OK here we go. This debate is as passionate as the smooth bore Vs fog nozzle debate. I am going to take a stab at it. I believe that there are situations that allow for a low friction loss 1-3/4" or 2" handline to be used in a highrise fire. And you say?
I say the DCFD uses nothing but 1 1/2" lines in it's high-rises, such as they are (not more than about 15 stories, and usually if they are that tall on one side, the FDC is on the uphill side on the 4th floor or so). Each engine carries two 100' x 1 1/2" hose packs, which are used 10 times to extend a preconnected line for every 1 time they're hooked to a standpipe.
I'm not saying it's ideal. If it were my decision, I'd change it. It just is.
Big fire-big hose, little fire-little hose, an open high rise... get big water 2.5" on it quick. R&C fire, might be able to get away with 1.75". The thing to remember is if you bring too small of a gun to a fight... you have a hard time switching it to a bigger one... start big, "Y" it off if you want smaller.
Some around us use the 2.5 in highrise fires but mostly to get the least amount of friction loss before gating it down through a (Y) for smaller attack lines. I have rarely heard of an incident requiring a 2.5 highrise attack line. They are difficult to manuever, your manpower is exhausted from the hike as well. The biggest factor in highrise fire tactics is they are usually a compartmentalized, underventialted fire and therefore even if you had multiple apartments going, the 1.5 or 1.75 line should be able to make a good attack.
my personal choice is 50' 2-1/2 from the standpipe to the door with a wye for 100' of 1-3/4 or 2" (I like the 2") with a straight tip nozzle. i got into a pissing contest with my CO over straight tip vs. fog. i pointed out what tyler said, you bring too litttle a gun to the fight and you loose. i have no problem with fog BUT i'll take the fire killing power of a straight tip 5 stores up vs. fog everytime. (big fire=BIG WATER)
why would you not want to have a 2 1/2" line for high-rise fires? What if that window fails and wind blows into the Apt.? Id much rather have that much more water to help me back out to the stairwell. High-rises by me reach up to 32 stories and downtown can reach near 100 stories. I think its a stupid argument for the use of 1 3/4" line in high-rises. 1 1/2" line? you gotta be shittin me. We donate a lot of money to the burn center here but I don't want to be there using their facilities! 2 1/2" line is more bulky and harder to handle and manuever but its worth the extra water.
So Heights your saying you use a 2.5" attack line on every hi-rise fire? Even a single room and contents fire your stretchin all 2.5" for the potential of a window failure, and a wind driven fire? Tyler, what is the average square footage of a compartmentalized hi-rise fire, and what is the required fire flow for fully involved compartment. It's not that much water unless you are fighting a fire in the penthouse. Is the 2.5 really going to provide that "gun so to speak" as a well placed smoothbore on a 1.75" or 2" line could? Heck I have low psi fog nozzles on pre-connected lines that flow 200 gpm. How much manpower do you have to get (2) 2.5" lines in place? Our companies are lucky to have an officer and 2 workerbees. Between the three of them, I have seen two lines in operation before the next in gets up there.
So manpower and occupancy has alot of factor.... Most of our hi-rise occupancies are sprinklered. When operating correctly, and in my experience at a few hi-rise fires, the most fire power we needed was an APW and some water vacs.
I have a few things to say about this but I would like to start with a simple reminder: 1 Meridia Plaza Philadelphia, PA. For all of you younger guys, look it up. This one call pretty much set the standard in place for Hi rise Operations and 3 members had to die in order to make all of us safer when attacking a Hi rise fire.
Although I respect your opinion and your expertise, I would have to politely disagree weith you on one point. I believe the biggest factor in Hi rise operations to be MANPOWER. I know that we all are running with below the recommeded minumum staffing levels and that should be a crime in itself, but we can not allow this to kill more Firefighters. We have to increase our Box Alarm assignments and request heavier boxes and multiple alarms if and when necessary. We shouldn't abuse mutual aid but if any fire warrants a call for help, a hi rise fire does.
Now, back to the line selection. It is a scientifically and field proven fact the the appropriate GPM for a Hi rise fire is delivered with at least a 2" attack line with a smoothbore tip. All of the "Engine heads" can argue this until they are blue in the face but the numbers speak for themselves. I know that a 2" or 2 1/2" line is harder to handle and it takes longer to deploy but this is where manpower comes in to play. 2 members do make an Eng Co. and two of these 2 member Co's is not equal to one 4 or more member Eng Co. Also, two 1 3/4" lines does not equal one 2 1/2 or 3" line. We have to better staff our apparatus and utilize our members most efficiently in order to be able to stretch the best line for a fire instead of just the easiest one.
So, from my perspective, the answer is simple and only involves 3 steps:
1 Stretch larger lines w/ the appropriate nozzles for Hi rise fires 2 Establish bigger responses for Hi rises even if it means asking our neighbors for help 3 Train w/ our neighbors and all the Co's involved in Hi rise responses so we all are efficient at our assignments
This will not guarantee the survival of all of our victims or the safety of our members. That is in God's hands alone, But it will guarantee everyone a fighting chance and that is what everyone deserves.
On our engines we carry a dual purpose skid load. The skid load is 150' of 1 3/4 in a backwards roll. That is connected to spin down nozzle backed by 100' 2 1/2 shoulder load (not connected to engine but is backed by 550' additional 2 1/2). In our high rise bag we carry 6' of 3" hose connected to a wye. Along with reducers, tools and so on.
The officer has the option of bringing just the skid or additional 2 1/2. Big fire you bring big water.
2 1/2" is SOP for all hi-rises. we hook up to the floor below standpipe outlet. If the fire is on one of the lower flrs. (1,2 or 3) we may stretch a 1 3/4" if its suitable to conditions. Our hi-rises are large and usually built w/ cinderblock so even room and contents fires can get really hot! We just lost a FF on our engines on Feb 1st so now we're understaffed as well.
Back in the day (Prince George's County, MD) we would attack a high rise with either a 1 3/4, or a 2" standpipe pack. Those of you advocating bigger lines, I wonder how many high rises you serve in your first due. We would take the stairs for anything less than 10 floors (which was just about everything in our first due) and the thought of wrestling a 2 1/2" (which weighs a bloody ton) does not appeal.
You can put out one hell of a lot of fire with an 1 1/2". The 2 1/2" is good for exterior attack and master stream operations, but it is a bear to move around inside, and you don't gain a lot of additional knockdown for it.