Layout

Sunday Fun - Get MotivatedIn my opinion the most important person on a hoseline is the layout man.

Some departments staff 3 to an engine, meaning there is no layout man unless the Officer goes back down the line to make things right.

Not mine.

We run 4 to an engine and for good reason: You need 4 people to mount an effective primary fire attack.

Driver/Engineer: Operates fire apparatus, engages and monitors pump and water supply.  Good so far, we have a way of getting water into the hoses, that’s a plus.

Officer: In command of the team. Calls for type, length of hose and where it is to be deployed.

Nozzleman: Operates the valve at the end of the hose, points it at the fire.  Really more complicated then that, I know, but than again, so is…

Layout: Ensure the hose is properly deployed from the apparatus and unkinked entering the building.  Follow the attack team around corners, untangling and advancing line as needed.  Block open doors and move furniture so that when the line is charged it isn’t trapped under something.  Stay back from the firefight to pull line back so the nozzle team can redeploy to another location without standing on a load of spaghetti in the hallway.  And, possibly THE most important role of the layout position is to slow additional responding companies if conditions are unsafe ahead of you.

Even though the Officer has a good view of the seat of the fire, and a good officer knows the conditions around them, they can’t see what the layout person sees.  From a safe distance, possibly at a corner, ready to pull hose while the nozzle gets the “glory,” the layout can scout conditions in other rooms and maybe even get some ceiling fall on them when the truck cuts a nice hole.

The layout knows all the trouble spots that line may encounter if it needs to move through that area again.  The first two folks through had their attentions elsewhere.

The layout is also the one who will be assisting the nozzle team should the conditions warrant an evacuation.  From that position you know where the exits are, not just where the line goes out, but also rooms of refuge, should they be needed.

When the fire is out and overhaul continues, the layout man needs to make sure that line is still available to knock down hot spots in the ceiling and walls by looping it into an unburnt room and placing the nozzle, with nozzleman still attached in a position to redeploy if necessary.

We should never leave the engine without a tool of some kind, but as the layout we need full flexibility so a sheathed axe can really get in the way.  A pump can can also get in the way but makes an excellent door chock and point of no return doorway device.  That little can can keep an advancing fire from getting through a doorway if teams are retreating behind you for at least 2-3 minutes when used properly.  So what to bring?

Depends on construction, location of fire and your Department’s SOPs.  A cop out answer I know, but the truth.

So next time someone else “grabs” the nozzle, remember that they have it easy, now you’ve got the most important spot on the hose line.  If the fire goes out you did your job right.

Now get those kinks out and feed line up to the third floor!

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10 thoughts on “Layout”

  1. Article well written and point well addressed. The key being, to bringing it in dry, which makes hose deployment sucessful, & the manpower. Unless heavy fire greets you @ the entry. Obviously ALWAYS keepin it (fire) in front of you.

  2. Article well written and point well addressed. The key being, to bringing it in dry, which makes hose deployment sucessful, & the manpower. Unless heavy fire greets you @ the entry. Obviously ALWAYS keepin it (fire) in front of you.

  3. Article well written and point well addressed. The key being, to bringing it in dry, which makes hose deployment sucessful, & the manpower. Unless heavy fire greets you @ the entry. Obviously ALWAYS keepin it (fire) in front of you.

