OK folks....I just completed a pump-ops class....and got drilled that smooth bores are the way to go....less nozzle reaction for the same or greater amount of water....So, what is everyone using...? and why...? I know we have task force/Fog nozzles but are currently going to smooth bores...thanks...look forward to your responses.....Paul

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we have a few smooth bore nozzles on our deptarment but all of our attack lines are fog/combo nozzles, you can do more with them, more choices to work with. i am a fog/combo nozzle kind of guy.



After 37 years in the fire service I couldn't possibly disagree with you more in both your choice of nozzle and your tactics.


One of the FDs I am a member of uses 2 inch hose also, but we put a 200 gpm at 75 psi low pressure combination nozzle on it.  We under pump it to 55 psi at the nozzle to get 160 gpm to start,

or we go to 75 psi at the nozzle to get 200 gpm.  If that isn't enough we can dump the combo tip and go to a 1 1/4 inch smoothbore and flow 300 gpm at 42 psi at the tip.  Do you use you set-up on standpipes?  If so why?  Standpipes are not designed in most cases for 100 psi nozzles and the use of 100 psi nozzles, especially automatics, has a history of causing problems, from inadequate pressures leading to inadequate flows.  


STEAM?  Are you kidding me?  What about victims in the fire area or in adjacent rooms?  You will burn them, and possibly kill them with the steam moving under pressure into other areas as it expands.  The only time the use of steam conversion on the scale you are talking about is appropriate is when you can control the doors of an area to keep the steam in until venting is done, or you can confirm 100% that there are no possible survivable victims in the area.  Water damage is not the result of any nozzle type, it is the result of improperly trained, and poorly skilled, nozzle operators not turning the nozle off when the fire darkens down.  Believe me your TFT can do just as much water damage as any smoothbore with a poorly trained nozzle person.


If the TFT's and steam conversion firefighting works for your FD more power to you.  We use, whenever possible, either a straight stream or a smooth bore for interior firefighting to keep the amount of steam production down, which has a secondary effect of keeping visibility better by not forcing smoke and heated gases down on the attack crew. 



Thanks for clarifying your points.


I have used automatic nozzles for many years, in fact one of the POC FDs I am on now uses TFT's.  I just don't see the value in the wide flow range capability when most FDs don't ever take advantage of it.


Thanks for the kind words.  I will help when I can.

I just went through this whole thread as I don't believe I've seen it before the most recent activity. It doesn't much matter to me what nozzles are used by other departments. I'm FDNY and we've used smoothbore exclusively for interior structural firefighting for a long time. I know a couple of engine companies here and there have experimented over the years with fog nozzles. Maybe some still do. It seems to always come back to smoothbore. Some will say, "you have your preference and we have ours". That's fine. But what is your preference based on? I know that our preference is based on thousands of structural fires over many years. Are some of you using your fog nozzles because that's what is there? And always was? Do you like using them because you have them or do you have them because you like using them? And have you even tried the alternative?


Like I said earlier, I don't want to tell anyone what to use. But I do want to address some of the reasons given in this thread as to why some like the fog option:


"Fog is less disruptive to the thermal layer." Can someone....anyone.... please, please, please tell me how we can extinguish a fire without disrupting the thermal layer? It's absurd. The thermal layer is not our friend. The thermal layer is created by high heat in an area. Why do we want to protect high heat?


"Combo nozzles will penetrate just as far as smoothbores if you just increase the pressure." IMO, and speaking generally, we should use the least amount of pressure possible while still getting the job done. Increased pressures are more likely to come with operator error and/or equipment failure. Increased pressures will generally require more work to be done by the nozzle team. Yes, technique counts. Yes, the backup position can make a huge difference. But more work is still more work. With light staffing, this can be a big factor.


"Fog is needed for hydraulic ventilation." Hydraulic ventilation generally takes place after the fire is controlled. This is a lower priority than extinguishment and should have less importance in the discussion. If you use a smoothbore with stacked tips, you can remove the tip and shut nozzle partially to achieve a broken stream that will vent effectively. Put the tip in you pocket. Not a big deal.


"Fog offers better protection to nozzle team in case of flashover." How can a room flash when there's an operating hoseline in that room? We should be using the stream well ahead of our position to cool the area as we advance. No one should be advancing into the hottest area of the strucure and then opening the nozzle when they get there. If this is how you are fighting fires, nozzle selection is the least of your problems.Unless you are fighting a small localized fire in the incipient stage. If that's the case then go right in and open the nozzle when you get there.


"You can use the air from the fog stream if you get in a bind." This is pretty much just silly and was addressed by another member. Please be careful which fairytales you decide to believe. I don't recommend trying to suck up fresh air through the cracks between floor boards either. Yes I've heard that one suggested too.


