Firefighting Hose Lays and Accidents

A recent article about a Lake County, Florida fire truck accidentally laying 1200 feet of firehose down the middle of the Florida Turnpike and causing damage to a number of cars made me want to post about the old days when I still did that sort of thing.

The hose that runs from the fire hydrant to the fire truck is called supply line. Most supply line is 3 inches or more in diameter, and in Central Florida, it’s usually 5 inches. (Orlando uses 4 inch, but that is because they typically have fire hydrants that are close together).

First, a bit of engineering.

The reason for this is hydrodynamics and friction loss. The average water main pressure is about 65 psi. At 1,000 gallons per minute, a 3 inch hose loses 80 pounds of pressure every 100 feet of hose length due to friction between the moving water and the hose itself, while a 4 inch diameter hose loses 20 pounds of pressure, and a 5 inch hose loses only 8 pounds. That means, if you want longer hose lays with high flow, the larger the diameter of your supply line, the better.

There is a lot of math involved in being the driver of a fire engine. You need to be able to calculate your friction losses in your head, rapidly, and remember that the lives of the guys in the burning building depend on you getting it correct. When you are flowing 2,000 gallons per minute through half a dozen different hose lines a 2 in the morning at a burning strip mall isn’t the time to realize that you are math deficient.

5 inch supply line has what is called a “sexless coupling” meaning that there is no male or female end, the couplings are interchangeable. This allows you to start laying from either the fire to the hydrant, called a reverse lay, or from the hydrant to the fire, called a forward lay. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but we won’t talk about that in this post.

My fire truck carried 1200 feet of 5 inch diameter supply line. That means with standard hydrant pressure, I could get a bit more than 800 gallons per minute into my engine without having to put another fire engine at the hydrant to boost pressure.

The problem with this is twofold:

  • 5 inch hose is heavy. Each 100 foot section weighs a bit more than 100 pounds without water in it. Filled with water, that increases to over 1,000 pounds.
  • 5 inch hose is bulky. The hose itself lays flat, but the couplings are a pain. The hose has to be loaded on the truck in a specific way, or it won’t come out of the truck correctly.

In Practice:

Both of these issues mean that 5 inch is a pain in the ass. It’s worth it, but that is not much consolation when you have to lay and reload 1200 feet of it. Anyhow, if loaded correctly, that hose comes out of the truck like a scalded dog. Like so:

I sympathize with the guys that this happened to. I once laid all 1200 feet of my supply line without meaning to when I was on the way to a large multi alarm fire. We hit a bump, the hose began laying out, and I dumped all 1200 feet in the middle of the road.

There was another time that the water department had removed a hydrant without telling the fire department. I arrived at a fire at 2 o’clock in the morning with the assignment of “secure the water supply.” I decided to do what is called a reverse lay.

So I began laying my supply hose at the fire, and headed to where I thought the closest hydrant was. 1,000 feet later, I arrived at where the hydrant was (or so I thought) and it was no longer there. After the fire was out, the other guys on the engine were not happy with me at all as we loaded all thousand pounds of hose back onto the truck.

The reason for that, is the hose is loaded by the driver backing over the hose as firefighters standing on the back of the truck lift it and load it back on the truck. The driver doesn’t do a thing but drive, the firefighters load the hose. I wasn’t a popular guy that night…

For those who are interested, the amount of hose and other equipment carried on the engine I was assigned to for the last six years of my career as a firefighter was pretty impressive. We had:

  • 1200 feet of 5 inch supply line
  • 300 feet of 3 inch supply line
  • a single 30 foot piece of 5 inch supply line in the side running board
  • a 250 foot length of 2 1/2 inch line preconnected to a smooth bore nozzle (cross lay)
  • a 300 foot piece of 2 1/2 inch line preconnected to a gated wye
  • a pair of 1 3/4 inch line that were 200 feet each, with nozzles connected to them (cross lays)
  • a 100 foot long 1 3/4 inch “trash line” on the front bumper
  • another 200 feet of 2 1/2 inch line, and 300 feet of 1 3/4 inch line in the storage compartments.
  • a “high rise pack” with another 200 feet of 1 3/4 inch hose in it.

