Here is a drill that I did with some of the firefighters on my department. I call it the Basic Hose Handling Quick Drill.
The goals of this program are:
- To become familiar with attaching different sections of hose
- To practice aiming water streams
- To experience effectiveness of different water streams, and
- To use critical thinking skills to consider different options in setting up relay.
What You Will Need
For this drill you will need the following items:
- Four 50 foot sections of hose (diameter is variable but I suggest using the predominant diameter for initial attack for your department)
- Two nozzles to fit your hose diameter
- One gated wye
- Two traffic cones (also consider adding a couple barrels which will be discussed shortly)
- A working hydrant or fire truck
- A stopwatch, and
- A parking lot or open area to hold the training.
Running the Drill
First, take time to survey the site (parking lot or open area) and ensure that the site is safe for the training. This should be done days prior to the actual training meeting. On the day of the drill, mark where your fire truck will be — if using a hydrant this is not necessary. Next walk off approximately 125 to 150 feet in one direction. Place one traffic cone here. Then walk off the same amount of distance approximately 30 degrees off of the other cone. Place the second cone. It is here that you may use the barrels or some type of device in order to elevate the cones.
Next place two sections of the rolled hose and the nozzle beside the water point (i.e. the truck or hydrant) on the side towards the first cone. Place the next two sections and nozzle facing the second cone. Use the gated wye on the water source. Ensure that the water is active up until the wye.
Organizing the Teams
Divide the firefighters into teams of three. Give them instructions as to drill instructions, safety briefing and related information.
Running the Drill
You will place one team on each set of hose near the water source. Firefighters will need to be in full turnout gear minus their SCBA. Give the teams initially no time to discuss the methodology of how they intend to setup the relay. On command, tell the teams to go.
The teams should flake out the hose. They should attach one section to the water source. They should also attach the two sections of hose together as well as to place the nozzle on the end of the second section of hose. Once the two sections of hose and nozzle are in place it should be indicated by one of the team members to charge the line. The firefighters should then open the nozzle and attempt to knock the traffic cone down.
Make sure to mark down the time for each team. Undo all of the parts and reset. Have the teams take a break and discuss between themselves as to how to make the relay go more efficiently while more teams go through the relay. Continue until all teams have completed once.
Continue with more relays marking the times that each team completes the relay. After three or so relays per team, or as indicated by time, safety factors, and so on, discontinue.
Clean up the equipment and return to service. Then come together in the meeting room or location of choice and take the time to have open discussions on what worked for teams and what didn’t. By doing this you assist in ensuring that the firefighters learn from each other’s experience.
The drill discussed above can be very beneficial for the new recruit, to a veteran firefighter. I know I could become faster at hooking hose together and doing relays such as this. Make sure you have one person leading the drill and absolutely ensure the safety of all participants, observers and instructors.