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Straight-stream v. fog

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  • Straight-stream v. fog

    I appreciate all the wisdom on this group. I started in FD 20 yrs ago, moved into nursing, and now doing VFD.

    I was taught fog & swirl (for steam extinguishment)20 yrs ago. However, I'm reading new ideas (or maybe old ideas come full circle??).

    What are the pros/cons for each? Ideas, suggestions??

    Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

  • #2
    Back when I first started in 1983 we were taught indirect attack narrow fog. Today bascically the same with some modifications.
    There are several pros/cons with fog and straight stream. As in my Dept. Our Nozzles are Breakaways with the option of using comb. or straight attack. I feel it boils down to the conditions,type of structure,how deep,where potential victims may be,etc. We have had this type of posting before and am sure it will ignite more debate. I know at our State and County Academy recruits are basicallly taught both given the right situation. My opinions only expressed not my Dept.


    • #3
      Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!

      Conditions deteriorate rapidly in a structure were a fog stream or the direct attack method is used.

      The interior of a structure, on fire, is a hostile environment with low visibility and high temperatures. Why would you want to reduce your visibility any more or drive more heat down onto yourself?

      "Don't open the nozzle on smoke. The smoke will lose its buoyancy, making ventilation more difficult. You will also cause more water damage." that quote is from Emanual Fried's book Fireground Tactics written 29 years ago. That statement is as true now as it was then. The indirect attack was never meant to be used for aggressive interior firefighting. It works good on Navy vessels, and that is where it should stay.

      Their was a good series of articles in Fire Engineering last year that relooked at Chief Layman's theories on indirect attack. I would recommend reading them.

      I don't know who is still endorsing the indirect attack, but they should seriously reconsider.

      Stay Safe


      • #4
        First-Due: /. I know at our State and County Academy recruits are basicallly taught both given the right situation./

        AMEN. AMEN. AMEN!

        It's great to see that there are academies teaching ALL of the tools and their application and not simply promoting one way of doing things.

        All to often I see instructors that simply teach what they think is the best, all the while forgeting that the student may go back to a department that does things quite different. When this happens the student sits back and must ask, Who is correct, the Chief or the instructor at the acadamy?

        I think that all would agree that if the acadamies would teach the proper use of all types of tools or nozzles, the student would be more knowledgeable and better prepared to work with any department, even if they use somthing different that his own.

        Stay Safe!

        Kirk Allen
        First Strike Technologies, Inc


        • #5
          They both obviously have their advantages,
          and of you think about it, the direct attack tactic is doing the same thing that the indirect tactic is, at a much more controlled rate. If you have noticed or remember a straight stream is many little particle of water going the same direction (a very narrow fog pattern) this enables the pattern to absorb more heat and turn to steam a lot less quickly than a narrow fog (mid pattern) or a wide fog (full pattern) will. The direct attack is a very good "get to it" approach where you want to drive the fire back toward its point of origin and extinguish it. I have also found in my experience that using a wide fog pattern with personnel operating from the exterior and the structure has been evacuated to the outside can really put it to a stubborn fire in a void - such as an attic or a basement or other areas that you can't get interior crews into. The key here is to know when to use these tools. There is a very good set of videos out there called "Metohds of Fire Attack" or something like that, sponsored by one of firehouses competitors. It explains the difference between the direct and indirect attack very well. I suggest that you watch this video before experimenting between the two.

          This is just an op


          • #6
            Let me throw my 2 cents worth in here.

            When I started in this biz the way we were taught to attack a fire in a room was to crawl in on your belly, kind of flop to your side, grab the hose about a foot or so back from the nozzle and with the nozzle on wide fog...fill the ceiling area with water. Of course,this rapidly became steam that descended upon us and burned the living crap out of us. Essentially we were taught to create a thermal balance in the room. This made it unpleasant for us in full gear and suely would have killed any victims still in the room.

            Now before you fog types jump on me let me say this. A fog stream and the indirect attack have there place in the fire service. But, and this is an important but, knowing when and where to use this style of attack is critical to your safety and survival of any victims in the fire area.

            A full out indirect attack should NOT be made when you are in the fire room or when there may be savable victims in the fire room. A successful indirect attack can be made in a room that is still intact and even better if you can close the door (with you on the outside of the room of course!)and let the steam do its magic.

            If you intend to be in the fire room or area a direct attack or combination attack is a better choice. A direct attack with either a solid bore stream or a straight stream or a very narrow fog or even an air aspirated stream from the Vindicator (I can say the name brand cause I don't work for First Strike)is the best choice if you want minimal steam production and minimal disruption of the thermal IMBALANCE. A combination attack calls for a BRIEF sweep of the ceiling to cool the atmosphere and perhaps to stop fire spread and then direct application of water to the fire.

            Nozzles are a tool, and like the wrenches in your tool box one wrench doesn't work for every situation. Be aware of the options available to you and make sound decisions based on your training, experience and departmental procedures.

            It ain't rocket science but it sure is FIRE SCIENCE!!

            Take care and stay safe,



            • #7
              Good points Fyredup,have you seen JUST stacked tip nozzles on 1.75"crosslays lately?NO WAY.They truly are just another tool.The decision(s)on what to set the pattern(pending conditions)at is the important factor.Go Pack Go!!!!


              • #8
                FyredUp said it best.


                • #9
                  Fyredup, you hit the fire right in the seat... with every word. You are one of the few I've seen that can correctly use the terms "thermal balance" and "thermal imbalance". You are my kinda firefighter. One problem I've found with fire service instructors is that when they teach, they often interject a lot of personal opinion, and students take their opinions for God's word. I've often had to tell my firefighters to forget many things they were taught and learn the RIGHT WAY of doing things... the way that won't get them hurt or killed. Too many times they come out of school and are misinformed or confused about what they've learned. Now to redeem myself, I've personally seen some outstanding instructors who knew exactly what to teach, and how to teach it, and to you guys- KEEP IT UP! We certainly need more like you.


                  • #10
                    Thank you for the kind words.

                    You are correct in saying instructors sometimes let opinions get in the way. We do a disservice to our new recruits if we don't show them all of the options of fire attack, AND the consequences of each.

                    Take care and stay safe,



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