"Fog allows water to break up into smaller molecules which cool the fire quicker and allow for less water usage." Water is not broken up to a molecular level by ANY type of nozzle. Water is broken up into steam by HEAT. The high heat we encounter at typical room and contents fires will break up the water from even a solid smoothbore stream almost instantly. Any advantage from smaller particles of water from a fog pattern would barely be noticeable. I've seen too many times how quickly a room darkens down with smoothbore water. Someone posted that 15 gallons of water converted to steam would extinguish a 12x20 fully involved room. I flat out don't believe this. You may darken down such a room, but we could do that just by keeping windows and doors shut. Hell, most fires will darken down on their own due to lack of air. There is a world of difference between darkening down and extinguishment. Once you open up a handline, the area will suffer water damage. 50 gallons vs 250 gallons doesn't make much of a difference. Especially when you throw in heat and smoke damage, Room will have to be gutted either way, most likely. And water damage prevention is secondary to the importance of fast knockdown of the fire.


"Solid stream from smoothbore may cause structural damage or bore through sheetrock or plaster." Any building that is structurally unsound to the point that a handline could be dangerous should not have a handline operating in it. You should be exterior. Boring through sheetrock or plaster just doesn't happen. This sounds like one of those fairy tales. I'm sure it's possible if you were to go out of your way to make it happen. But we are talking about fire attack here. The nozzle should be kept moving during attack. Whip it around the room and off the ceiling. No intact walls or ceilings will suffer much damage.

Remeber I address interior structural firefighting only. Fog patterns do have other effective uses. But for interior structural firefighting I say keep it as simple as possible. Put as much water where it can cool the area as you can as quickly as you can. Good things will happen.


If the "There is a world of difference between darkening down and extinguishment" comment was directed at me let me clarify what I was talking about. 


To me once the fire darkens down, in many cases, we can shut off the nozzle and allow the fire to vent the smoke, steam, heat, and improve conditions in the room.  Obviously if we see fire we would hit it again and finish it off.  But many times if we can't see the fire all we are doing is adding water to the structure that isn't needed at that point. 


I agree with the smoothbore attack of up, down, and all around, for a heavily involved room.  Many of us have no choice on the nozzles we use and they are various manufacturer's combination nozzles.  The up, down, and all around attack can be done with a combination nozzle set on straight stream.  I have done it myself many times.


I wish to God someone would smack in the back of the head the firefighters, fire officers, and fire instructors that keep preaching a wide fog can offer protection in an interior fire attack.  All I have ever seen it do in a superheated atmosphere is creat a steam cloud that made conditions even more miserable for the attack crew.  Put water into the over head in high heat, or flameover, roll over conditions in a straight stream to cool the smoke, heated gasses, and to kill any fire there.  yes steam will be created but not at anywhere near the quantity of using even a narrow fog pattern.


We have a little saying around here that goes like this: "Right for fight, Left for lobster."  We train our guys to use a straight stream when attacking interior fires.

Actually it was aimed at someone else. Don't remember who and I'm too lazy to go back and look. He had claimed that the steam generated from 15 gallons of water was enough to extinguish a 12x20 fully involved room. I suppose it's possible that 15 gallons via a fog pattern could be put into room and the door pulled shut, with the result being no visible flame. Pulling the door shut w/o water would also eventually lead to no visible flame (unless it self vented or found vertical extension). But I would not consider that to be an extinguished fire. At some point, someone has to put a bunch (way more than 15 gallons regardless of pattern) of water into the highly heated area and put the fire out. I believe this should occur as soon as humanly possible.


I couldn't agree more about the fog pattern offering "protection". Protection from what? Fire? Guys talk about using the fog to protect them as they withdraw. Withdraw to where? Why did they go in in the first place? If they withdraw with an operating hose line, what's gonna put the fire out? Hooks and halligans? The best protection from fire, unless I've been missing something all these years, is lots of water real fast.


The smooth bore straight stream will make some steam too. It's just part of the equation. Properly timed ventilation ahead of the stream helps a lot. Roof ventilation may or may not help, depending on conditions. If I was challenged for staffing I'd put horizontal ahead of vertical ventilation. Typical one or two room fire agressively attacked can be knocked down before roof opening is providing real relief in many cases. It all depends on timing and timing depends a lot on staffing, response times, etc.

Just to add my two cents worth:

   I was taught that the tighter the stream the closer the water actually got to the seat of the fire. Yes combo nozzles break up water into smaller pieces (hundreds of drops all in a line) but those smaller drops absorb heat more quickly and dissipate (become steam) more quickly. By using a smoothbore the stream is more compact and the "thermal layer" doesn't convert as much of it to steam. Basically the difference being combo lowers the temp in the entire area a little at a time while slowly putting actual water on the seat of the fire. While smooth bores punch a hole in the thermal layer and deliver a lot more water on the seat of the fire preventing the generation of increased heat.

 All of that being said it comes down to preference, I prefer smoothbores for initial attack on structure fires and smoothbores for most other fires. One of my former departments had both types of nozzles on the preconnects so that one the nozzleman could grab his choice based on observations on scene.

Captjack. Great response! I could not agree
more with you!

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