Benefits of the Reverse Lay

Very rarely do we discuss the tactical advantages of different types of hose layouts for water supply. However, once you break down the movements and positional assignments of each type of hose lay you begin to see some advantages for different scenarios. The Reverse Lay offers several key advantages for limited manpower and residential structure fires. First let’s look at the three main ways to lay out supply line.


The forward lay is very common and is typically used by the second due engine to supply the first due engine with a supply line. The second due engine stops at a nearby hydrant, drops a firefighter off to make connections and then proceeds to lay hose out to the attack engine.

Reverse Lay

The reverse lay is a popular lay in many different parts of the United States. The Reverse Lay is typically used by the second due engine to supply the first due engine with a supply line. The second due engine stops at the scene or the attack engine, drops a supply line off to make connections and then proceeds to the hydrant.

Split Lay or Blind Alley

The Split Lay is great for confined areas like long narrow driveways, alleys, tight streets with limited access and dead ends. The split lay is typically initiated by the first due engine when they recognize an access problem. The first due engine drops their supply line in an intersection or location before the confined area and then proceeds to the fire. The second due engine lays a line to the first due’s supply line. This creates two different hose lays that meet in the middle. The split lay helps to keep other companies from getting jammed into a tight spot while trying to position on a fire.

In the video below we discuss the 3 different types of hose layouts but also go into more detail about the advantages the Reverse Lay has to offer.

About Matt Hinkle

Matt Hinkle is a Staff Instructor at the Mississippi State Fire Academy. He has over twelve years of experience in the fire service and has served in many positions throughout his career including; Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Training Officer and Instructor. He has designed local and state training curriculums, coordinated regional training events, and assisted in the development of national training programs. During his service Matt has received several awards including: Firefighter of the Year (Lafayette County Fire Department), Fire Officer of the Year Finalist (MS Burn Association), Medal of Valor (MS Burn Association), and a Letter of Commendation (City of Oxford). Matt has received over 2,000 hours of technical training in many disciplines including: NFPA 1001-I-II (Firefighter I-II), NFPA 1002 (Driver/Operator), NFPA 1041-I-II (Instructor), Hazardous Materials Technician I-II, Rope Rescue Technician I-II, Confined Space Rescue Technician, Trench Rescue Technician, Vehicle Extrication I-II, Search and Rescue Technician I-II-III, EMT-B, and Cave Rescue I-II.

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