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Why the 1 3/4 and fog nozzle for standpipe operations?

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  • Why the 1 3/4 and fog nozzle for standpipe operations?

    So, what we have in today’s “safety first” fire service is the widespread use of 1 ¾ hose with fog nozzles during standpipe operations. This is standard practice for many big and small departments around the country. What are the reasons behind the use of the small line and the fog nozzle for standpipe operations when the 2 ½ and the smooth bore nozzle are available?

    There are guys getting screamed at because their chin straps aren’t buckled, but there is no screaming when they connect to the standpipe with a small line and a high-pressure nozzle with a million moving parts. This is the result of a misguided “safety” movement. The emphasis on safety is huge now, but what’s the point if the focus is in the wrong areas? The “safety” movement is supposed to keep guys from dying…but it doesn’t. We still lose as many guys as we used to. This is because, when it comes to safety, we focus on the wrong things.
    ~stugats

    ...The Job Is Bigger Than All Of Us

    ...FTM-PTB

  • #2
    Because in "today's fire service" a higher priority is placed on looking professional rather than actually being a professional. Because of this type of mentality a lot of potentially dangerous problems are allowed to happen because we simply don't know better. How many times have you heard a chief say that we only do fires 7-10% of the time? This is why we have to justify the existence of everything else we do. Unfortunately, even though the fire incident rate is down, and may continue it's downward spiral, we're still killing off over 100 firefighters a year. Yet that fact is almost ignored by the pro-look crowd.
    Last edited by BLACKSHEEP1; 06-02-2003, 03:10 PM.

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    • #3
      Very good points made here. I agree with the point about the smooth bore nozzle. We do use 1 3/4 hose though.

      All of our high rise structures are sprinklered, and the smooth bore and 1 3/4 combination has worked well for us. We do have larger lines available as "second in".
      "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

      IACOJ

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      • #4
        I agree 100% with the 2.5" line being used for standpipe operations. Let's look at one example:
        First anything could happen to a standpipe or sprinkler system, Murphy's law would put the fire on the one day that the building firepump is being worked on, so I wouldn't count on it. If it works you won't need any hose but it is a moot point.
        I think we can all agree that in a highrise office with the open floor space needs a 2.5" line. If you show up and anything is showing, by the time you get up there you will have a much bigger fire and what could have been a 1.75" fire is now too big to control.
        Highrise office fire are far less frequent then a residential fire.
        Most of us getaway with using a 1.75" for our house fires. If we show up and one or two rooms are going it isn't much of a problem.
        Now after we show up we have to go up to it and it takes 10 minutes the fire has grown to the point where it isn't an easily makable fire. Even a small appartment could be trouble, say 25X25 is going. it requires 200 + gpm to extinguish. Now add a lack of ventilation and some strong winds and your not going to make it with the one line. Sure you can use a second line, but the reach won't be there. and one big line is much faster to deploy then two smaller ones.

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        • #5
          I agree with ADSN. I still think it is OK to have the first in crew take up a 1 3/4 hose depending on the structure and your companies knowledge of it.

          The problem is, a lot of departments have become complacent. Some will argue that the weight and difficulty in handling 2 1/2 inch hose makes it a poor choice for high rise operations. Bulls**t. It is a training issue. Train with the big hose and you will be able to operate with it much more effectivley.
          "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

          IACOJ

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          • #6
            Our High Rise packs are 100' of 2.5 with a Combo nozzle.On a few stand pipe systems I have noticed a 2.5" cap with a 1.5" fitting.
            Last edited by dfdex1; 06-02-2003, 11:45 AM.

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            • #7
              Ours are 150 ft of lightweight synthetic with an 1-1/4 smoothbore on it. The other end has an angle fitting with a gauge that fits the standpipe connection, this way you have some control over any excess pressures, if the pressure is not enough, then we add smaller tips to the nozzle to get where we need to be. I would be extremely leary of having a fog on a hi-rise line that the tip cannot be removed. I've seen all kinds of trash fire out of the end of our s/b nozzles that would clog up a fog. If you can't clear that tip, you can really screw yourself over. As far as using a 1-1/2 hose cabinet, in my opinion,and with the friction losses involved with that, you might as well not have a standpipe, start the stretch up the stairwell.

