Wrapping the Hydrant


Minimize all kinks with plenty of hose when wrapping hydrant.


When catching a hydrant always get plenty of LDH hose around the hydrant. It takes ten feet when catching a corner or 180 catch. It is very easy to come up short and create an unwanted kink or kinks that could cost you greatly in your available fire flow.


Also consider later arriving companies they may be blocked by supply line. When possible loop your LDH to the inside or soil side and not out into the street. The above photo is an example how the line can greatly close down a street. If we were to loop inside it would allow for more street access of later arriving companies.

Size Up Tactics


What are your concerns? How will you attack with three Engines responding with two on each? What size line and where? Can you vertically ventilate? Where is the FLOW PATH?

What are your concerns here? When can you vent a TRUSS ROOF? What’s more dangerous; a Residential Truss roof or a Residential Truss floor?

Water Supply— When do we secure a hydrant?


When do we need to pump LDH?

When do you need to pump LDH? This Company is Moving Big Water.

Water Supply

Do you pre-connect NST/Storz to hose or leave in hydrant bag? Top Three Photos By: Phil Cohen “Camden NJ”

Does your company/driver understand how to pump the four-way valve?

When do we need to pump LDH? Do you use some type of fourway valve?

First Due Stretched Attack line. Second Due gave a three inch feeder "water supply" and supported Fire Attack. Third Due secured hydrant. Just a thought for some Suburban/County Fire Tactics. This allowed for a rapid and successful knock down with timely searches and ventilation.

Securing a hydrant is so high on so many Fire Ground Commanders’ check list; they sometimes fail to really evaluate the Fire Flow needs. They have it ingrained to get a hydrant. First, I would like to say most Working Fires are controlled with Tank Water. And most, if not all LODDs have nothing to do with a lack of on-scene water. I am a big advocate of using water to need more. So, why do we put in our tactics text books that the second due secures water? Or better yet place it in our SOGs? I will tell you why! Because some time in the past; we ran out of water trying to make a knock on a FIRE. Then the following day a MEMORANDUM came out “FIRST DUE WILL SECURE A HYDRANT”. I guess the thinking is that this would guarantee success at all fires.

Do not miss-read this post. I would love to have a hydrant in front of every structure that was on fire. This is not the case. So we must train on decision making with conditions at hand. When dealing with a normal size house and your first two engines carry Suburban Booster Tanks/Suburban Manning, evaluate your capabilities. Time Your Tank and account for Tactical Priorities!

Well, what if the first on-scene Engine “crew of three with 752.5 gallons of water on board” has a one room fire on the second floor of a small private dwelling with possible entrapment? Now how important is it for second due to secure a hydrant while only two firefighters stretch an attack line and try and advance in and upstairs with a return staircase. The FLASHOVER will happen before you even get a supply line in place and even then the line will not take back what has already occurred. Let’s evaluate the needs here. More firefighters to assist getting a line upstairs to extinguish with Gallons per Second/PRE-VENT FLASHOVER or have second due secure a hydrant so when the house goes fully involved because the crew of three could not reach the one room fire they will have a secured water supply. Then will the static supply lay of 500’ really supply what you need? Please don’t put the cart before the horse. Just because the First Arriving Engine secures a hydrant does not guarantee success. But, if you’re going to secure a hydrant then why not do it 100%. You think, what is a 100%? That would be when the hydrant is fully tapped and a Pump pulling the water and then pushing it. There can be over 500 GPM difference at only 300’ of LDH. Remember friction loss does exist in LDH. Seven pounds per 100’ using 5” at a 1000 GPM and 20 pounds per 100’ of 4” at 1000 GPM flow. The other problem is the residual water available when not fully tapping the PLUG. We have found nearly 25% more water available when fully tapping.

Success is only a possibility when Firefighters FIRST and Fire Officers Second, understand Fire Ground Tactics. Firefighters are the ones stretching and applying the water. They are the ones at the hydrant by themselves.  Fire cannot be extinguished with Strategy alone. Fires cannot be extinguished without Tactics. So make sure your Firefighters can perform their required Tactics and then confirm your Officer knows when and why to call for specific types Tactics to be performed. Just simply stating to always catch a hydrant first will not guarantee success.

When looking at your water supply capabilities look at your hydrant bag first. Does it carry two ball valves to full tap plug? Do you have a 2.5” NST to 5” storz for the plugs that do not have a steamer and/or it is unable to be opened? Does your hydrant bag has the steamer to storz connection in the BAG or pre-connected to the hose in bed? I HIGHLY RECOMMEND do not pre-connect!! Having it pre-connected does not SAVE TIME. It only limits your capabilities. When your bag has everything but the steamer to storz, it’s incomplete. What if you do a reverse supply and the steamer to storz is left at the scene and the Hydrant firefighter now has everything but the BIG CONNECTION? What if you need to hook up to a 2.5” port? Now you must remove before connecting.  What if you decide to hook-up a four way valve? Then, there are the ones that will not swivel freely and your LDH gets turns in it. If it was not pre-connected, you just spin it on and then click in the storz. LAST and MOST important!!! Connecting storz with locks on them is a ONE PERSON JOB. Disconnecting storz with locks will most likely be a TWO PERSON JOB. Do you carry a pipe wrench for hydrants that are old and your hydrant wrench cannot get a grip on valve? Escambia had a Fire where the hydrant wrench would not work because it would not close enough to grip.