That comes to 4,000 feet of hose. Plus all of the connectors, hose tools, breathing apparatus, spare air bottles, medical equipment, thermal cameras, 100 gallons of various types of foam, a set of hydraulic rescue tools, air tools, hand tools, flashlights, a gasoline powered fan, a power saw, extension cords, 2 chain saws, 6 axes, a set of pneumatic lift bags, 2 cases of Gatoraide, 2 boxes of energy bars, and a dozen other tools. The truck itself has a 1500 gallon per minute pump, a 10 kw generator, and 1,000 gallons of firefighting water onboard. In all, there were more than 10,000 pounds of equipment and supplies on that truck.

I loved driving and working off of that engine. I did everything on that truck- I rode as firefighter, paramedic, driver, and even as the officer in charge. There are times that I miss doing it. Life was easier and less complicated then. All I had to do was put the wet stuff on the red stuff.


Former SCOTUS Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has died. My feelings on her decisions are mixed.

  • She allowed race to be considered in college admissions, thereby giving the SCOTUS stamp of approval on affirmative action in education. Grutter v. Bollinger
  • Still, I am a nurse thanks to her swing vote in Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, where she ruled that nursing schools had to permit men to apply.
  • In Lawrence v. Texas, she said that laws against sodomy were an unconstitutional intrusion into people’s bedrooms, but that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples “to preserve the traditional institution of marriage.”
  • She cast decisions approving partial birth abortion, which is nothing but murder in my opinion. Stenberg v. Carhart 
  • She cast the deciding vote on the Bush v. Gore case in 2000. She later admitted to regretting it.

As I said, mixed.

GoSafe Bill Text

I found a link to the actual text of the bill. Here it is, hosted here at Sector Ocho. It begins with dishonest bullshit definitions. The definition of “gas operated” are wrong:

The term ‘gas-operated’, with respect to a semi-automatic firearm, means any firearm that harnesses or traps a portion of the high-pressure gas from a fired cartridge to cycle the action using—
‘‘(A) a long stroke piston, where gas is vented from the barrel to a piston that is mechanically fixed to the bolt group and moves to cycle the action;
‘‘(B) a short stroke piston, where gas is vented from the barrel to a piston that moves separately from the bolt group so that the energy is imparted through a gas piston to cycle the action;
‘(C) a system that traps and vents gas from either the barrel or the chamber to directly strike or impinge the bolt, bolt carrier, or slide assembly, to unlock and cycle the action;
‘‘(D) a hybrid system that combines elements of a system described in subparagraph (C) with a system described in subparagraph (A) or (B) to capture gas vented from the barrel to cycle the action;
‘‘(E) a blowback-operated system that directly utilizes the expanding gases of the ignited propellant powder acting on the cartridge case to drive the breechblock or breech bolt rearward; or
‘‘(F) a recoil-operated system that utilizes the recoil force to unlock the breech bolt and then to complete the cycle of extracting, ejecting, and reloading.

As far as I can think of, there are no other means of operating a semi-automatic firearm. This law defines all semi-automatic firearms as being “gas operated” by making the definition extremely broad. So what, exactly are they planning to do to these gas operated firearms?

The law goes on to say that no one can import, sell, manufacture, transfer, receive, or possess any gas operated firearm or combination of parts that operates like a gas operated firearm, nor can you own any mechanical or electrical parts that can make a firearm approximate the rate of fire of a machine gun.

It grandfathers in firearms owned before the date of the proposed law by the person who owned it on that date and their immediate family members. For the firearm to be transferred from one person to a family member, it has to go through a dealer. I’m assuming that, if a firearm isn’t transferred to a family member, it will be confiscated using the “voluntary buyback” clause in this law.

It requires all new magazines that are capable of holding more than ten rounds be inscribed with a serial number. All magazines that are sold from that point forward can only be owned by the government.

The law goes on to say that any unserialized magazine can’t be transferred after the date of enactment.

It also says that before any new design of a semi-automatic firearm is allowed to be sold, the plans have to be submitted to the ATF for approval. The ATF has 240 days to review the firearm and either approve or deny the application.

