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This discussion is probably one of the oldest ,and yet one of the most misinformed topics on water delivery out there. I would like to try it again but this time base it on what you have actually expierienced instead of what you have heard. some topics that come to mind are penitration capabilities ,flow capabilities, the fact that an automatic is decieving in its flows, etc.

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This is a good question. The real question is how much are you getting when the bail is fully open? the nozzle states 50-350gpm @100psi. So are you getting 25- 175gpm? When using a fixed gallonage nozzle the orifice size never changes and what you get is very predictable. I would wonder if GPM is a concern during fire attack, why are we operating with the bale half-way open. For most firefighters it would be because of too much nozzle reaction so the bale is partially closed to lower the reaction force. This in turn lowers GPM. It is a better choice to lower nozzle pressure to lower reaction force. Such as a smooth bore nozzle

John Joseph said:
I guess this would be a little off topic, but its something I always wondered. When using an automatic nozzle, my department uses TFT Handlines if we want to be very specific, just how much does the bale position effect flow rate? Say you are pumping for 180 gpm when fully opened, how much are you getting at half or 3/4 open?
I agree fog nozzles have there place but the fog nozzle does not have to be the automatic version. I believe the simplicity of a constant gallonage fog provides a safer alternative to the overly complexed automatic design.

P.S. How many valves have you shut off? often times the valve is remote to the fire location.

Ricky Teter said:
I believe every tool has a use, and if you only have one tool in your tool box you don't have a very effective or capable tool box. I have used both automatics and smooth bore nozzles depending on the Officer I am working with or whether I am at work or with my vollie dept.. And, they both do their job. If we are operating off of a standpipe, there is no doubt that I want that smooth bore in my hand for reasons of debris and ability to work at lower operating pressures. The automatics give you options for other types of firefighting activities, we do not respond only to interior structure fires, we respond to multiple types of fires and incidents that the automatic nozzle is perfect for, i.e. vehicle fires, protection lines during extrications or during gas line breaks. We have a major oil refinery in our vollie district, the automatic is a necessity to capture a fire on a pump to shut down a valve. Every tool has its use and having just one tool really limits your ability to do your job. Just my opinion.
The question you ask about how much water are we really flowing as it relates to automatics can be asked about any nozzle wether it be smooth bore, automatic, fixed combo, Vindicatior, or even a line without a nozzle. If the nozzle is fully open it is going to get what the pump operator gives it pressure wise. The hose size, length, nozzle pressure and discharge pressure all make up the flow, again when the nozzle is fully open . The concept I am talking about is based on a fully open nozzle. Example. DepartmentX has a 185 gpm standard flow for an interior attack stream . That is what the pump operator gives every time the line is charged for the interior attack. The real question should be, how mach water am I flowing when the nozzle is gated down because the 185 gpm isn't needed. Think about it. We do it all the time. If the FDNY boys go in on an interior attack they are armed with a 15/16" smooth bore flowing 185 GPM. They know that they will get this every time. If when they get to the fire problem and discover that the fire isn't worthy of that flow( say its a matress fire) I would bet they don't blast it with the full 185. If for what ever reason the nozzle guy losses his footing and is faced with going for a ride powered by the 185 gpm I would bet that he would gate down.