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              • #8
                What do the big citys use for their high rise packs?

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                • #9
                  WSFD uses 100' of 1 3/4" hose with a combo nozzle with a pistol grip. It is carried in one of the high-rise sholder slings.
                  No longer an explorer, but I didn't wanna lose my posts.

                  IACOJ 2003

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                  • #10
                    1.75" line and a fog tip as the first line off a standpipe is simply criminal!
                    Any department who advocates it or has it as a written SOP would be criminally negligent in the event of a death or serious injury after fire operations were underway.

                    This is not a fog vs. solid opinion. The initial line from a standpipe must be effective in the event the system cannot be augmented by the pumper. This being the case, maximum line size and a smooth bore nozzle will minimize friction loss in an un-supplied system.

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                    • #11
                      1.75" line and a fog tip as the first line off a standpipe is simply criminal!
                      Any department who advocates it or has it as a written SOP would be criminally negligent in the event of a death or serious injury after fire operations were underway.
                      Where does it state that in the NFPA standards?

                      The initial line from a standpipe must be effective in the event the system cannot be augmented by the pumper.
                      What if your SOP's/ROG'S state you cannot make an interior attack unless the standpipe system is supplied/augmented by an engine?
                      My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
                      "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                      George Mason
                      Co-author of the Second Amendment
                      during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
                      Elevator Rescue Information

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                      • #12
                        How about One Meridian Plaza http://www.nfpa.org/PDF/MeridianPlaza.PDF?src=nfpa
                        Or the Interstate Bank Building Fire Los Angeles http://www.firetactics.com/Interstate.pdf

                        In both fires low water pressure made the 1.75" lines and fog nozzles worthless. In LA they fixed the problem and the 1.75 and 2.5" were able to do something. One Meridian still stands empty. What more do you need?

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                        • #13
                          Devil's Advocate, again;
                          LA:
                          The report states the initial attack lines where 2", and all sizes where used during the interior attack-1 3/4", 2" and 2 1/2". Initial reports indicated low water pressure due to no fire pumps running or engine pressure on the system. Initially, static pressure was all that was available. Even a smooth bore needs some pressure to work. System was pressurized shortly by both the firepumps and engines.

                          Meridian Plaza:
                          Again, inadequate pressure due to standpipe equipment failure/mis-adjusted pressure reducing valves. This fire was extinguished by automatic sprinklers on the 13th floor, not firefighters with handlines and smooth bores. Again the system was augmented by fire department engines. If memory serves, there was only 30psi available on the standpipe discharges. Is that adequate for a smooth bore? And would you mount an interior attack with that kind of pressure?

                          I edit my post here to state that I am NOT anti-smoothbore. If in doubt, do a search and you will see that I have posted many times in favor of their use. Do we have smooth bores on our highrise packs, no. Should we have one available, absolutely with-out a doubt. The sooner the better.
                          Last edited by SPFDRum; 06-02-2003, 10:32 PM.
                          My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
                          "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                          George Mason
                          Co-author of the Second Amendment
                          during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
                          Elevator Rescue Information

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Excellent question stugats.

                            Blacksheep makes a point that I will agree with. Most Chiefs are more woried about looking good rather than preparing for the rare but inevitible high-rise job.

                            There are many factors however that combine to create this grossly unsafe situation in many FDs. Habbit, Ignorance & Denial.
                            Despite evidence and history that show use of 1 3/4 handlines with fog tips should not be used in Hi-Rise Ops many choose to ignore these facts and ensure that there will be more widows and fatherless children.

                            Habbit....Most Depts have a predominance of Private Dwellings and many fires in them and few highrises with fewer fires. The habit for these depts is to pull the crosslay (or whatever you call it) and go to work in a two or three story dwelling. The fires they face daily seem to go out fine with 1 3/4 so why bother changing, especially when it involves lots of stairs(assuming you are smart enough to avoid the use of the elevators when it is on lower floors). Who wants to carry 2 1/2 to the upper floors?!?!

