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My department is starting to switch out all of the Akron combination nozzles with smooth bore nozzles. Let's discuss this!

What are the Pros & the Cons for both combination and smooth bores?

Which do you prefer?

I like the combination nozzles for the following reasons:
- Hydraulic ventilation
- More control ( I can change if needed)
- Self cooling if needed for emergency purposes
- Propane fires
-Car Fires ( Sweeping & etc....)

My Concerns with the combination nozzles are
- STEAMING by the nozzle-man ( Rookie)

I would love to hear how the professionals in the FE Community feel about this.

Remember be SAFE & TRAIN as training will save lives!


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Also what are the Brand names of Nozzles do you use?
Are they really taking ALL the combination nozzles off the rigs? What about foam ops, or vapor dispersal, or rapid emergency decon? I think it's important to remember that one tool won't do every job. I do prefer the smooth bore nozzle for interior fire attack 1 3/4" lines, and on 2 1/2 " lines for defensive fire attack or advanced fire conditions, standpipe ops, and commercial building interior fire attack. Pretty much anytime gallons per minute are crucial I think it is an excellent tool.. All the articles in FE comparing the two that talk about flow rates, nozzle reaction, friction loss due to kinking have made me check it out on my own, and I'm a believer. That being said, the fog nozzle is much better in foam application, vapor dispersal, etc. I think a well equipped engine company should have both available. Well reasoned and thought through SOGs can give guidance about which nozzle to use in what situations, but engine companies should train and be proficient in both. As far as what my department uses, it depends on the Captain of the company. Some believe that we should not carry smooth bore nozzles at all, some put a smooth bore on at least one preconnect, some more than that. The one thing that is standardized is our high rise/stand pipe pack (150' of 2 1/2" hose with a smooth bore 1 1/4" tip). Slowly but surely we are starting to phase out 1 1/2" lines with 125gpm combination nozzles, but you still find some guys who take that inside. I hope this helps out and you can help keep both tools on the rigs.
Due to time constraints,I can't get into all the technical arguments of smoothbore vs. combination nozzles. We've all beat that to death and the plain fact is that people's opinions aren't easily gonna be swayed. My dept. has almost completely switched over to smoothbores. We still have combo nozzles for backup and on a preconnected foam line, which we also use as a trash line. I like the playing..adjusting..forgetting to take it off fog b4 hitting a fire. Our most recent purchases were ordered without pistol grips. This forces members to keep the line out in front of them,not close to their body with bent elbow. There are you said...hydraulic venting etc...but pound for pound ...we like the smoothbores and for what we do, we're set. A Big factor is PRICE. Another factor is training..flowing the proper GPM. We purchased TFT's.
We have pro packs for foam applications
Thank you for your reply!
I belive having both type of nozzles at your disposal is best. I prefer 15/16 smoth bore most of the time. I also volunteer and have found rockwood and variable gllonage nozzles in service. I would discourage the use of low flow and variable gallonage nozzles because GPMs are the key to controling the fire. For instance I noticed a 2 1/2" rockwood on a preconnect and investigated its flow. I found it moved 138 gpm at 100 psi., pretty sad for a 2 1/2"! At work we have one smoth bore and one 75 psi combination fog nozzle on the two 1 3/4" preconnects and the same combo on the two 2 1/2" preconnects but the 2 1/2" combo is a 50 psi nozzle. We aslo have a break-a-way highrise nozzle. It can be used as a 75 psi combo the fog portion used by itself, twisting the nozzle clock wise will shut it off, and the ball valve has a 15/16" orfice to be used as a second nozzle if needed.

In my personal opinion small, light smoth bore nozzles are my favorites, but you need fog some times.
Thank you, What do you you use to cool yourself if needed?
Todd What do you mean "cool yourself if needed"
Chief: In a emergency situation open the nozzle to fog away from the fire of course and it will cool you. This is most likely used in the worse case situation, where you may need rescued and so on. I learned this method at the Ohio Fire Academy in a save your own class. I hope I explained myself well enough without going in great detail. Please let me know if I need to go in more depth. This can be dangerous due steam. Last resort! Todd
Hey Todd
I still don't follow you, are saying the fog patten at 34 degrees will draw cool air or are you saying you would use it wet your gear? If you are saying it will draw cool air then you must be very close to the entrance or a window or some other ventilation point, so what type of heat related trouble are you in. I would support opening the nozzle on the fire and cool the fire. If you are that hot in your gear I am concerned that your environment is looking for the very same cool air that you are.
If you are advocating wetting your gear I must completely disagree and strongly advise you to always keep your gear as dry as possible. See Doffing Superheated Gear by Patty Brown for great information on how our gear works and what to do when it gets superheated

The use of any nozzle is only as good as the nozzle team. The well trained engine company can identify when and if they can get to the seat of the fire and if they have sufficient water to contain the fire and keep the overhead gasses cooled. The addition of one tool does not automatically mean you can or should eliminate any other. The Denver guys call the smooth bore the peoples choice nozzle for interior operations but they still carry and use fog tips foam tips wide bores and several others for fires which require those tools.
My concern would be a one size fits all mentality and I am also not a fan of the Swiss army knife policy where one tool can be transformed into five tools. Keep em all use them where they are appropriate and test them frequently. It is also important to keeep an open mind and test under as close to actual conditions as possible.
Keep going I would like to hear some others thoughts in here.
Chief: Thank you for the comment, no I do not want anyone to cool them self by wetting the gear, that would not be good at all. When opening to full fog while in trouble it creates a breeze when the water comes out of the nozzle, which is cooler than the interior. Now it does not stay cool for long but it really does help, I did not think this would work but it really does for a last resort short time. Todd

The term, Combination Nozzle means just that; you can have a wide variety of "combinations" of flow (gpm) and stream shape (nearly straight stream through to a nearly 160º water curtain effect). As you comment, you can get high gallonage (up to or exceeding 225 gpm, according to who makes the nozzle - on a 1 3/4 inch line (I have handled one with a 380 + gpm flow on a 1 3/4 hose) or how about 60 gpm on a 1 inch line.

The combinations available include, but are far from limited to:

- High flow + long reach for initial fire attack
- Variable flow + infinite stream angle for close-in control and extinction
- Variable stream angle for hydraulic ventilation
- Wide angle stream as a water curtain - self protection
- Toxic vapor control and/or dilution
- Low flow for mop-up
- Instant use as an AFFF aplicator - Class B fires or Class A foam application
- "Soft" application by a narrow angle stream for spill dispersion
- Low flow for decontamination
- etc.
- And all with reasonable nozzle pressure; 70 to 90 psi, more or less according to the situation.

A 15/16 or similar smooth bore WILL give plenty of reach and respectable flows but the smooth bore is limited to exactly that; an fixed diameter open orifice through which a fairly determined amount of water will flow, with variation controlled only by partially closing the shut-off valve OR by varying pump output pressure.

Anyone out there remember the Mystery Nozzle? It was, and still is the essence of of variable fire stream nozzles, invented back around 1950 (maybe even earlier). I have seen still in use for initial fire attack, so, if it was good enough for our grand dads, maybe it still works.

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