To reply to your statement (would wonder if GPM is a concern during fire attack, why are we operating with the bale half-way open. For most firefighters it would be because of too much nozzle reaction so the bale is partially closed to lower the reaction force. This in turn lowers GPM. It is a better choice to lower nozzle pressure to lower reaction force. Such as a smooth bore nozzle) I would agree that if the required flow of the nozzle is needed then you should not gate it down unless something requires it. There is nothing wrong with a low NP nozzle for interior attack work. What I like about autos is that with proper training a fireman can increase the flow for the unexpected significantly and then gated if down. You know my car has the ability to go 100 MPH if I need it to. It is designed to do that and I control it. If I drive down my street I only go 25 MPH because that is what is required. A nozzle should be know different.Example. A 1-3/4" line is pulled with a automatic nozzle Capable of 300 GPM. The line is going to be used on a fully involved three car garage.
The pump operator knows that he is going to pump this line at 250 psi to give the fireman the maximun flow( at least 250 GPM). With the atuomatic once the fire is knocked down the fireman doesn't have to rely on the pump operator to throttle down. It can be done at the nozzle. without breaking up the stream because that is what a automatic can do.Finally I don't understand why alot of people say an automatic is more complicated than others as far as its operation goes. Its real simple open it or close it. The added feature it has is that a bgated down auto will not produce a broken stream. I will agree that the auto is more complicated in design and is a high dollar item. But operationaly no.
Have any of you actually done digital flow tests, using the same nozzle. Shutting the line off at the pump, and then recharging? Did you get extremly varying flows (TFTs)? We did that. We used the same nozzle, and was conducting pump training. Low and behold, 150 gpm. Then 105 gpm. Then 125 Gpm. Thought we screwed up, changed to a different TFT. Same thing happened. These were all 200 feet of 1.75" hose, pumping at 150 PSI. with an inline pressure gauge behind the nozzle. We always had 100 psi on this gauge. We never had consistant GPMs. One flow went as low as 90 GPM. We put the 15/16 SB on the end, and we had consistant 180 to 190 GPM. Everytime. The men on the TFT never knew that they had any issues. We contacted Task Force Inovations. They sent out a rep. We conducted the test in front of him. Again, the same results. He asked me how old the heads were on the nozzle. They are 10+ years old. He stated they needed to be changed as the spring goes out of calibration. WHAT!!!???? YOU ARE FRICKIN KIDDING ME? WHERE IS THIS INFORMATION ON YOUR WEBSITE!!! I said. Guess what. Free heads. Bottom line is boys, you don't know what you are getting with an automatic unless you have flow meters on your rigs. And we all know how well they work. Just try it.
Hey Paul, just one thing, please don't let me piss off the guys you work with! They must be the biggest guys in the fire service to hold a 1 3/4" TFT pumping at 300 GPM! Holy Crap! Throw meat at them or something! I will buy them beers at ST. Paddys day to see them do that!
Hey Russ, first off your TFT expierience is new to me. I am not doubting you one bit. It is something I will check into. If this is the case there is some rethinking for me to do.
Second., I am retired so there is no co workers to piss off. My bad, I should have talked about the reasoning and techniques used in the big water 1-3/4" operation. Please don't take offense but you just proved to me a negative characteristic that beholds the fire service when it comes to water delivery. This is the way we have always done it so therefore there is no other way it can be done. Here it is plan and simple. The 1-3/4" line is ordered by the company officer for whatever reason. Maybe you are on a 2 or 3 man unit and the 2-1/2" is not an option, or maybe the line has to be pulled through an obstacle course where 1-3/4" would be alot easier to pull than a 2-1/2". The intial attack is going to be an exterior big hit or blitz attack and let's say for the sake of this forum that we are looking for 300 GPM. And finally let's say that one guy is going to direct the stream. Here is how a 59 year old retired fireman that is only 5'7" (me) can do this with ease. Pull the line in place , sit on it and let it rip. One fireman does this all the time with a 2-1/2" so why not a 1-3/4"? Could I stand up and do this? Hell no. Nor would I need to when the attack is stationary. Could a 2-1/2" move this water? Of course. I was just talking about an alternative. Its really no different then the old bucket birgades. Was the buckets capable of moving water? An alternative was brought into play to use this new leather product called fire hose.'
A good friend of mine told me a phrase that was both humerous and really made a lot of sense. " The mind is like a parachute, It works best when it's open".


