I am a volunteer firefighter in rural georgia, and my department has always used our 1 1/2 preconnect as our primary attack lines. But while running mutual aid I have noticed other departments prefer to use booster line. I can see the convenience of booster line, its lighter, more maneuverable, and its a heck of alot easier to load on the truck. but on the other hand, you are sacrificing gallonage that may be necessary in the structure. I know each department is different, and have their own SOGs, so i would like to know what your SOGs say and what you prefer.

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Preconnect! Bigger the better and you never know when the environment will change and you need the extra water. We took our reels off about 6 year ago.
Old school: The guy in the jump seat grabs the booster nozzle as the rig pulls to a stop. He is on his way to the closest, or worst point of fire/smoke showing as the engineer dismounts. The first thing the engineer does is to start pumping from the booster tank to the booster hose. In seconds, you have water flowing on the fire. If there are two booster reels, you have twice the flow. It may not be the ideal amount, but it's something, getting a headway on the fire.

New school: No jump seats. No booster reels. Nothing smaller than 1.75, unless we're talking brush truck. Bumper discharge or crosslay is pulled and dragged to the fire, unless it is deemed unnecessary, at which point, it is probably 2.5 lines that are deployed. It's several minutes ticking by until the line is charged.

I liked getting water onto the fire in seconds, myself. Even 30 gpm is 30 more than nothing in the first few minutes after arrival. It can be the difference between making entry and substantial offensive attack or not, in some cases. Much of the initial decision-making and implementation of equipment is based on manpower, anyway. If you've got enough hands on deck, use them as soon as you pull to a stop.

Sometimes, it's difficult for an oldtimer to see some of the changes that have taken place, especially ones you disagree with.
Our station hasn’t used booster lines since long before I got on the department. we dont have any of them on any of our trucks. I have seen them in used in other stations and yes they are convenient but you are sacrificing water flow. I my upset some but its like bringing a pea shooter to a gun fight? Sure it may be ok and do the job once in a while on a small fire, but what happens if you underestimate the fire and its bigger than you thought and that booster line just won’t do the trick then what? It’s a little more work ( or is it) but we attack all our fires, grass fires to structure fires with 1 3/4 preconnects we also have 2 ½ preconnects as well , My opinion and it may not be right but its what we do hit it heavy and hard and you’ll go home a lot sooner . booster lines are old school . One thing you have to remember is that you need to use enough water to absorb the energy the fire is producing if not your just wasting your time and water,the fire won’t go out
With treated hose as long as you don’t get it too dirty you can just put it back on the truck not a lot of extra work really . We also have a 1 ½ trash line on our aerial which is rubber hose for those little fires its stored in the front bumper of the truck we just put it back in after the fire and if it needs to be cleaned we can hose it down at the hall while it’s still in the compartment
If people are still using booster lines (Red Lines) for structure fires, then there's something seriously wrong!

If you can't deploy a preconnected line (1 1/2" or larger) in seconds, and be in the door in under 2 minutes, then it's time to look at your training program, or quit.

I come from a place where we pride ourselves in getting lines (plural) off the rig and in the door very, very fast. If you don't, then another engine will.

Let's face it, 20 - 30 gallons per minute is not enough, no matter how quick it comes off the truck.
We use preconnect every time. The only time we use a booster line is wildland.
It’s really a question of fire flow or gpm out of the nozzle. A booster hose is 30-40gpm. A 1½” preconnect is 95-150 gpm. A 1¾” is around 250 gpm. A 2½” is a 500 gpm hand line in my department.

We stopped carrying a hose reel in exchange for a trash line on the front bumper. We found too many times a booster was pulled at the wrong fire and someone could get hurt. Firefighters should practice enough to be able to get any preconnect off the fire engine quickly. There is no denying that a self loading hose reel is easier to re-load. With a bumper mounted trash line everyone should be able to reload the hose by themselves quickly.

Keep in mind the fire service is moving away from the smaller 95-150 gpm preconnect nozzles and bumping up to higher flows because our structure fires are hotter now. Please don’t go backwards. Stay safe.
It doesn't take us any longer to deploy an 1.5" preconnect than it does a booster line. I don't see what the difference would be.
Exactly what I said in reply to another post. I don't get why it would take any longer to pull the 1 1/2" off. The whole DC metro area prides itself in it's quick and aggressive engine ops. Then again we also get insulted for running/moving fast on the fire ground. It's kind of a different world over here that you and me have. I honestly never saw it anywhere else,(other than PG, MD, NoVa) but it works.
We do not have booster lines on any of our rigs except for the brush tenders.

The smallest lines we use are 1.75 inch that flow a minimum of 150 GPM.

That's the equivalent of 2.5 booster lines flowing 60 GPM and it takes the same amount of manpower.

I'll take the superior knockdown power of the larger-calibar line.

Another advantage of not having booster lines is that it removes the ability of the company to use them inappropriately.
I prefer Preconnects.
I have read many of the comments below and agree with both sides of the debate. Living in rural, western NY, we have a lot of chimney fires this time of year. Most of the time, a booster reel would be plenty. Living in a rural community, a booster reel would work for numerous initial attacks, but you don't want to substitute a booster line for a 1.5 all the time. However, we purchased 2 new trucks a couple of years ago and neither one has a booster. It is fairly unanimous that we miss it greatly.
An ABC extinguisher will take care of most chimney fires with one shot, bottom to top with a tarp to contain the powder at the fireplace.

If you need to use a line and don't have a booster on the engine, just use your normal small-caliber hand line with 1% Class A foam. It accomplishes the same thing as a booster line but faster and with less water and less potential to crack the chimney liner.

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