                            Ignorance....Many don't realize or understand design issues or challenges that are unique to Standpipe Ops. Few know of NFPA 14 and that it specificly states that you SHOULD NOT use a fog nozzle off Standpipes or that most Standpipes were designed with Hydraulic calculations assuming the FD would be using 2 1/2" Hose. A recent article from Chief Dave McGrail of the Denver FD at www.firenuggets.com demonstrates the unpredicable condtions when a picture of a standpipe outlet from a upper floor of a Denver Hi-Rise was alsmost completly occulded from rust, scale and Debris.

                            Denial....I would wager that most depts out there that have High-Rises, have SOPs for High-Rise Ops that are unrealistic or simply inadequate.(If they have any at all) Many depts assume they'll wing it. And attack it just like every other fire. The only problem is that there is a distinct likelyhood they will end up with results that mirror those in Houston, Philly and Florida(I can't remember the city but it happened recently.) Civilians Die, Firemen Die and the Fire Service looks like incompetant fools because some Chiefs thought it wouldn't happen to them.

                            I have a question for the brother that stated policy prevents him from using standpipes without augmenting. You Show up a a highrise multiple dwelling in your district at 0300. There is a fire on the 7th Floor and inaccesible to ladders. The building contains mostly elderly retirees. There is a strong Northwind blowing into the fire appartment. Oh and by the way the elderly person who accidently started the fire while leaving the apartment triped and droped the walker in doorway leaving the hallway and all other residents exposed to the Blast furnace that has been created. You make your way up the stairs to the 6th floor and begin to hook up. The Truckies tell you that they can't make the hallway to search as they have heavy fire conditions preventing them from reaching the what are now multiple reports of trapped occupants in adjacent appartments...

                            ...Just then the Apparatus Operator of the Engine radios to tell you that he can't augment the siamese as one is cloged and the other has damaged threads...he will be signifigantly delayed as he now must augment via the first floor outlet.

                            Which comes to my question are you going to have a copy of that policy to show the occupants who are awating their rescue by you?
                            Or their families at the victims' funerals? "It says right here I can't operate off a standpipe untill it is augmented!" Do you just give up? What if the system can't be augmented because there are PRVs on the outlets and can't be removed?

                            Come on Bro, the book is a good thing but a policy such as this is about as unrealistic as they come. We are talking about real world problems that require real world soultions, a policy such as this does little to nothing to fix the problem. Would you agree?

                            And as far as criminal I couldn't say...but in a civil liabilty case it wouldn't be that hard with the documented history on the subject showing that it would be forseable that deaths would result from the use of 1 3/4 with fog tips. There are plenty of Documents from NFPA and NIOSH on that subject.

                            For those who are really interested in learing about this subject: Go to www.firenuggets.com and Subscribe for the ridiculously low rate of $9.95 for a whole year. There are many excellent articles by nationaly recongnized experts in the Field. Specifically Read all the artilces from Dave McGrail (Dec02-Jan03--Standpipes and Nozzles) and read the NIOSH reports http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/firehome.html about all fires but the High-rise Fires especially. OR scroll through the technical reports of the US Fire Admin for the same: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...s/techreps.cfm

                            FTM-PTB
                            Last edited by FFFRED; 06-02-2003, 11:27 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Good points, all. We did some tests here that indicated it would take about 20 minutes to geta line in operation on a hi-rise fire. That is probably the national average, however some of our chiefs were sort of in denial over this until we used several different engine companies to prove the point. It really does take 20 minutes, and you had better be prepared to start the attack off of whatever that fire pump will give you. The fire dept doesn't "pump" the system, (in most cases), in fact most fire departments, if you do the math may not be able to provide an adequate flow unless a short relay set up is used to build adequate pressure. This eats up staffing. The fire department pumpers are to supplement the building system, the building system should be doing all of the work, if the engine company over pumps the bldg system, you may find the system shutting down. For this reason, your depts prevention division needs to have it's ducks in a row. We recently had a fire in this area where not only did the standpipe not function, but the closest hydrant didn't either. The fire resulted in civilian death, and serious firfighter injuries. Of course, everyone tried to hang the I.C., and perhaps he did make some mistakes, but you tell me, in the real world, how many engine companies do you think it would take to overcome those problems? And what part did their prevention division play in that disaster?, especially if there was a recent inspection? In my opinion, you need gpm's and at potentially low pressures, until anyone comes up with a fog that will do that(I'm not discussing the tactics here, just the flow rate) you have to use the smooth bore.

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