Russ Chapman said:
Hey Paul, just one thing, please don't let me piss off the guys you work with! They must be the biggest guys in the fire service to hold a 1 3/4" TFT pumping at 300 GPM! Holy Crap! Throw meat at them or something! I will buy them beers at ST. Paddys day to see them do that!
Mr. Shapiro, I do respect the knowledge you have however, You are giving examples that an automatic nozzle is superior in situations that I have encountered with a smooth bore nozzle i.e. a mattress fire and overhauling some cars in a carport. I did not need the engineer to throttle down to overhaul the carport. What is of concern in those situations is knocking down the fire. I find the simplicity of design of the smooth bore to increase the odds to achieve that knock down. I have had fog nozzles clog on me a few times and I have had the spring fail to close on an automatic so a stream could not be achieved.
As far as driving a car down the street why make the comparison thats just ridiculous.

Paul Shapiro said:
The question you ask about how much water are we really flowing as it relates to automatics can be asked about any nozzle wether it be smooth bore, automatic, fixed combo, Vindicatior, or even a line without a nozzle. If the nozzle is fully open it is going to get what the pump operator gives it pressure wise. The hose size, length, nozzle pressure and discharge pressure all make up the flow, again when the nozzle is fully open . The concept I am talking about is based on a fully open nozzle. Example. DepartmentX has a 185 gpm standard flow for an interior attack stream . That is what the pump operator gives every time the line is charged for the interior attack. The real question should be, how mach water am I flowing when the nozzle is gated down because the 185 gpm isn't needed. Think about it. We do it all the time. If the FDNY boys go in on an interior attack they are armed with a 15/16" smooth bore flowing 185 GPM. They know that they will get this every time. If when they get to the fire problem and discover that the fire isn't worthy of that flow( say its a matress fire) I would bet they don't blast it with the full 185. If for what ever reason the nozzle guy losses his footing and is faced with going for a ride powered by the 185 gpm I would bet that he would gate down.
To reply to your statement (would wonder if GPM is a concern during fire attack, why are we operating with the bale half-way open. For most firefighters it would be because of too much nozzle reaction so the bale is partially closed to lower the reaction force. This in turn lowers GPM. It is a better choice to lower nozzle pressure to lower reaction force. Such as a smooth bore nozzle) I would agree that if the required flow of the nozzle is needed then you should not gate it down unless something requires it. There is nothing wrong with a low NP nozzle for interior attack work. What I like about autos is that with proper training a fireman can increase the flow for the unexpected significantly and then gated if down. You know my car has the ability to go 100 MPH if I need it to. It is designed to do that and I control it. If I drive down my street I only go 25 MPH because that is what is required. A nozzle should be know different.Example. A 1-3/4" line is pulled with a automatic nozzle Capable of 300 GPM. The line is going to be used on a fully involved three car garage.
The pump operator knows that he is going to pump this line at 250 psi to give the fireman the maximun flow( at least 250 GPM). With the atuomatic once the fire is knocked down the fireman doesn't have to rely on the pump operator to throttle down. It can be done at the nozzle. without breaking up the stream because that is what a automatic can do.Finally I don't understand why alot of people say an automatic is more complicated than others as far as its operation goes. Its real simple open it or close it. The added feature it has is that a bgated down auto will not produce a broken stream. I will agree that the auto is more complicated in design and is a high dollar item. But operationaly no.
Daryl, I am a firm believer in doing what works best for you. It sounds like you have it down.

Daryl Liggins said:
Mr. Shapiro, I do respect the knowledge you have however, You are giving examples that an automatic nozzle is superior in situations that I have encountered with a smooth bore nozzle i.e. a mattress fire and overhauling some cars in a carport. I did not need the engineer to throttle down to overhaul the carport. What is of concern in those situations is knocking down the fire. I find the simplicity of design of the smooth bore to increase the odds to achieve that knock down. I have had fog nozzles clog on me a few times and I have had the spring fail to close on an automatic so a stream could not be achieved.
As far as driving a car down the street why make the comparison thats just ridiculous.

Paul Shapiro said:
The question you ask about how much water are we really flowing as it relates to automatics can be asked about any nozzle wether it be smooth bore, automatic, fixed combo, Vindicatior, or even a line without a nozzle. If the nozzle is fully open it is going to get what the pump operator gives it pressure wise. The hose size, length, nozzle pressure and discharge pressure all make up the flow, again when the nozzle is fully open . The concept I am talking about is based on a fully open nozzle. Example. DepartmentX has a 185 gpm standard flow for an interior attack stream . That is what the pump operator gives every time the line is charged for the interior attack. The real question should be, how mach water am I flowing when the nozzle is gated down because the 185 gpm isn't needed. Think about it. We do it all the time. If the FDNY boys go in on an interior attack they are armed with a 15/16" smooth bore flowing 185 GPM. They know that they will get this every time. If when they get to the fire problem and discover that the fire isn't worthy of that flow( say its a matress fire) I would bet they don't blast it with the full 185. If for what ever reason the nozzle guy losses his footing and is faced with going for a ride powered by the 185 gpm I would bet that he would gate down.
To reply to your statement (would wonder if GPM is a concern during fire attack, why are we operating with the bale half-way open. For most firefighters it would be because of too much nozzle reaction so the bale is partially closed to lower the reaction force. This in turn lowers GPM. It is a better choice to lower nozzle pressure to lower reaction force. Such as a smooth bore nozzle) I would agree that if the required flow of the nozzle is needed then you should not gate it down unless something requires it. There is nothing wrong with a low NP nozzle for interior attack work. What I like about autos is that with proper training a fireman can increase the flow for the unexpected significantly and then gated if down. You know my car has the ability to go 100 MPH if I need it to. It is designed to do that and I control it. If I drive down my street I only go 25 MPH because that is what is required. A nozzle should be know different.Example. A 1-3/4" line is pulled with a automatic nozzle Capable of 300 GPM. The line is going to be used on a fully involved three car garage.
The pump operator knows that he is going to pump this line at 250 psi to give the fireman the maximun flow( at least 250 GPM). With the atuomatic once the fire is knocked down the fireman doesn't have to rely on the pump operator to throttle down. It can be done at the nozzle. without breaking up the stream because that is what a automatic can do.Finally I don't understand why alot of people say an automatic is more complicated than others as far as its operation goes. Its real simple open it or close it. The added feature it has is that a bgated down auto will not produce a broken stream. I will agree that the auto is more complicated in design and is a high dollar item. But operationaly no.

