Making The Push
For many of you, when you hear “Nozzle Forward” in the fire service, you know exactly what that name encompasses. For those of you who are not familiar with what Nozzle Forward is all about, you are missing out! So…., what is Nozzle Forward you ask? Well…., In the terms of Aaron Fields “General Badassery”! The Nozzle Forward
has been battle tested and proven to be effective and efficient.
The goal of Nozzle Forward is to increase engine company effectiveness and efficiency. The course consists of three major components of engine company work.
I recently had the privilege to attend a Nozzle Forward class in Colorado Springs, CO. From the immediate start of the class (lecture), I knew that this class was going to be phenomenal! Not only did this class meet my expectations, it exceeded them by leaps and bounds. In class we saw how easily gases can be controlled and pushed to vent points, allowing for a better chance of survival for any occupants in the room, to include ourselves. This is not to be confused with pushing fire, as we know that we cannot do so. We were shown videos with rapid temperature decreases in a matter of seconds when water was applied. The simple act of putting water in the IDLH environment with the correct stream (straight or solid) can, has, and will continue to save lives. The majority of the class was spent outside performing an array of evolutions. We used the crawl, walk, run method of learning. We built a solid foundation of hose deployment, hose management, body mechanics and proper positioning on the hoseline, to prepare us for the second day of evolutions. As each evolution followed, we were now collecting more and more pieces to the effective and efficient engine company puzzle that we were putting together.
On day two we hit it hard from the start, using everything that we learned on day one. We were now advancing lines into the structure while flowing water, making turns while flowing, and reaching our objective in a timely manner. The beauty of it all is that the class was made up of firefighters from over twenty different departments, and everyone was on the same page, speaking the same language, and shared the same common goal. The pieces to the puzzle were now falling into place. By the end of the 13 hour day, the energy was getting low, the morale was high, and a bond had been formed with everyone involved. It did not matter whether it was a 1 ¾ line, or a 2 ½ attack line, everyone was making the push, the line was going in, and the fire was going out! Sounds like “Winning” to me!
The Nozzle Forward instructors gave us many pieces of the effective and efficient engine company puzzle that we were putting together, but it is not complete. The missing pieces of the puzzle are the repetitions that must take place in order to maximize the effectiveness of the operation. Just like anything in life, you have to put in the work (sweat equity) in order to reach your goal. This puzzle may never be completed, but it will not be from a lack of repetitions, but rather the mindset that there is always room for improvement. Remember, we do not do this for awards, commendations, pats on the back, toots of our own horn, but simply, WE DO IT FOR THEM! So take the time to put in good work and get dirty to master your craft and achieve a high level of performance.
If you see a Nozzle Forward class near you, I suggest that you sign up the first day, as theses classes fill rapidly. If there isn’t a class near you, you may want to travel to check out the class. For our class in Colorado, we had guys travel from Cedar Rapids, IA, and Wisconsin, just to see what the Nozzle Forward movement is about. These guys will tell you that the trip was well worth it, and probably one of the best classes that they have ever attended!
Aaron Fields and the Nozzle Forward instructors prove that we can all speak the same language in the fire service. Regardless if your riding backwards in Cedar Rapids, IA, or Colorado Springs, CO, we can get a handline in place, down hallways, around turns, upstairs, and into interior rooms in a timely manner. Hell, we can do it all while flowing water! If you are wondering where you can find Aaron Fields, just go to the end of the line, he’s got the pipe! Check out the Nozzle Forward website for upcoming classes, and follow them on Facebook.