When someone talks about the upper midwest most people think of rolling hills of corn. However, In my area there is nothing like that. Google "Driftless Region," you will get nothing but pictures of steep bluffs, rock outcroppings, and goat pastures. (go ahead and Google Goat pastures at this time as well. you know you want to) Durring the last ice age my area of Wisconsin, parts of Iowa and Minnesota were left unglaciated, and thus giving us the picturesque mini mountains called bluffs. The topography has lent my fire department to get creative on how we fight fires. Many of the houses that are in our district are on sidehills, with long, long, long one lane driveways. (Everybody likes a little solitude)
To combat this inexcessibility we have specially made fire engines, with tight turning radius' and high ground clearance. Our first out engine has a 1250 gal/min pump, with 1200 gallons in our tank. This engine also has 400' of 5" LHD in a hose bed. If we receive a call for a house fire with a long driveway our first engine drops a portable tank at the beginning of the driveway, then lays LDH up the driveway to get to the structure. Next apparatus is our tender with 1500 gallons. This tender fills the portable tank and begins the water shuttle. Next, our second engine connects to our previously laid LDH, and drafts from the Portable tank to deliver water to our first engine.
This technique has worked well for us and is still in its infancy. We have done many trainings on it and will continue to do so. We still have to use it at a working house fire, but I am confident that this technique will work. What are some of the techniques that your fire department uses, to get water to inexcessible areas? In your fire district do you have long, narrow driveways, and what do you use to combat those fires? Also, in the case of a house that is 25% involved would you pull 1 3/4 attack or 2 1/2 inch lines? What are your decisions based upon? Thanks and stay safe. Out from the driftless region.
We have long driveways in our area as well (at least 500' or longer) and this is the method we have perfected. Both engines carry 1,300' of 5" and both tankers are 3,500 gallons, we don't carry port a tanks on our engine only on the tankers (one on each side of tanker). First engine in drops the manifold and 5" at the road and drives in lane to fire, first tanker in backs in drive to the first engine and drops their port a tank along with the 3,500 gallons of water then leaves to fill up. Next arriving engine hooks into manifold/5" at the road and the next tanker drops both port a tanks (front and back of engine), from this time of the incident no traffic goes into lane all tankers dump for engine(s) at end of the road and they pump back to engine at the fire.
Both engines are 1,500gpm pumps and carry 1,000 gallons of tank water. Our theory with setting up a manifold at the end of the lane with the 5" is that in the case of an engine failing another engine just hooks into manifold and continues pumping back to the scene or if there is alot of water being used two engines will be pumping into manifold. Our initial attack will start with 1,000 gallons of tank water and the 3,500 gallons from the first tanker until other trucks arrive and until then they can start pumping immediately while waiting for the other trucks.
So what happens if the first initial engine fails, well they become a giant red shiny manifold then. Mutual aid is automatic in our area so water isn't a problem. This setup takes practice and more practice to become efficient but it does work and we have used it at numerous fires. The lifesaver to the whole process is the manifold that is dropped at the road with the 5" because we have had an engine fail but never missed a beat because nothing had to be shut down another engine was already hooked into the manifold.
As far as your second question on what line to pull I think a 2 1/2" is okay for a quick hit from the outside while the 1 3/4" is being pulled to go inside. A 2 1/2" inside a house is not very easy to work with.
We use this set up all the time. We carry 1200' of 5" on each pumper. Our tanker is 2000 gal. Both pumpers and the tanker have portable ponds. We will use 2 ponds sometimes 3 depending on room. Most of our area and mutual aid areas do not have hydrants so this is common practice for us. This way of getting water to a scene works well. It doesn't take long to set up and is effective. Like everything else we do practice,practice,practice. Has far as 1.75 hose or 2.5 hose it depends on what we find when we get there. Shortly we will be running 2" hose. So my guess is the 2.5 will be used less then it is now other too run the blitz fire.
Its good to see my FD isn't too far off from others. As I have heard recently its the same circus, different clowns.Thanks