Boston E.28 (Box 714 Imaging.com) Boston E.28, courtesy Box 714 Imaging
The 30-Second Drill is to provide a brief drill/discussion subject that can take no more than 30 seconds to read and reply to. A second purpose is to learn the differences and similarities of the answers across the viewing audience.


stopwatch imageA working fire beyond the scope of room and contents generally requires more than two hoselines. Many factors are used as guidance when stretching additional hoselines. Some of these are written into SOPs. Others are done based on the size-up and on scene information.


  • Outside of the backup line, what factors determine where additional hoselines are to go?
  • When arriving at a fire (not first-due), do you stretch your hoseline off the first due engine or off your own engine?
  • Does your department have any guidance as far as too many hoselines going up interior stairwells or using ladders or fire escape in your stretch?




  • Read more of Backstep Firefighter and other Fire/EMS bloggers at FireEMSBlogs.com.

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fire spread, exposures, protect life hazard, egress ingress

first due engine, unless will not accoplish the intended objective.

I would say the use of ladders and fire escapes in my particular area are too often overlooked to make closer access to the fire location and reduce the stretch.

Ok there it is....maybe a little longer than 30 sec however. Good quick drill.
There has been discussion about not pulling the 2nd line from the 1st pumper on the scene in case that pumper breaks down. I don't know where this started but in 36 years and many fires this has never happened to me. Usually the 2nd engine will supply the 1st from the hydrant and is a distance away. Pull additional lines from the 1st engine until you need more gpm than the pump can supply.
Back up line or 2nd lines, if the 1st line needs back up then send the "back up" line to their location to assist. If not, then our 2nd line will go above the fire or to the next interior exposure for confinment. Throw in a recsue and then your lines need to be placed between the occupants and the fire. If the fire is in the basement then the 1st line goes to the basement thru an exterior entrance if available if not down the interior stairs and the 2nd line is positioned at the top of the stairs to protect the 1st engine and maintain stairwell integrity. In any case you always need to have a line availabe to check the attic or cockloft.
This is not an easy answer and it all depends on the seat of the fire. In wind driven fires where the fire starts on the exterior and enters via windows, doors, or attic vents the 1st line needs to hit the exterior fire 1st ,prior to making an interior attack. In this case the 1st engine may have to stay outside and the 2nd line goes in.
If the first due hose jockeys stretched the first two lines properly (meaning appropriate size for thermal insult and to the right location) this should be fairly easy.

First line should go to the seat of the fire or if we have a life safety issue, the priority for the first line should be placed betweeen the fire and victim's primary means of egress.

Second line is the follow the hose on the ground and actually "back up" the primary attack line. Doesn't mean go find some fire from a different entry point, or go up / downstairs to be a hero... it means back your brothers up.

Third line in a perfect world - yes from a different engine, but you might not have one nearby dependant upon the # of apparatus in your department, the assignment of the second due, (might be reverse lay to water source) and/or actual placement.

BUT the third line goes the greatest exposure hazard from the thermal insult.

Ranch Type Dwelling- third stretched line should be ordered to whatever way the fire is expected to extend laterally.

Multi-Story Dwelling- third stretched line should be ordered to the floor above the fire - for extension or to protect the search above.

Disclaimer: - Like I said perfect world textbook answer. I personally arrive on a ladder and if I were to handle the third stretched line.... (unlikely) it would create a wicked rash on my hands and therefore would have to tap out, for the next tour of course.
Even if the attack pumper breaks down and stops, the 2nd due, or supply engine can just compensate and increase preasure to run the attack and back up lines. This makes the original attack pumper nothing more than an appliance like a manifold.

We've played around with it at work a few times, and it actually works.
First off, this is a very well written and posted discussion. What I like most about it is the graphic on the left hand side, with the text on the right. I've tried to do this as well but have not been successful. Well done Bill.

My answers:

1. additional hoselines would be required if there was exposure problems or other fire(s) to deal with or there was a rescue situation where emergency egress could be an issue.
2. using the first-in engines pump and hoselines are always preferable to keep as many engines in service as possible, after initial knockdown and extinguishment, it is not uncommon to move one or more engines back into their districts due to the long response times and having to deal with limited resources at times... having an engine company respond to a medical or MVA from the fire scene is also not uncommon so pulling equipment off all the engines just does not work for us.
3. too many hoselines is an oxymoron here... we only have so many engines and limited numbers of people for initial response. we also don't have a ton of multi-story structures... any multi-story structures that we do have make use of internal sprinklers and standpipe connections...

CBz
NOVA fireman. The only time we had to pump thru the attack engine was operator error, not a pump malfunction. Had a 2 alarm strip shopping center in Springfield years ago. Driver got the big eye and hit the fast idle and couldn't figure why it wouldn't go in pump gear.
LOL. Good to know we all have a "That Guy".
He still can't drive or pump but we somehow promoted him to captain. He's not good at that either.
Most of the answers pretty much nailed it. No real SOG on it, but pretty much no more than 2 lines in the stairs, certainly with 1 being the optimum. There are usually other options available.

I don't prefer ALL hoselines to be pulled from the first engine, or one engine. I HAVE experienced mechanical malfunctions in the past, and recently with the digital/computerized 'flow center' control...or whatever the hell it's called. First two lines may be stretched off the first engine, but anymore than that will engage another pumper.
With a multitude of lines of various length, diameter, and with both master streams and handheld lines with various nozzles in use...you get the picture.

One of the biggest problems I see all too often is the company that get's messed up anytime they gotta go with a static load stretch, in other words anything but a reel or a preconnect seems confusing. It's simple engine company ops 101, but that Matydale seems to be magnetic.
To my understanding, a first line is always backed up by a secondary line for egress and possible rescue, Not so sure where I learned it from or overheard or whatever have you, was to be as follows

First line- Fire Attack
second- Secondary and either same size or bigger, I would go with bigger in case that elephant gets mad your shooting it with a b.b. gun
Third- Ric line
Fourth- Search and rescue

Order isn't set in stone and is by no means absolute...
as for the other questions... It shouldn't matter unless you have the master stream going and 2 handlines off a standpipe,
Don't cavitate your engine

Of course even though that's what my department teaches, I've never seen it done.

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