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Why dont you use straps?

Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 29 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

"Why don't you just use straps?"

Is a question we sometimes get!

The best way to appreciate the bigger picture is to consider the value of a firefighter's helmet. I personally have worn my helmet for 12 years and for the first time only 3 months ago did it actually do its job and protect my head from a falling garage door while operating in an underground car park fire- absolutely saving my life.

For 11 or so years prior to this nothing fell on my head but the one time it did the total cost of the few helmets I've had paid for themselves with my life.

So yes, you can just use a set of straps and generally they will hold the hose...

But what if?

  • You trip and drop the load and it looses its form?
  • You want to throw the whole load across a gap to a boat or building and the exposed hose gets snagged?
  • You want to only deploy half the hose, not the whole hose, causing the remaining half to loose its form?
  • You want to be able to open the the locker on the pumper and know the load will definitely be good-to-go?
  • You need to deploy hose in poor visibility?
  • You arrive at a big job with people you've not worked with before and want to be tasked based on the pack you have - not a long discussion?
  • You want to feed the neatly packed hose through a gap or under/over a fence?
  • You're working with a crew you don't know and they have a different way of strapping the hose?
  • You just want to become really efficient with a dedicated piece equipment that's been tried and tested and designed for one task...

In these very possible scenarios straps just don't cut it.

In my last article I discussed the The Cleveland Hose Load and specifically why it's great as well as its inherent shortcomings-

If you add the use of straps there's a whole lot more to consider with the Cleveland Hose Load, most importantly:

  • The thumb knot or Overhand Knot.

The Attack Pack deliberately isolates the two hose ends from the main body of the hose, this prevents the catastrophic failure caused when one hose end pops under one or more coils forming a simple but show-stopping thumb knot.

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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 27 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

One method - many names!

It has lots of names and just as many origins- the act of wrapping the first bite of hose back on itself (about 1.8m) and continuing to wrap until there's about 1m left.

This is commonly called the Cleveland Hose Load, the Round About Hose Load, the Garden Lay etc etc - we're not certain of it's origin however the Cleveland State Forest fire fighters were said to employ the concept for deploying hose at wild fires (great idea!!!).

What we are certain about is it's great! Especially when used in conjunction with an initial flaked hose, as it's possible to stretch and coil 2 lengths of hose just as quickly as the ground between the water supply and the fire can be covered.

We are often asked why we don't just have two packs holding coiled hose and not bother with the flaked hose pack, which on face-value- having two hoses rapidly deployed in a tight area sounds like a good thing- but it's not, or at least we don't think so.

For all its amazing benefits the Cleveland Hose Load has a few short comings which are inherent to the nature of lay-flat hose.

  1. Hose stored in the Cleveland Hose Load should not be run out from it's coiled position until it's full of water- this is because it will twist as it unravels from the coil and when the water is introduced the nozzle/branch will untwist. For this reason the line cannot be advanced until it's full of water.
  2. When deployed in the right position (near to the fire) the Cleveland Hose Load is easily advanced from its tight coil into the burning environment. However if two Cleveland Hose Loads are deployed together too far away, then the ease-of-advancement is burnt up in the distance between the supply and the fire. Then on entry, we are back to the original problem of lots of heavy hose outside.

To solve these problems we have developed a second pack (Lay Pack) designed to cover the distance between the water supply and the coiled hose.

When the two packs are used together, the distance between the fire and supply can be covered in either a forward or reverse direction (depending on the job) and hose deployed into a coil from the Attack Pack can be advanced into the burning environment.

For scenarios where there's a lay flat hose already positioned for each hydrant we have developed the Compack - it too stores and deploys the Cleveland Hose Load in one movement and is stored in more of a square shaped pack so it can fit in traditional fire hose cabinets.

The benefits of a coiled hose deployed in a lift lobby or stairwell environment far outweigh the current hose-rack flaked hoses as it can be deployed almost instantly and does not need to be stretched up and back in limited spaces.

  1. In this scenario the Attack Packs holding the coil are deployed near to the fire.

  2. Where the Lay Packs have been stretched up or down the stairs, to or from the water supply.



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Posted by Sebastian Jacobs
Sebastian Jacobs
Keen Australian based fire fighter
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 17 August 2013
in Water on the Fire · 0 Comments

Don't worry! We're big fans of the work that has been pioneered by a few very keen and extremely competent individuals who may all speak different languages yet agree that there's a better way than "Big Fire = Big Water".

But... What is the point of learning all these fantastic techniques- if you cannot get water on the fire quickly and reliably due to hose tangles, kinks and catch points?

