In the next few posts on the site we are going to take a look at a few alternative hose line stretches. No building or situation is the same and a good engine company has to have many tools and techniques in order to ensure that the first line gets in service. *Disclaimer* The photos in this post are not mine they were taken off the internet from an article written for Fire Engineering Magazine.
The Rope Stretch
Benefits: Less hose needed to complete the stretch
Less staffing to complete the stretch (versus taking the interior stair that has corners to be managed)
Keeps stairway clear for victims, and in coming companies to the fire floor
Difficulties/Considerations: By passes a significant portion of the interior stair which could lead to victim/firefighter removal problems
Have to ensure that enough hose is pulled into the “launching point” in order to reach the fire area
Must tie charged line to substantial object or line will fall back to the ground
Substantial training, and building knowledge
Procedure: So you have elected to do a rope stretch. First you must pick your target, typically a window a floor below the fire. Stretching this line a floor below the fire allows you to stretch into the stair to provide some interior stair protection. However I have seen several succesful stretches the fire floor itself, it depends on the location of the stair, and your fire conditions.
Next you ave to ascend the stairs to your target area (don’t forget your rope). Then open the window (either break, or open again condition dependent) and lower the rope down to the ground were a fireman should be waiting to attach the rope to the hose line of your choice. Some elect to drop the rope bag down to the ground, while this can be effective it can also cause a hazard, and can get caught up on window AC units, awnings, and balconies. The better option is to lower the rope down so that you can steer it around objects and ensure that it does not hit someone unsuspectingly.
Now you can utilize the above method of attachment, but I recommend attaching a carabiner, or snap hook to the rope and bending the hose on itself making a loop then running the rope through the loop and attaching it back to itself. This method will save time and take away the knot tying aspect which some have a hard time doing especially under pressure. However if you do not have snap hooks or a carabiner then you have to know the procedure for tying knots on dry and charged hose lines.
Once the rope is attached it is time to haul it up!
Utilize a smooth hand slide to ensure that your hands are always touching the rope, that way it will not fall back to the ground. Remember to stretch enough line into your launching point to be able to reach the fire area and get to all the points on the fire floor. Once you have enough hose on the floor tie it off to a substantial object with a rope hose tool, the rope you used to stretch the line, or webbing. Once the hose is secured call for water.
The rope stretch is and can be a useful tool in any Engine Company arsenal, however it takes training, precision, and good fireman ship skills in order for it to be succesful.
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As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!