We have adjustible gallonage nozzles on our attack lines. We keep them set at 125 gpms and operate them at the straight stream setting. The 125 gpm is the standard norm and the straight stream is just the perferred setting so that it won't destroy the thermal layering like a 30 degree pattern will.
On our rear lines we have 1 3/4" nozzles set to 150 gpm. I would prefer to have a 15/16 smooth bore on some of those lines except our Chief is set in the dark ages.
I hear ya, it took a lot for us to get the smooth bores back, and it’s a struggle every tour to get officers to use it. We still have the State's training agency running around teaching/advocating the use of the combination nozzles and fog streams for interior fire fighting. I think people are starting to come around but it’s going to take some time to undo the damage/bad tactics.
I was an instructor at a live burn this past weekend where we used a 7/8" tip (I believe that was the size) on an 1 1/2" line. It worked outstanding. Apparently this dept who we burned for still uses fog nozzles but all of their burns lately have used smooth bores on the primary attack line. I reckin' they are thinking of making the switch.
How can you argue with more water, less pressure on the line and less nozzle reaction?
one thing i think people dont know or forget is even at 125 psi your only going to get about 95 gpm from a fog nozzle if your lucky and i just dont think that cuts it not when you can get 180 gpm from 50 psi from a SB witch im sure you know the numbers but there are alot of people still out there that think because the set it to a certain gpm that there getting that much water and it just isnt true its very misleading
The fog's on the 1 3/4" are Akron Turbojet's and they are usually set on 200 gpm's. The fog's on the 2 1/2" are usually set on 250 gpm's. I always check in the morning when I get stow my gear on the rig that they are set on 200 gpm's because some guys will turn them back to 150 gpm. I haven't found a policy on the they are suppose to be set on but I the dept. I work for does not believe in smoothbore's. They say it causes to much water damage and it messes up the thermal balance. (I've refrained from speaking my opinion because I've only been there for 7 months.) Some of our guys just realized last week that we have break aparts and what you can do with them.
The discussion of fog v solid does not address the full spectrum of fire attack.
If a fire can be attacked using a direct application of water to the fuel bed the science is clear that the straight stream has a real but miniscule advantage in fuel bed cooling ability while real life experience indicates that smoothbore tips are easier to use, don’t fail, are safer to handle, and work at low nozzle pressures. I think the weight of the evidence is on the side of the smoothbore.
The value of the fog nozzle is clearly not in the direct attack which is how most of our interior fires are fought. The direct attack is predicated on using the reach of the stream to maintain a safe distance from the fire and not moving into an area which may flash over and will become filled with steam. However, the leading cause of traumatic death in the fire service occurs when sudden fire development overtakes advancing crews who are not in the fire compartment. The smoke ignites. The protection of these crews is a multifaceted affair of which nozzle technique is only one part.
The use of a fog pattern (60 degrees, 100 psi at the tip, 150 gpm) applied up into the hot smoke layer for less than one second (crack open and slam shut the bale) will cool the smoke, actually cause the layer to rise, and provide thermal ballast vastly increasing the thermal energy needed to ignite it. While this method does not put out fires it allows for the safe advance of the hose team into a deteriorating environment which is nearing flashover. This is an oversimplification and should NEVER replace putting water on the fire IF you can see the fire. (I do this and it really does work amazingly well!)
To protect our crews fog nozzles are used on lines that will be advanced into compartmentalized occupancies where smoke ignition is the primary hazard and the reach of the stream can not be utilized due to partitioning i.e. residential fires. The fog nozzles have smoothbore inserts incase they clog, pressure is inadequate, or another problem develops. The tips are stored in the straight stream position (all the way to the right) so the man on the pipe knows where he is starting at and can blindly adjust the pattern while not flowing or looking at the nozzle.
On the other hand, commercial occupancies with large undivided floor plans allow for the reach of the stream to provide crew safety and our 2.5” lines are being switched to smoothbore nozzles for all the reasons everyone else has described.
In our department we have one smoothbore on Engine 1. We use fog nozzles on all of our handlines, both preconnects and static loads, with the exception of 1- 2-1/2 handline off the back of Engine 1, which has a Vindicator nozzle.
There is no department policy on what the settings the nozzles should be on, but, for the majority of members who get the nozzle at working fires, we use a straight stream to attack. I say the majority of members because as a combination department with everyone but the Chief as POC, we very seldom have the same engine company. First to come, first to fight. I always tell the younger guys at training, if you want the most out of your handline, remember turn Right to Fight, and turn Left for Lobster.
We still have a couple of selectable gallonage nozzles on Engine 2 and Ladder 1 (50' quint). Those we have set at 125 gpm. That is the highest setting.
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