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  • ENGINE CO. OPS - THE BACKUP FF

    The backup FF (hydrant man,layout man) on a hoseline is a very important and often underated position. This is a key position that can lead to success, delayed success, or failure of an engine company peforming its job.
    WHAT IS THE JOB OF YOUR BACKUP FF ON A HOSELINE ?
    What does he do ?
    Where does he operate?

    LET'S HEAR IT !! try it at your dept.

  • #2
    Unfortunately the officer is the back up firefighter in my dept. And as you can imagine it is difficult for the officer to hump hose and to be a leader at the same time. I do agree the back up F/F (officer) is imperative to the interior attack. If the hose is not stretched correctly and kink free you might lose the structure or worse yet another company will get your fire.

    One thing we did at my station was to switch nozzle. We now use a low-pressure nozzle fog with a built in smooth bore nozzle. The low-pressure fog is pumped for 75psi as opposed to 100psi and the smooth bore is pumped at 50psi. The nozzle reaction is reduced and one firefighter can handle the line by himself. The officer still must help with the stretch, but now he can see the big picture and not the back of the lineman’s coat.

    Here are the stats. on the nozzle

    150 GPM at 75lbs NP for the fog

    180 GPM at 50lbs NP for the smooth bore.

    This works for us and before anybody asks no we do not have trouble with the line kinking.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Visit the Firefighters Page at www.workingfire.net




    [This message has been edited by David Polikoff (edited 04-26-2001).]

    Comment


    • #3
      It all depends on the situation. If we are first due, we will drop dual supply lines at the hydrant, lay in then go begin fire attack. If the second due unit is delayed, we may drop a firefighter at the hydrant to charge the lines. Once the hydranrt is charged, the hydrant man will go join the line for the fire attack. Depending on staffing, there may two or three firefighters on the line (including the company officer). The second due engine will either drop off a fire fighter to charge the supply lines or the second due engine will pump to the attack engine from that location. The second due crew will assist in fire attack, taking another line off of the first arriving engine.

      ------------------
      Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
      Captain Gonzo


      [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 04-26-2001).]

      Comment


      • #4
        We usually average 6-10 on the engine, especially if they tone it out and it sounds good, so we always leave at least one on the hydrant and still have enough to take two lines in if needed. Our back up FF's help advance the hose and anything else the two man team may be required to do, vent, search etc.
        David, I must be missing something on your post because I thought the days of one man hose teams were over, especially with two in two out. I can't believe a department like Montgomery Co. would have SOP's or an acknowledged practice that so disregards all the safety standards and MFRI training. Thats why I say there must something I'm missing.

        Comment


        • #5
          When you run 3 man engines, the one guy on the line happens all the time. 2 in 2 out law doesn't do you any good. Even Detroit usually staffs at 3. I'm holding out hope for 1710 to help us out on this one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Brian, The officer and the lineman go in together. Now that we use low-pressure nozzles the officer does not have to be physically on the line with the lineman he is there keeping an eye on the situation and monitoring the conditions (usually next to the lineman). That is what an officer is supposed to do. He also has the flexibility to knock out a search of the fire area. We always go into an IDLH with a minimum of 2 people and yes we are bound by the 2 in 2 out law. In the area that I run (on the DC line) we have the luxury of having our 2nd due engine right on our heels, so we never have to wait to start an attack.

            I hope this clears up any misconceptions. I can see that I was no very clear in my post.

            David Polikoff


            ------------------
            Visit the Firefighters Page at www.workingfire.net

            Comment


            • #7
              Oz of the drywall,
              The layout dude should be big enough to hold out any rival companies by throwing elbows into those who enter the first due engine's operating space!
              Seriously though the last place you hate to see them is 2 feet behind the officer when you have to make another corner before getting to the seat of the fire. When advancing the 350' or 400' preconnects, a good layout man makes the stretch successful or can blow the whole thing. In many walkups without standpipes, they are the most vital part of the team.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oz,

                Another great topic, my man. It's great to see discussions on firefighting tactics and issues like this on this forum, rather than all of the other whining and crying that usually goes on!

                In DC, as you know, we run a 4 man engine. As such, we initially usually only have two men on the line. The layout man (hydrant man) usually can assist in moving the line after he has taken care of the water supply.
                However, durring the initial attack, it is usually only the lineman and officer. The key to making an aggressive and effective attack in this situation is to have enough line in place and strategically situated before it is advanced into the fire area. For instance, in the case of a garden appartment fire or walk-up fire, force the door of the appartment across the hall(or landing)from the fire appartment and flake out at least one length of hose into that appartment. Then, force the door to the fire appartment and make your attack. This makes it much easier for the two-man team to quickly advance into the appartment. The back-up man (officer) doesn't have to stay at the door and pull line up the stairs or around a corner. Making a large loop in the hose just outside the appartment or on the stairs or landing can also serve the same purpose. Making a loop on the stairs is especially usefull for attacking upper floor fires in private dwellings. In either case, allways make sure you have enough hose in place to reach every room in the appartment (or floor of a private dwelling) before starting your attack. Remember, an agressive engine company is allways moving forward, not back to get more line!

