I have been told that reverse lays are a thing of the past, and in suburban America for the most part, they are. With an increase in the use of LDH with storz connections, increased tank capacities, automatic aid and codes requiring hydrants, the need for many departments to utilize the reverse lay has been diminished. However, like so many tactics that have been ignored or forgotten, this is one that needs your consideration if your running with quints.
Since the late 1980's and early 90's, there has been a shift to using quints as a regular part of their fleet. This is also an adaption to reduced companies and manpower. It could be argued that quints have expedited the reduction in staffing and true truck companies, but this post is for those many departments that find themselves adjusting to running with quints.
The idea of placing apparatus is to have the ladder truck in the front of the building, not parked down the street. To fully take advantage of the capabilities of a ladder truck, or quint, we need to get it to the front of the building. Even in true engine/truck company areas, this can be a challenge. In departments that run with quints, we can get into a mind set of it as an engine due to our typical responses of medical calls, MVA's, CO alarms, etc. We use it like an engine 95% of the time.
So, this is really easy to accomplish. The goal in this particular scenario is that the first due company is an engine on a two story residential structure. We want to attack the fire, secure a water supply because our response area is remote or isolated, our second due is a quint and we want to be aggressive with our attack.
We have a load of three inch that has what we call a city load on top of it, a 2 1/2 smooth bore with a 1 3/4 inch line attached to the tip. If we have a delay in our response area we would pull this line and the LDH and proceed to the nearest hydrant laying the 3 inch and the LDH. The 3 inch is not pre-connected and we carry 1000 feet. If we need big water, we unhook the 1 3/4 inch and use the smooth bore to beat some stuff up.
Be sure to pull at least 150 feet of three inch before the engine takes off to the hydrant to allow you enough to maneuver around the building if big water is needed. Now we have an engine at the hydrant that will first connect the 3 inch to the discharge and get the attack team water. Then he gets on the plug. We have a secured water supply, we the ability to attack with a smaller line on the interior and we have the ability to supply the next arriving unit, the quint, with leaving the front of building open.
We have used this is limited staffing areas, narrow streets and extended responses from our second due companies. There are some drawbacks however.
Your tools and equipment are now remote from your scene. Additionally, you need to have a good understanding of how far your hydrants are spaced. A typical spacing in a residential are is 600 feet between hydrants, you don't want to run out of hose.
Our quint has the same set up but with only 600 feet of 3 inch hose. It is primarily used on yard or apartment stretches, but could be used in the same manner.
Using this is an option and gets the quint to the front of the building. It works but does take some practice and a lot of effective communication.