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Attack and lay pack success
In 2013, changes in building codes and the increasing number of multi-storey developments around the Dandenong area put a strain on the existing highrise hose deployment packs we use to fight fires.
By Brendon Siinmaa
Dandenong Fire Brigade career firefighters wanted to introduce a better high-rise kit that was also multipurpose and easier to use than the existing one.
Dandenong firefighters looked at a number of hose pack systems from around Australia and settled on the QuickLay Fire Attack packs being developed by a career firefighter from Fire and Rescue NSW, and already being used by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, SA Metropolitan Fire Service and the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service.
Following the research, Dandenong crews carried out trials of the quick lay hose packs. The aim of the trials was to find a system of hose deployment that could deliver 60 metres of 38mm hose to meet changes in the building code, and be flexible enough to be used on a range of jobs in addition to highrise firefighting.
Crews were already trialling the Cleveland load for 38mm attack lines, so it made sense to incorporate this into high-rise kits. Manufactured by QuickLay Fire Attack, the Attack Pack and Lay Pack were trialled at Dandenong for around 12 months, with crews using them in a number of different environments. The firefighters were asked to comment on their effectiveness in confined areas and ability to cover longer distances with minimal effort.
The Attack Pack stores an attack line in the Cleveland load, a pre-connected firefighting nozzle plus adapters and reducers. With three quick movements, the Attack Pack hose deploys into a coil which can be easily advanced into the fire. This pack can be deployed in restricted spaces such as highrise stairs, a terrace courtyard or a balcony.
The Lay Pack stores an attack line, adapters and reducers. It deploys hose ‘on-the-fly’ or as the firefighter covers the distance – ideal for laying hose in a restricted space.
Following these trials, CFA headquarters moved to incorporate the packs as part of standard stowage on the new medium pumper and the next stage of the heavy pumper project.
Leading firefighter Kieran Purcell from MFB’s Structural Training department worked closely with Dandenong firefighters to develop joint training materials for future use of the hose packs and to help increase interoperability between the agencies.
The main benefits of the new packs are:
- the ability to easily deploy 60m of 38mm hose using standard flaked hose from the Lay Pack in a lay-as-you-go method and the Cleveland load in the Attack Pack.
- they share the weight of equipment between two firefighters, minimising manual handling issues.
- they give greater flexibility of deployment in both low-rise and high-rise environments.
- they increase flexibility because they can be laid out towards the fire or from the fire back to the truck or hydrant.
- they contain a large amount of small gear including adapters, door chocks, hose securing straps, gated Wye piece and low pressure high-flow nozzle.
Photos by Keith Pakenham AFSM