I was recently on the phone with a friend from a neighboring fire department and we got on the subject of laying in at a structure fire. My department practices first in engine laying in his practices second in engine laying in. I am looking for feed back. I am thinking about reccomending to my department having the second in engine lay in. looking for good feedback.

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I think it depends on the incident. If as the first due engine pulls in and it's obvious that it's a working fire then I think they should lay in. If it's hard to tell what the first in is arriving to then I would let the second due in lay the supply line. One thing that also needs to be considered is if you have a truck company responding, you need to leave room for them to get up close and not be blocked by the supply line.
This is really going to depend on your department, manpower, area served, etc.

Big cities with another engine coming close behind first in can afford to let the second in drop; further out in vollie\paid-on-call\rural departments area IMO first in should lay in.

Being that water supply is so very important--and I know some are going to say most fires can be extinguished with tank water--I personally think for my department first in should lay. And we do. Made this change after responding MA to our neighbor and the fourth truck in laid in. (we won't get into details on that fire) And that fire was beyond tank water shortly after arriving. (shouldn't have been, but I really don't want to get into details and get my BP too high) Anyways, in our area and those closest that we respond to MA, there is a possibility of a significant delay in the second engine\truck (quint) arriving or a tanker shuttle being established. The other possibility for us is that second truck could get in an accident and our water supply could be delayed even further, so we plan for the worst right off the bat. It is also possible that our second engine doesn't even leave the station depending on the time of day.

We need to know that we have water immediately. And we usually respond with 5 on our first engine, so 1 of the back seats tasks is to dress and connect the hydrant. Then he goes on to stretching a backup line.

I think there is a place for both ways of doing it, and it is totally dependent on your response and manpower.
Here typically: residential, second due lays in (on occasion if it's a short lay 1st due may wrap the hydrant, second will secure water supply); commercial, first due hits the standpipe, second to the front and third hits the hydrant. We leave the front open for the ladder and trunk monkeys. There are always other options, depends on the situation. These really should be addressed in your SOP's
Not necessarily.

Especially the way we do it, assuming we have 5 on the engine. Line is stretched, 360 performed, fan possibly set up and ready to go while the other is dressing the hydrant. EO can get the line charged and then hookup the supply line.

This all happens simultaneously.

Course, this goes out the window when we respond in a non-hydranted area. lol
My township doesn't have a single hydrant so it's a non-issue for us. But our neighbouring dept does, and they use first in because second due is often too far away and might not make it before the first in engine runs out of water.

All depends on situations.
Our polocy is the first engine lays in from the hydrant. If we get to the scene and feel we need supply we may have the 2nd in truck supply but normally the 1st in truck will always do this per call from the duty officer at the scene according to his size-up.
We just re-did our SOP's and our first in catches a hydrant, or if none are available, makes sure we have at least 2 tankers en-route. Our hydrants are iffy at best, and God forbid the second due engine wrecks or gets caught up by a train, we need to get the wet stuff on the red stuff. It all depends, and what works for you may not work for someone else.
Back in the US (Prince George's County) First engine lays out, pretty much always. If they don't have a hydrant, they start a split lay and radio instructions to the second, or tell the second to reverse lay to them. If you have a big crew (or a probie) the layout guy connects to the hydrant and starts water. If you are short, the layout load is dropped and the layout guy jumps back on the engine.

By having the first engine lay out, you have an in-built redundancy with the second due unit. If they fail, you have water, if you have a problem, second engine gives you water. Much safer and faster this way.
it all depends whos first due and who gets there first thats how my dept does it because we have mutual aid agreements with 3 or 4 other fire depts. that are close to our district but i depends on the time of day tht we get the tone, if a certain time of day one dept goes and if its another time of day another dept gets toned. my dept was 3rd due for an arson fire a few months back and we were the 2 engine there and we layed in 2 not 3rd like we got toned so tht how my dept handles this
Allow your company officers to be flexible; many factors can affect the decision to lay in or to not lay in at a working fire. Crew size ETA of the second due or the report of life safety issues are just a few of those possible factors. There is always a fire that won't fit the mold and limiting the options may just compound the problem and delay a proper resolution. If the administration does not feel comfortable with the officers choosing the tactics then there may be a training problem. Perhaps the company officers and those who may have to be an acting officer need to practice managing incident scenarios to become comfortable with identifying when to lay in.
For our dept. SOP states the 2nd due hits the Hydrant and supp;ies the first. Unless a commercialthen 2nd due hits the FDC and 3rd supplies. But every incident is diff. sometimes the first due will hit the hydrant if its close and we have enough manpower on board.
alot of this depends on what you are presented with and speaking an engineer (first see if there is a plug at the scene- shortest didtance between 2 points...that kind of thing)

On commercial building fires as the 1st due i like to drop a dead line of 5" from a plug on the way in and have the 2nd due attach (max the hydrant by attaching to the steemer and 2 duce and a halfs) and pump it to me for additional GPMs and send their manpower to the scene. this minimizes the amout of vehicles at the scene which leaves room for the truck guys. that works better for me if i'm on the quint because aerial devices and long lays dont work well. but like i said at the beginning, i like to hit a hydrant thats alredy at the scene

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