'We have procedures' is something we hear - however when quizzed further, more often than not the procedures are "get hose out" - not how to lay hose. What if the usual crew isn't working together? What if a multilingual crew is thrust together on an oil-rig or cruise ship?

Our aim isn't to change anything- we simply hope to add value with some purpose built packs.

For example the Lay Pack is blue because it stretches water between the water supply and the Attack Pack. The Attack Pack is red because it contains the hose that will attack the fire.

First and second arriving fire fighters now know without any words spoken that 60m or 200ft of hose is ready to be laid and who has what role based on the pack they're carrying.

After consultation with fire fighters in Australia, the Mid East, Europe and the USA we have come to the conclusion that when laying hose what's important is:

  • The distance is covered once by the fire fighters - maximum twice
  • Hose is laid only once - not deployed and then bundled up and redeployed
  • Enough hose is deployed - ready to advance into the fire without friction or catch-points causing delays


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Keeping an Open Mind

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 21 July 2013
in Industry Insights · 0 Comments

As a pioneer of 3D Firefighting tactics in Australia (since 1997) I have been privileged to see the benefits this approach has delivered to my colleagues as well as the people we serve. Along with increasing the safety of firefighters, the 3D approach greatly assists in formulating the most efficient approach to fire attack. This has increases that chances of saving victims while minimising the loss of property.

The 3D approach is not the only innovation we have seen in the last 30 years. CAFS and PPV are also game changers in their own right. Unfortunately I have seen a tendency for innovators to fall in love with their approach and to ignore the potential benefits of the other innovations. Some PPV advocates think adding water-fog will generate excessive steam and some 3D purists think that adding air will intensify the fire. The fact is that when they are combined there is a synergistic effect that greatly increases the safety and efficiency of the operation!

I have been practicing combining 3D techniques with PPV for over 13 years and have witnessed firsthand how powerful this combination can be. I am currently looking as combining CAFS with 3D and/or PPV. One of the limitations with CAFS is that it has minimal cooling interaction directly with the accumulated gases. The cooling of the gases occurs mostly at the the heated surfaces. If CAFS internal attack was combined with PPV the heated gases are removed prior to entry and the linings can be very effectively cooled and buffered.

With knowledge, an open-mind and a desire for excellence you can adapt your tactics and tools to develop the safest and most efficient plan of attack.

With this approach everyone wins!!!

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Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 March 2012
in Industry Insights · 5 Comments
I am often asked to explain the difference between flashover and backdraft, both of which I will define using the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 

The key elements in all definitions are:

  1. Rapid transition
  2. Leads to a fully developed compartment fire

Flashover is defined as: "The rapid transition to a state of total surface involvement in a fire of combustible materials within an enclosure."

Most fires start relatively small as some form of heat energy is applied to the object which leads to the ignition temperature being reached. The flame radiates back onto the object and this increases the rate of combustion. The radiation also heats up neighbouring items and they will begin to pyrolyse (break down into fuel and passive agents). The heated fire gases accumulate in the ceiling area forming an over pressure area. As the temperature increases the unburnt fuel in the smoke layer approaches its’ Auto Ignition Temperature (AIT) . When this fuel ignites the fire gas combustion rolls across the ceiling releasing an enormous amount of radiant energy which rapidly ignites the remaining combustibles in the room.

In a nutshell, flashover occurs when there is a good supply of air that allows the accumulated unburnt fuel to heat up to its’ Auto Ignition Temperature (AIT).

Fuel & Air + AIT = Flashover

Backdraught is defined as: "An explosion, of greater or lesser degree, caused by the inrush of fresh air from any source or cause, into a burning building, where combustion has been taking place in a shortage of air."

Well insulated rooms with limited air supply can limit the development of a fire. The fire will grow until the air is consumed and smouldering may continue for some time. The room may stay quite hot and the combustible contents will continue to pyrolyse (or breakdown) allowing the accumulation of large quantities of unburnt fuel.

If an opening is created air will flow into the compartment and add the missing ingrediant. It is possible for a sudden and explosive propagation of flame through the compartment and out through the openings. There will be pockets of gas remaining that are too rich to ignite immediately these will burn progressively as air is drawn into the compartment. The combustion process could continue for some time after the initial explosion and the heat generated could lead to a fully involved fire.

In a nutshell, backdraft occurs when air is added to a room with high temperatures and large quantities of unburnt fuel.

Fuel and Heat + Air = Backdraft

So how does this knowledge affect our fire attack strategy and hose lay tactics? Before we talk about that we must understand the 3rd critical fire development event, fire gas ignition.

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