Why use an Extended Attack?
We use the extended attack as a method of simply extending your traditional pre-connect. There are many situations which require you to use an attack line longer than what you typically lay in a pre-connected line. This tactic has taken on many names and is used all over the country. Although they are all similar in concept each department tends to put their own spin on it. Here are a few common scenarios where the extended attack tactic can be very beneficial:
Garden Style Apartments – There are many apartment complexes without FDC’s, standpipes or sprinkler systems. When we encounter a fire in one of these units we must stretch our lines to attack the fire. In this case an extended attack will be hand stretched to the unit on fire, traditionally called the “Courtyard Stretch”.
Narrow Driveways / Reduced Accessibility – When we encounter houses with narrow driveways or located on steep hills this may require us to position the apparatus much further away than we would typically position ourselves. This is especially true in rural communities where a water shuttle would be greatly hindered if the first in apparatus took the narrow driveway without performing a split lay. Stretching the extending attack will allow the primary pumper to be positioned in a much more accessible location.
Hydrant Nearby / Backup Delayed – Detroit Fire Department has mastered this tactic. When arriving on scene and you know there is a hydrant nearby you can perform the extended attack in reverse, or laying out your line instead of stretching the line. The first in pumper can stop at the structure on fire, firefighters will drop the bundle or pre-connected extended attack and then the driver will drive to the hydrant or water source. This is simply a reverse lay with an attack line. This tactic can be very beneficial for several reasons. It will allow one pumper to provide the attack and the water supply. It will also leave the front of the structure open for truck companies or additional companies. Also, if you know your backup will be delayed you will not risk running out of water if you choose to make an aggressive attack.
Should we pre-connect the extended attack or not?
This question should be answered with input from your department members. You may even choose to carry both a pre-connected extended attack and a separate bundle or high-rise pack. Having your extended attack pre-connected has obvious advantages, speed of deployment being the primary most notable. However, having the bundle separate will also enable you to have some versatility that you would not have if the line was pre-connected. You could perform an upper floor attack from a balcony or stairwell without having to lay line up the stairs. You could either send the female of the bundle down, or in cases where hose is limited, bring your bundle’s supply line up (usually with a rope).
Stretching the Attack
The “Courtyard Stretch”, “Skid Load” and “Wyed Lines” are all versions of stretching an extended attack. The purpose is to extend the reach of your typical pre-connect in situations it normally wouldn’t reach. In this tactic we hand stretch the line to the location of the fire.
Reverse Laying the Attack
This tactic has been made famous by the Detroit Fire Department. The first in pumper will stop at the structure on fire, firefighters will drop their attack lines at the structure and reverse lay the supplying line to a hydrant. This will keep the engine self-contained, meaning they will catch their own supply and also feed the attack line(s).
The 100’ Hose Bundle
For an additional video of the 100’ Hose bundle go to our website or our YouTube channel. We have made another video to show you how to load the bundle and deploy the bundle. Here are a few uses for the bundle:
Use in the Extended Attack
High-Rise or Hotel Pack Operations
Extending an already operational pre-connect
Repairing a failed line already in operation
The length of your bundle will be completely determined by your local response area and how you intend on using the tactic. A 100’ bundle is very manageable for most firefighters and is much easier to carry upstairs if you will use the bundle as your high-rise pack or hotel pack. However, a 100’ line will disappear quickly when you start stretching it into a structure. Remember 50’ is recommended at the door to an apartment unit and around 100-150’ should be at the door to a residence.