The article in the latest FE by the guys from Sacremento shows some compelling evidence for the use of smoothbores. It's quite "data heavy" but some of the findings are fairly blatant. Work your way through it, it's a "must read".http://www.fireengineering.com/index/articles/display/5823854724/ar...



Wont touch this with a 10ft pole .. Read Study And Train Train Train.....

I am with you Brother!!!!!  I am a die hard smooth bore guy, but talk about hard evidence!  way out of my league!!  Bottom line...did the fire go out?

Greg Wyant said:

Wont touch this with a 10ft pole .. Read Study And Train Train Train.....

Hey Russ,

   Interesting you should mention your flow tests. Like Paul, I've been using the TFT's for thirty years and they have been very reliable and put out a lot of fire. Like you, we did some flow testing (quite a few years ago) and were not pleased with the results. It seems as though the design of the TFT produces a stream that looks just as good with poor flows as with good flows; the naked eye can't discern. However, we got in touch with the TFT people, and we also discovered that maintenance was a big factor over the longer term. We sent our own maintenance techs off to the TFT school. (yep, they have a school) and we've had no problems with them since. As a matter of fact, overall, even before we sent our guys off to that school, I'd say we've had very few problems ever.

   The only exception we've made is with high rises. We outfit all our high rise packs with smooth bores, because here we truly do have issues with reach, penetration and pressure. With the large open spaces of high rise offices, the heavy fire loading of apartments in relatively small spaces in hi-rise apartments and the fairly low ceiling heights of both, we find that the beating you take begins as soon as you enter from the stair and a longer penetration was necessary to begin making any headway. Further, the lack of any preliminary ventilation on account of the nature of the hi-rise, coupled with the "hot gas collector" that is the drop ceiling, we felt it was incumbent upon us to make as little steam as possible. The third leg of this was pressure. The TFT is designed to work at pressures of 100 psi or higher - less than that and the baffles don't open, and in many high rise fires the delivery of 100 psi to the upper storeys is iffy. Between poorly designed standpipe systems, flow restrictors that you may not have knowledge of or with no bypasses, and pump operator error, we've come to the conclusion that there are too many variables to rely on TFT's for these types of fires. It's interesting to note here, that on horizontal standpipes, of which you will find many in industrial settings, we find no problems - hence gravity is the biggest factor. Not to mention the high ceilings which make the beating you take more tolerable.

   I like a smooth bore, well, because I likea smooth bore, but, we've had great results with TFT's. A properly working TFT with a standardized pump pressure of 200 psi will produce a stream of approx. 200 gpm, and who could argue with that on a 1 3/4" handline? Besides, our higher ups aren't giving us any choices.  TJP

Russ Chapman said:

Have any of you actually done digital flow tests, using the same nozzle. Shutting the line off at the pump, and then recharging? Did you get extremly varying flows (TFTs)? We did that. We used the same nozzle, and was conducting pump training. Low and behold, 150 gpm. Then 105 gpm. Then 125 Gpm. Thought we screwed up, changed to a different TFT. Same thing happened. These were all 200 feet of 1.75" hose, pumping at 150 PSI. with an inline pressure gauge behind the nozzle. We always had 100 psi on this gauge. We never had consistant GPMs. One flow went as low as 90 GPM. We put the 15/16 SB on the end, and we had consistant 180 to 190 GPM. Everytime. The men on the TFT never knew that they had any issues. We contacted Task Force Inovations. They sent out a rep. We conducted the test in front of him. Again, the same results. He asked me how old the heads were on the nozzle. They are 10+ years old. He stated they needed to be changed as the spring goes out of calibration. WHAT!!!???? YOU ARE FRICKIN KIDDING ME? WHERE IS THIS INFORMATION ON YOUR WEBSITE!!! I said. Guess what. Free heads. Bottom line is boys, you don't know what you are getting with an automatic unless you have flow meters on your rigs. And we all know how well they work. Just try it.

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