IN GENERAL.—Any semi-automatic firearm designed on or after the date of enactment of this section shall be required to have an approval under this subsection prior to the manufacture, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of such firearm for sale to civilians.

The law also says that at any time, the Director of the ATF can remove a previously approved firearm from the list.

Make sure you have plans for what is coming.

That’s Not How Tasers Work

A man led Citrus county sheriff’s deputies on a high speed chase, dumping bags of fentanyl out the window of the car as he went. He finally wrecked the car in neighboring Marion county when he hit a telephone pole. He bailed out of the vehicle with a slug rifle. Police shot him. Of course a bystander caught the end on video.

The man’s name was Skyler Dan Wentworth, DOB 2/16/1990. His publicly available criminal record goes back to March of 2007, when he was arrested for felony burglary and petit theft (second offense), meaning of course that there are juvenile convictions that we can’t see. That case was dropped when the main witness, the victim, refused to testify.

The decedent’s background

He was arrested for a total of 3 felonies and 2 misdemeanors before his 18th birthday. By the time trial concluded on the felonies, it was 2012. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail on the second of them, 9 months for the third. That’s important because, as a convicted felon, he couldn’t possess a firearm or ammunition.

In all, he has a total of 15 felony cases, involving dozens of criminal violations, and 9 different misdemeanor cases. His driver’s license has been suspended multiple times, but he keeps getting caught driving anyway. By 2018, he had advanced to possession of firearms by a felon, charges related to drug dealing, illegally carrying a concealed weapon, and had been convicted multiple times for fleeing police and getting in accidents that injured innocents who just happened to be in his way. A real pillar of the community.

This choirboy’s mother appeared on TV, demanding to know why police didn’t just “taser” him. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Why couldn’t they have Tased him? Why shoot him?” That isn’t how a Taser works, as my readers all know.

I couldn’t find a copy of the raw video, and I hate using media provided video because it is always edited and manipulated to distort what actually happened, but in this case, you can see 43 seconds into the video here that the man is on his knees with both hands on his head before dropping one hand down to what appears to be a rifle clung across his chest.

Looks like a good shoot, but I will post more on this if I find anything.


Whenever I say that we should get rid of government giveaways and welfare programs, I get to hear people tell me how I am heartless and want people to starve, as if the economy is a binary choice between the government doing it, or no one doing it. Read this, and see how kind people can be:

The problem here is that commies aren’t generous. They want the government to take from those who have more than they do, and give it to them. That’s what communism is.

The Ludlow Amendment

Most people have never heard of the Ludlow Amendment. In December of 1937, the amendment gained popular support thanks to the Panay Incident. This proposed amendment to the Constitution read:

SEC. 1. Except in the event of an invasion of the United States or its Territorial possessions and attack upon its citizens residing therein, the authority of Congress to declare war shall not become effective until confirmed by a majority of all votes cast thereon in a nationwide referendum. Congress, when it deems a national crisis to exist, may by concurrent resolution refer the question of war or peace to the citizens of the States, the question to be voted on being, Shall the United States declare war on __? Congress may otherwise by law provide for the enforcement of this section.

SEC. 2. Whenever war is declared the President shall immediately conscript and take for use by the Government all the public and private war properties, yards, factories, and supplies, together with employees necessary for their operation, fixing the compensation for private properties temporarily employed for the war period at a rate not in excess of 4 percent per annum based on tax values assessed in the year preceding the war.

I would add a third section:

SEC. 3. Anyone who voted in favor of declaring war shall therefore be deemed as having volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces in support of the war effort, being conscripted in service of the Government in whatever capacity the Department of Defense deems appropriate for the duration of the war and up to six months after. Compensation shall be made to such persons at the rates of pay set by Congress for members of the Armed Forces.

Now you have skin in the game. Vote accordingly. This will make war as personal as a punch in the nose. Want to defend Ukraine? Hamas? Israel? Sure, vote yes. Thanks for volunteering, now report to Basic Training.

If you don’t believe in a cause enough to fight for it, then you shouldn’t get to vote and send others to fight in your stead.