Laying a supply line is a critical element to fire ground success. When fighting fires that require more water than the booster tank holds; It is vitally important to get a continuous water supply established. When laying a supply you first have to establish which type of lay is to be conducted. Which lay will you conduct? A Forward Lay, which goes from the water source to the fire. A Split Lay, where the hose is dropped from a certain point (i.e on the corner or 1st and Kinswood) and then is tied into and taken to the water source. A Reverse Lay, which is from the fire back to the water source. The key element is for the Driver/Operator to be trained in how to do all of them and your departments procedures on conducting them. Mistakes that are often made on the fire ground are Driver/Operators that lay their line down the middle of the street or block intersections that other apparatus need to come through. Driver/operators have to figure out a way to get the hose to one side of the road. I do understand there are times it is not possible. The mindset of the Driver/Operator has to be on establishing water supply quickly and other incoming apparatus and the roles they play in achieving fire ground success. One of the tips that I will offer is when laying a line to one side of the street if there is firm ground and/or a sidewalk I will put my tires on the edge of it and lay it. I have found this practice to be very helpful when laying supply lines to other apparatus. Some Driver/Operators take laying a supply for granted, but I encourage you to practice and train on these skills. Don’t be the firefighter who jammed up the scene because of a poorly laid supply line.
Image Courtesy of Fire Protection Publications/IFSTA