So if you really need hydrant water than make the most of it. The Big Fires need Big Water. If you’re dealing with a house fire and people are possibly trapped evaluate your priorities and manpower available. It is awesome if you have Engines and Trucks arriving at the same time as to always allow the Second Due Engine to secure a hydrant. The problem is most of the Fire Service does not have this available.

So at your next Fire ask yourself if it is more manpower or more water you need first. If it is water you need; make the most of your supply.

Why would you not apply a hose clamp everytime?

Why would you not apply a hose clamp? This allows the hydrant firefighter to charge hydrant and advance to scene.

Are you think about a split lay? What if the NST to Storz was pre-connected?

Do you consider split lays? How does this assist fast water? How does this assist with Big Water?

Do you take advantage of short sections of LDH?

Do you take advantage of short sections of LDH? Do you just pull another 100' off the rear to create more kinks and apparatus blockage?

The ability to allow more apparatus into the scene. The ability to control water supply at the scene.

Escambia Engine 4 Hydrant Bag. What do you carry and where?

Direct Water Application “The Transitional Attack”


Direct Water Application Escambia

Why does this not push FIRE? Why is it ok that FIREFIGHTERS are inside? Is this an aggressive attack?

Crew is inside making the push.

This is the Back Up Line Assisting the Interior Crew make the push on FOUR ROOMS OF FIRE.

Firefighters are inside pulling and Flowing while they open the roof. Do you think the above picture is showing an aggressive TACTIC?

Transitional Attack Taking Place in a Large City! It worked. Great call by the Battalion Chief...

Fire Out! They HIT it HARD with Engine mounted Deck Gun while opening up and making access for interior attack lines. Transitional : passage from one state, place, stage, or subject to another : CHANGE!!! Photo by: Pat Grace

Vent Enter Search “VES”


They did it and saved a life!

VES   Vent Enter Search

She was in that room of fire. If not for VES, she would be DEAD! The Fort Walton Beach FD, Saved her LIFE with VES Tactics. Was it worth it?

What does the term VES mean?  Can you properly perform the tasks required to VENT, ENTER, and SEARCH?  Does your department utilize this practice?  Training, Strong SOPs, and the Proper Mindset will allow for the best utilization of this aggressive search and rescue tactic.  While VES may not be performed at every fire, when used properly, it gives us a greater chance making a rescue or completing our primary search in a timely manner.

For instance, in a two story dwelling with fire on the first floor, extending upstairs, there is the possibility of occupants being trapped on the second floor (bedrooms) due to fire extension having cutting off their only exit, the unenclosed stairwell.  As a member of the four person truck company, we can deploy our resources into a two pronged search and rescue attempt.  The inside team will force entry and locate the fire with the engine company, and begin the primary search from the interior.  The outside team will search areas above and/or adjacent to the fire, utilizing VES tactics.  This means they will seek alternative entry points (windows on the backside or second floor), create a vent, make entry, and search a single room.

There are several important things to take into account to successfully carry out VES tactics.  You must have all of the necessary tools, you must perform a proper size up, and you must direct your efforts to the most endangered areas that are most likely occupied (usually bedrooms above or on the backside of the fire).  Once you have picked your target entry point, there can be no hesitation. Speed and efficiency, or the lack thereof, can make or break the VES operation.  This is why realistic training, proper technique, and aggressive SOPs are so important.

Interior primary searches are conducted every time we enter a structure to aggressively attack the seat of the fire.  However, firefighters searching for life using the tactic of Vent, Enter, and Search (VES) is much less common. The reasons for this include the lack of knowledge, the lack of training, and a lack of fundamentally sound fire ground SOPs or SOGs that support VES.  Additionally, many people feel that performing VES is just too dangerous.

Performing an aggressive primary search is both mentally and physically challenging.  But, we are taught and train on this technique from early on in our firefighting careers.  However, VES techniques are not taught as a primary means of search, and, therefore often get overlooked as a viable search option due to the aforementioned reasons.  Done properly, and based on a sound size up, and following departmental SOPs, VES can be a very SUCCESSFUL and SAFE operation performed on the fire ground.

VES is a TACTIC that requires Training and TEAM WORK. Do not just randomly perform. There was fire out multiple windows/door in the front. The first due Engine hit it with a 2.5" attack line while the Second Due Engine performed VES through the rear. They worked as a team to knock down heavy fire and locate trapped occupant via rear window. It does work when performed properly!!!

Have you properly trained?    Do you have VES assignments?                                                                Can you and one other perform second floor VES?               What tools do you need?