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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We just started a pre plan of a large (for us) appt. complex.  The only fire suppression they have is the old goofy hose cabinets.  1.5 single jacket with a brass nozzle with a half inch hole.  Never been tested and only about 45 pounds of water based on head loss only.  No place to connect an engine.    

I say BS on using or relying on that system, so we are going to lay hose and figure out how to get a nozzle in the bathroom of the far apartment on the top floor.  It is going to take all the hose we carry and then some, so we will stretch 2.5 dry to the top of the stairs with a wye on the floor below the fire.  1.75 off the wyes.  

The only way I can think to do this is to stretch dry.  All single family dwellings we stretch wet.   



Jim Conrad said:

We just started a pre plan of a large (for us) appt. complex.  The only fire suppression they have is the old goofy hose cabinets.  1.5 single jacket with a brass nozzle with a half inch hole.  Never been tested and only about 45 pounds of water based on head loss only.  No place to connect an engine.    

I say BS on using or relying on that system, so we are going to lay hose and figure out how to get a nozzle in the bathroom of the far apartment on the top floor.  It is going to take all the hose we carry and then some, so we will stretch 2.5 dry to the top of the stairs with a wye on the floor below the fire.  1.75 off the wyes.  

The only way I can think to do this is to stretch dry.  All single family dwellings we stretch wet.   

Law requires those hose cabinets in certain of our occupancies. I don't know why because we have never used them and never will.

We dont have any multistory complexes in our area but when it comes to going up multiple fights of stairs going dry would be the only way to do it.   This thread has really turned into a can of worms at times but just a few points for everyone to remember.  1 Not every fire is the same.  2 Not every dept. fights fires the same way. 3 not every dept sees every kind of fire ( single family, high rise, complex....)   So while we all might disagree with how some else does it.  As long as the end result of putting the fire out and everyone goes home safe is achieved thats all that really matters

Jim Conrad said:

We just started a pre plan of a large (for us) appt. complex.  The only fire suppression they have is the old goofy hose cabinets.  1.5 single jacket with a brass nozzle with a half inch hole.  Never been tested and only about 45 pounds of water based on head loss only.  No place to connect an engine.    

I say BS on using or relying on that system, so we are going to lay hose and figure out how to get a nozzle in the bathroom of the far apartment on the top floor.  It is going to take all the hose we carry and then some, so we will stretch 2.5 dry to the top of the stairs with a wye on the floor below the fire.  1.75 off the wyes.  

The only way I can think to do this is to stretch dry.  All single family dwellings we stretch wet.   

Don't give in to the normalization of deviance... The hoseline should've been charged before entering.

In the 1st few seconds you can see the tension and tunnel vision setting in, no SCBA and forgetting P.P.E.,The intensity of the movements from the helmet cam footage, unnecessary personnel loafing around and the unsure yelling of the attack team from the interior. 

generalized knowledge of fire behavior will teach you that flash over is just a flash over. But NIST studies have broken "Flash over" into 4 different types from what I remember. What people used to believe was the nozzle pushing the fire was in actuality a precursor for imminent flashing caused by improper stream application. 

I'm trying to find a source for the article, when I find it I will share it. 

Remember, don't train until you get it right, train until you can never get it wrong! 

Leland, let me suggest you don't give in to robotic this is the only way to do things thinking. 

I agree in the video that was posted by the OP here the line should have been charged, I will however, not deviate from my belief that a well trained and seasoned officer, using cues from a size-up, can choose not only the best path in to attack the fire but whether the line should be advanced dry or wet to get there.

I am in no way suggesting that a dry line be advanced into the fire area or fire room.  But often it makes little sense to drag a charged line through a building, even a single family dwelling, some of which can exceed 4000 square feet.  In the fire I described a size-up showed a very small fire on the second floor with some extension into the attic, some high value furniture and belongings in the path to the stairs, and no smoke or heat on the first floor.  We entered advanced to the base of the stairs brought in what we thought was adequate line to reach the fire and beyond.  We called for water and went upstairs and put out the fire.

Do I say that is the only way to do it?  No, I do not.  Would I have chastised another officer for going in with a charged line? No, I would not.  I made the decision based on all the facts available to me and I stand by it today.

I agree with a 2nd hose line going upstairs is better handled dry, but the video clearly shows this is the first and you hear them say "knock that downstairs down first then we'll go upstairs." They then proceed down the hall in this video before going upstairs. 

laying another line interior dry is still only secondary to a primary attack line. NO robotics required.

As for the questions put foward in the original post, I should've taken the little extra time and put in my input rather than mouthing off of my soap box. I'm not familiar with the fire you're speaking of in your reply however, I didn't read past the first 2 comments.

Now that I'm caught up, your argument wouldn't be as confusing if you would reaffirm that you are speaking of a completely separate fire altogether. 

"How were we unsafe?  I was inside previous to the line being brought in.  There was no smoke or fire on the first floor and very little fire on the second floor.  It was easier to bring the line in dry and flake it out for a smooth advance up the stairs once charged.  There was no need to charge in like a bull in a China shop and cause unnecessary damage to belongings on the first floor.  These people are our neighbors, not unknown faceless people in a mega city, so we try to minimalize collateral damage if we can."

I stand corrected... judging from what I saw from the video this was handled horribly. 

as far as i'm concerned either way i'm up in a fire involved in a building I prefer to be charged with my hoseline because you never know what could happen. If it flashes in your face in that heavy smoke you have at least water to cool it down and if you are trapped or you fall on the story under you you must have a charged line 

I am not agreeing nor am I disagreeing with stretching a dry line into a working structure fire. I would think that when you see fire or can't see at all due to heavy smoke conditions then stop and charge the line. But then there is the question of pushing air towards the fire when you bleed the air out initially. I guess my point is that it is not much different than showing up to a EMS call that turns out to be a Patient in need for some company and mainly seems to just want someone to talk to; the priority of that call then changes. Same as the fire if its just some light haze or a small kitchen fire and the crew or officer is certain of that, then certainly why not do a dry stretch as it is faster to maneuver around. It should also come down to the crew, is the rookie on the nozzle? is every member experienced and confident enough to recognize immediate changes in the condition within the structure fire?

it comes down to how clear the call is and how well the crew know each other and their own experience/ limitations. personally Id rather charging a line at the door each time (building a routine) rather than to take the extra time trying to recognize what the plan is, but as a back step firefighter it all comes down to the officer's decisions. 

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