  4. Funny I looked at this when first posted, Nodded, and said to myself, yup, thats an often overlooked and unapprecisted job. Then let it go without comment. Now at 2am this morning we had a structure fire with problems for everyone accessing the scene due to 1 foot of heavy wet snow and tree tops here and there along the roadway. Hence I found myself as the first arriving engine with no help for the first 5 (looong) minutes. I knocked it down with a dry chem, but it flared back up 3 times, then the far wall of the room ewnt up in one shot like a hollywood effect. I realized there was something going on I did not yet understand. Time to change tatics and set up for a proper attack. Back to the engine and put it in pump, yanked out the preconnect nozzle and handed it to the civilian and asked him to pull it ALL out. Other arriving Firefighters took it form there but NOBODY ran the kinks out of the line. I’m on the panel with a crew inside so I’m not leaving my post. I am looking at all the kinks on the ground (nothing like your photo, just kinks, not knots) and I am trying to get the attention of three firfighters who just wacthed the crew go in. I am try to get their attention back to work and they can’t hear me over the truck. Finally I threw a glove and hit a guy square on the back of his helmet. He looked at me just as I am hearing the crew on the radio screaming for more pressure. I point at the ground and tell the guy to straighten out the hose. He gets it and grabs another guy and they get the job done. No need to crank up the pump, it was just the kinks.
    Why do some people stop thinking when they see the nozzle escape their grip? We have lots of other jobs to do.
    By the way, we saved the house and kept it to a room and contents. Pretty amazing considering the remoteness and weather conditions. 3 of our mutual aid requests went unfilled because they could not get to the scene.

  5. Funny I looked at this when first posted, Nodded, and said to myself, yup, thats an often overlooked and unapprecisted job. Then let it go without comment. Now at 2am this morning we had a structure fire with problems for everyone accessing the scene due to 1 foot of heavy wet snow and tree tops here and there along the roadway. Hence I found myself as the first arriving engine with no help for the first 5 (looong) minutes. I knocked it down with a dry chem, but it flared back up 3 times, then the far wall of the room ewnt up in one shot like a hollywood effect. I realized there was something going on I did not yet understand. Time to change tatics and set up for a proper attack. Back to the engine and put it in pump, yanked out the preconnect nozzle and handed it to the civilian and asked him to pull it ALL out. Other arriving Firefighters took it form there but NOBODY ran the kinks out of the line. I'm on the panel with a crew inside so I'm not leaving my post. I am looking at all the kinks on the ground (nothing like your photo, just kinks, not knots) and I am trying to get the attention of three firfighters who just wacthed the crew go in. I am try to get their attention back to work and they can't hear me over the truck. Finally I threw a glove and hit a guy square on the back of his helmet. He looked at me just as I am hearing the crew on the radio screaming for more pressure. I point at the ground and tell the guy to straighten out the hose. He gets it and grabs another guy and they get the job done. No need to crank up the pump, it was just the kinks.
    Why do some people stop thinking when they see the nozzle escape their grip? We have lots of other jobs to do.
    By the way, we saved the house and kept it to a room and contents. Pretty amazing considering the remoteness and weather conditions. 3 of our mutual aid requests went unfilled because they could not get to the scene.

  6. Funny I looked at this when first posted, Nodded, and said to myself, yup, thats an often overlooked and unapprecisted job. Then let it go without comment. Now at 2am this morning we had a structure fire with problems for everyone accessing the scene due to 1 foot of heavy wet snow and tree tops here and there along the roadway. Hence I found myself as the first arriving engine with no help for the first 5 (looong) minutes. I knocked it down with a dry chem, but it flared back up 3 times, then the far wall of the room ewnt up in one shot like a hollywood effect. I realized there was something going on I did not yet understand. Time to change tatics and set up for a proper attack. Back to the engine and put it in pump, yanked out the preconnect nozzle and handed it to the civilian and asked him to pull it ALL out. Other arriving Firefighters took it form there but NOBODY ran the kinks out of the line. I'm on the panel with a crew inside so I'm not leaving my post. I am looking at all the kinks on the ground (nothing like your photo, just kinks, not knots) and I am trying to get the attention of three firfighters who just wacthed the crew go in. I am try to get their attention back to work and they can't hear me over the truck. Finally I threw a glove and hit a guy square on the back of his helmet. He looked at me just as I am hearing the crew on the radio screaming for more pressure. I point at the ground and tell the guy to straighten out the hose. He gets it and grabs another guy and they get the job done. No need to crank up the pump, it was just the kinks.
    Why do some people stop thinking when they see the nozzle escape their grip? We have lots of other jobs to do.
    By the way, we saved the house and kept it to a room and contents. Pretty amazing considering the remoteness and weather conditions. 3 of our mutual aid requests went unfilled because they could not get to the scene.

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