for clarification I am not a member of the FDNY.

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