                Comment


                • #9
                  The back-up guy is the second man on the line. #1- he flakes out the line in such a way as to provide for the easiest advance of the hose. ie flake up the stair above the fire floor, straight down the hall, flaked into opposite apartment, hall below fire floor when fire is intense. #2- he takes up the nozzle reaction for the nozzleman. #3- maneuver with nozzleman so he doesn't have to do much work.

                  ...should have read dcfd's post first- he said it well.

                  [This message has been edited by mamaluke (edited 04-27-2001).]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To OZ10engine
                    The Backup firefighter assists the nozzleman. By helping to flake out line prior to it being charged. Once water is at the nozzle he should line up behind the nozzleman on the same side of the line. When the nozzleman turns right he should move the hose left (his line movements are opposite that of the nozzle). He should support the nozzlemans movement by taking the brunt of the lines back pressure on himself so that the nozzleman is better able to whip and move the line around and through the fire area. Some nozzlemen don't want the backup firefighter touching them in case they need to move quickly in an emergency. In that case use your strength to lighten up on the line without direct physical contact. Be ready to relieve on the nozzle and keep your head up looking foward as you advance so that you can see how your doing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oz here,
                      For those who responded,thanks guys excellent stuff, good info.

                      The lack of response to this post disappoints me. One would think this is not an important topic for discussion. I guess what color helmets are, lights on POV's, and what was on 3rd Watch are more important items to discuss in the "FF's Fourm". Then again, maybe not to many people know what the backup FF's job is.
                      The backups job does vary to some extent. Alot depends on manpower. How many guys are on the hoseline? The more guys on the line, the less each man will have to do and the smaller operating area each man will have.
                      Here are my thoughts on the topic, gonna keep it simple.
                      What is the job of the backup FF on a hoseline?
                      TO MAKE SURE THE NOZZLEMAN HAS ENOUGH HOSE TO GET WHERE HE NEEDS TO GO,ASAP. This means flaking,stretching, and humping the hoseline. Outside and inside,up and down stairwells,through doors,around turns,down hallways,etc. Other duties include taking up back pressure for the nozzleman, helping maneuver the nozzle,chocking doors, and maybe some force entry. Do what you need to do to get the job done.
                      Where does the backup FF operate?
                      BETWEEN THE NOZZLEMAN AND THE ENGINE. The backup can operate anywhere between these 2 points stretching/moving the line to make sure the line gets where it needs to go. As I said before alot depends on manpower, the more guys on the line the more your job is reduced. If you are one of those companies that has your backup FF 2ft. behind the nozzleman the whole time and nobody feeding line between the backup and the engine, your chances of success are slim. If you don't believe me try it at a drill.
                      One of the reasons engine companies fail to do their job is, NOBODY IS HUMPING LINE.
                      ENGINE COMPANIES SAVE LIVES BY PUTTING FIRES OUT,QUICKLY.

                      READ THE ABOVE POSTS, THEY ARE BASIC AND GOOD.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        On most runs, the layout man takes the O2.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For us it depends on how many are on your Company.

                          If you have only 3, one is at the pump, one is on the knob and the officer backs him up and flakes out the hose. Not very effective or efficient to me. Nor do I believe is it safe because the officer is no longer observing conditions and monitoring progress. Rather he is humping hose down and around the last corner.

                          But our chiefs haven't convinced the right people we need more men.

                          If we have 4 men it doesn't change much. The powers that be would rather have the officer out side as Incident Command in this case so the two firemen make entry as a two man nozzle team and the officer stays out side until a chief arrives...or doesn't even come in side at all.

                          Either way our back-up man assumes the role of back-up man, and the Door man and now that I think about it officer as well(in that he now is tasked with observing the big picture and the conditions encountered). My impression is this is not very safe, however I am just a fireman and don't make those Operational decisions.

                          How many of you guys have your SOPs stating that the officer should be observing and monitoring vs. working and dragging hose?

                          Two cents from a fireman.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's good to see that someone else realizes just how important the layout position is. As was stated before it can make or break you in certain situations, especially when running a 400' attack line or humping hose up stairs. It's incredible how fast you can get the line to the fire with a good layout man.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oz - once again, great post. I hope you continue the great topics and don't get discouraged from the lack of replies. A lot of guys, like myself, pretty much agree with the other replies, so they don't feel the need to reply ... until now, that is. As for our company, the 2nd man's job is exactly how you stated it - to do whatever it takes to make it easier for the nozzleman to make a quick, effective, and safe knock on the fire. Usually that means humping, flaking, stretching, and otherwise controlling hose. We struggle in our company to stress the job of the 2nd man. All too often, guys think the 2nd man's job is to be up the nozzleman's *** just for the sake of being there.
                              Keep the great topics comin' and stay safe.

                              Comment

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