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Smooth Bore vs. Automatic Nozzles - revisited I'm sure

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  • #16
    Dalmation90...

    If you have seen smooth bore streams firing straight through a car and out the other side due to improper technique is that the fault of the nozzle or the fault of the nozzle operator? Seems obvious to me...training in the use of the assigned tool corrects those kinds of problems.

    What training can't over come is the reality of necessary pressure to make the automatic nozzle function. It takes a certain amount of pressure to open the stem to allow sufficient water to flow. Depending on the nozzle it may be as low as 55 psi or as high as 100 psi.

    As long as we are telling annecdotal stories I will share mine. My volly FD was called mutual to a working barn fire. The FD whose fire it was had 3 - 1 3/4 inch handlines pulled and was attacking the fire. All 3 lines had TFT 50-350 nozzles. They were making no headway at all. We pulled in and stretched a 1 3/4" line and a 2" line the 2" line had a 200 at 75 psi nozzle on it. We never charged the 1 3/4" line. We began to hit the fire on our assigned side of the barn and knocked it down quickly. We then proceeded to the front of the barn and knocked that down too. Eventually the fire was darkened enough where the original FD went inside to overhaul. They had trouble moving their line in so we handed ours to them through one of the milking parlor windows. They used our line for overhaul and stated many times they wished they had somewthing like that. The point? You tell me? Annecdotal stories are just that...

    Personally I prefer the smoothbore, but we use the low pressure Elkkart Chiefs and they work for us. The slug tip behind the combo is a nice touch too.

    Essentially, use what you have and know how to use it properly.

    This discussion is much like Chevy versus Ford...except the smart ones drive Chryslers!!

    FyredUp
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    • #17
      First of all, I am one of the guys who lead the charge back to the smoothbore nozzles on our department. That being said, there are times where I would use only a fog. Car fires with foam, lpg, and attics, or possibly fires in compartments where there is no life hazard, are some examples. I would disagree that saving water is a plus, I know that in the old days (and I have 25years on, so it was the real old days)It was thought that saving tank water was a big plus. The problem with this is that if you need 500 gpm to put the fire out, you need to spray 500 right now, on the seat of the fire and it will go out. If you spray 150 gpm, then you've saved the water, but the fire is still burning.
      The most effective use of a smooth bore was when we had a house very well involved on arrival. Since we were brought up using nothing but fogs, we pulled a 2-1/2, on straight stream and went to work. Nothing much happened, and one of the older officers pulled a s/b with a 1 in tip. This nozzle knocked the fire down. When we looked at the fog, from the side, the straight stream was evaporating before it ever reached the fire, it was one of the most amazing things I ever saw, and it was set at 250gpm. That 200gpm s/b might have gone to the fire, through the house, and out of the back yard, but it was a 1 inch area that wasn't burning.
      I would also suggest that if your s/b hoselines are kinking, then you really need to get with your engineer and find out why he's underpumping the line. I've never had a problem with any line kinking (within reason) if it was pumped correctly.
      Another consideration is that now days most fogs probably work too good, they are very good at creating a broken stream, however, and I realize that this is up for debate here. When doing an interior attack with personnel inside, or possibly victims, the last thing I want to do is make steam. The fogs tend to make steam even when you don't want them to. If I want a broken stream, I would prefer to bank the solid stream off of a wall or corner, this way very little steam is generated and you can still control the atmosphere.
      As far as fogs, we use the low pressure Akrons with a break apart feature that includes a 7/8 stub tip.

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