Fire Fact #2: The 2 1/2" Line: A Mainstay of the American Fire Service

The 2 ½” hose line has been in the fire service for decades. This is especially true for urban fire departments with big fires (large factories, high-rise office buildings and crowded residential neighborhoods) and abundance of manpower. Although some departments had retired the use of the 2 ½” the New York City Fire Department required it for all structural firefighting up until the late 1960s. During the 1960s and 1970s the country was hit with a financial crisis leading departments to abandon the use and also questioned the usefulness of the hose and began downsizing to small hose lines for heavy fire attack. 
Well as we all know the 2 ½” hose line is still alive and kicking today; so let’s learning more about the hose line. Using a 2 ½” Attack Line may be a daunting task and very difficult to maneuver throughout a structure.

Here are some benefits of using a 2 ½” line:
1.    Lower friction loss
2.    High fire flows
3.    Exceptional reach & penetration
4.    Heavy knockdown power

When to use:
1.    Heavy fire conditions regardless of occupancy
2.    Offensive attack isn’t safe or able to be conducted
3.    Large un-compartmentalized structures
4.    Unable to determine location, size or extent of fire
5.    High-rise buildings
6.    Large brush or trash fires

Something to consider: 
50 feet of a charged 2 ½” line weighs 106lbs and 50 feet of a charged 1 ¾” weighs 52lbs. Take into account your manpower as well when deciding your initial attack line. 

Until next time; work hard, stay safe and live inspired. 

About the Author

NICHOLAS J. HIGGINS is a firefighter with 15 years in the service all within departments in Piscataway, NJ. Nick has held the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain as well as being a township elected District Fire Commissioner for 1 term (3 years) in Piscataway, NJ. He is also a NJ State certified level 2 fire instructor. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Kean University working in Corporate Taxation and is the founder/contributor of the Firehouse Tribune website.