Knowing Attack Hose

Fighting the Fire, Not the Hose: The Challenges of 2.5” Attack Hose

Many fire departments face challenges around limited staffing alongside hotter, faster-burning fires requiring larger flows. The 2.5” line has become the preferred handline to reach those flows – which adds challenges related to weight, maneuverability and quick water application.


These low-manpower realities are common across North America – as Lt. Kevin Pfluger with Live Oak Fire in Texas points out. Even at full staff, moving and flowing with the 2.5" through tight urban spaces or expansive suburban homes is challenging. The weight and inflexibility requires more strength and slows down the response times.

Talking to National Fire Radio on why he felt an alternative was necessary, Lt. Pfluger explained, "UL studies show us we need to be getting to the seat of the fire, but with the restrictions of where you can get the 2.5" line that becomes significantly harder. With victims possibly inside, you're delaying that time of putting the fire out. It just doesn't make sense to me."

"The whole point of this is to be more effective on the fireground..."
– Lt. Pfluger, Live Oak (TX)

These are the same realities that Captain Franklin “Linn” Baxa experiences daily with Buckhannon Fire Department in West Virginia. “We are a low-manpower fire department. We only recently went to three people per shift, backfilled by volunteers. Everything we do is with minimal manpower,” explains Capt. Baxa.

His crews had experimented with over-pumping a standard 2" hose to get higher flows, but found the hose to be unmanageable and the friction loss too high. "In order to achieve the GPM we wanted – a lot of water – with a manageable line for a single firefighter," they needed an alternative to both the 2" and the 2.5" hose.

So we sent our engineers to the drawing board with this challenge:

Reduce the high friction loss and handling of a 2” hose (particularly with 1.5” couplings) to allow them to hit 2.5” targeted flows with minimal manpower and without sacrificing maneuverability


“At Mercedes Textiles, we design innovative products that answer the challenges of the modern fire service, pushing the boundaries of performance”, said Bob Richardson, President of Mercedes Textiles.

“We look to firefighters to tell us what they need so that we can engineer products that evolve alongside progressive firefighting tactics. We developed the KrakenEXO SUPER II specifically to address current realities of the fireground.”

Engineered to address the tactical challenges of the standard 2.5” attack line, our KrakenEXO SUPER II is the most advanced double-jacketed attack hose delivering 2.5” flows out of a 2-inch hose, with 30 percent less weight – while still achieving 210-300 GPM.

Capt Baxa confirms, “There is a big difference between this 2” and our previous 2.5” hose. The KrakenEXO SUPER II gives you more water in a fire hose that suits our departments staffing levels. So much easier to work with!”

With a 2.25” charged internal diameter, the SUPER II is easier to grip, easier to hold onto, and easier to maneuver. It is ideally suited for advanced interior tactics, and high-rise and standpipe applications of modern fire crews facing realistic manpower constraints, while still providing enough GMP to overcome the BTU’s but in a lighter attack package. When charged the SUPER II is up to 40 lbs lighter per 50’ length compared to a standard 2.5” hose – up to 160 lbs less over a 200’ line.

Lt. Pfluger adds, "It truly is more like advancing a 1 3/4" hose than a 2.5" because of less water weight and smaller diameter to grip. You’re able to flow the exact same amount of flow for fires that need that larger GPM, but you can now move this hose easily with only two guys."

Hear what Lt. David Quick (NH) and Lt. Pfluger had to say at the launch with National Fire Radio during FDIC 2022:


“Limited staffing is a common challenge in the fire service across all of North America. Combined with the reality of bigger, faster-burning fires that require bigger GPMs, we see the 2.5” line deployed often, adding further challenges related to weight, maneuverability and speed,” says Jamie Emblem, Mercedes’ NE Regional Sales.

“At Mercedes Textiles, we’re always looking for ways to provide new, more efficient and effective ways to get water on a fire. That’s exactly what the KrakenEXO SUPER II does, lets the front line fight the fire, not the hose.

It's been 2 years since we launched the KrakenEXO SUPER II – and it's purpose is no less important. Since launch, we've seen many departments adopt the SUPER II to reach the same flows with up to 30% less weight. The feedback from the field has been overwhelmingly positive. We're very proud of that!

A QUICK NOTE: This year the NFPA 1960 added 2.25" to the official hose sizes. While it has an ID of 2.25" when charged, the KrakenEXO SUPER II will remain listed as a 2" hose based on it's dry ID. This is an important distinction, as a 2.25" listed hose would still be closer to a 2.5" in hand grip and weight than the SUPER II. Be sure to get all the specs to #knowyourhose when evaluating options.