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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Foresthill
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    Default Nozzle Pattern and Use

    I believe we always need to understand the purpose of a tactic and what we're trying to accomplish. The task then has a higher level of success.

    When fighting a structure fire, you dont indiscriminately squirt water; you want to apply it to the seat of the fire.

    So, my question is, can we more efficiently do this on a grass fire. I believe the standard we teach new firefighters is to shoot the straight stream ahead to cool the fire and twist the nozzle back to the fog to extinguish the fire. Hence the FF on the nozzle is twisting and shooting water up and down the fire line.

    A number of years ago, I watch a FF choke the GPM down and create a cone pattern with his nozzle. He then put the nozzle a foot off the ground, which overlapped the burn/unburned fuel. He walked keeping the nozzle directly on the fire line. There was no up and down nozzle movement, wasted water, or rekindles behind him. The water penetrated the fuel and successfully extinguished the fire.

    So many times I see FFs in a hurry and having all their work lost when the fire rekindles behind them. Suppression stops as they have to run back and put the new fire out or worse, the fire line is lost and they need to start all over with a new anchor point.

    This technique is far from glamorous shooting water up and down, but its extremely effective, especially when you add foam or wet water to the equation.

    Yes, it may not be applicable in every situation such as a different fuel model, or an engine cold trailing behind you, or others situations you might think of. BUT, its extremely effective on most grass fires when directed to a flank. And yes, there will be situations when the fuel, topography, or weather dictates the need to knock the heat out of the fire.

    Im curious if others use this technique? Its been tough to re-train FFs on old habits, but I think this one is worthy of investigation and trial.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Central Sierra
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    The upper and down is a throw back to the straight stream nozzle with your finger over the bore.
    If flame length is short enough the above mention tactic will work, but...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Livingston, Mt.
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    12
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    This tactic works great in light fuels like field fires, especially when there is little or no wind, where low rates of spread are the norm. I've done this many times in stubble fields with great success. It even works under a canopy if the flame lengths are short enough to allow "intimate" direct attack, like within stomping distance.There is a tendency, especially during I.A. to "run and gun", especially using a higher intensity stream to actually knock burning embers further into the unburned fuels if you get too aggressive. Sometimes slower is better.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Riverside County, CA
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    59
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    1 1/2" bale with a 3/8 tip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Lacey, WA
    Posts
    411
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    It isn't really difficult to make the switch from Wildfire to structure fire. Fire chemistry remains the same. However there are some significant differences especially at initial attack. Wildfires are open and running whereas a structure fire is contained within the structure unless it has self ventilated. When I was a new structure firefighter (after many years of wildland fire), I was taught to enter a house with the fog wide open and twirl it around the room. The idea was to create a room or building full of steam and the fire would go out. Some time later we had district-wide training from a chief from Lake Grove near Portland. He said the practice of fogging a fire is not only not that effective but unsafe as well. He advised us to find the source of the fire and straight-stream it. Fogging can, after a fashion, smother a fire but in the process the entire room becomes over heated. A burning room will be hottest at the ceiling and the heat level will gradually lower. If you use a straight stream on a fire, you won't mix superheated air from the top of the room throughout the entire room. He cited a fire he ran with a house full of fire. It was initially too dangerous for the truckies to go in and do a proper search. He directed a hose line in to the base of the fire and had the truckies ventilate the roof to let the heat out. During the search they found an infant in a crib and the soot (heat) line was down to the top of the crib. The infant was fine but had they used the old fog method, the infant would have died.

    My points are that if you aren't regularly fighting structure fire, you may not know what the current safe methods are. Second, you need to remember we have open fires rather than closed structures. Finally, in structures where there is a lot of fire, an open hose line is best just as it is in wildfire. If I had a wildfire engine company, I ideally would have 4 men on the hose line: 1 on the nozzle, 1 pulling hose, 1 bringing hose up from the engine for a progressive hose lay, and 1 cutting a scratch line with a shovel or pulaski. The Engineer would stay with the truck and the Captain would focus on tactics and safety. You don't carry that many people? Draft one or two of those folks you see standing around and are not overhead who are presumably involved in strategy and safety.

    If you are also a volunteer firefighter or your unit gets a lot of structure fires, please use the straight stream tactic on most of your fires. It provides a safety zone for you and possible victims and it works. Remember, LCES applies to structure fires too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Temecula
    Posts
    22
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    Quote Originally Posted by SkedBFF View Post
    1 1/2" bale with a 3/8 tip.
    I agree with SkedBFF, that is my first choice. As for the technique, If the goal is to control the spread (especially if there is wind on it) I think it is very prudent to reach out as far as you can with the straight stream and come back with the finger over the tip or fog pattern just as you discribe in your original question.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Northern California
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    109
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    The techniquue described works great on a slow moving fire, not so much on a fast moving fire. As with everything practice and experience will prevent the "waste" described. A trained, experienced firefighter should be able to apply the water in a way to slow the rate of spread, and follow up with a solid wet line. Even in similar fuels there is no one size fits all technique.

    When you have the resources tandem attacks are great. One engine up front knocking the fire down, the second finishing the job with more detailed application, ensuring a good, solid line.

    Smokey, I like the way you think. You describe almost exactly how I train my crew, only we don't have the extra body to put in a scratchline. Ideally we are followed up by a handcrew who will put line in behind us, but lacking that the captain and firefighters going up and down for hose packs put in strategically placed scratchline as needed. It is critical that personnel going up and down the line pay attention as they travel to ensure the line is secure behind the crew. Also another reason I prefer the "Gansner" style progressive hoselay with 1" laterals in place as we advance over the 1.5" attack line with laterals added in later. If there is trouble a live nozzle is never more than 100 feet away.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Central Sierra
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    286
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    Default Re: Nozzle Pattern and Use

    When I started (dont you just love to hear that) a CDF (Div of Forestry) hose pack was 200' 1 1/2" and 100' 1" and all the brass. We fought fire with the main line and installed laterals as we went. It was after I was nolonger on engines that the hose pack was down sized. We also used the 1 1/2" bale with straight stream tip. Worked great and a badge of honor was running out of hose before you ran out of water. I'll now go back to my rocking chair.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    17
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    Default Nozzle Pattern and Use

    I have noticed in recent years the fire service appears to always be looking for that one perfect tactic to fight various types of fires with. When I was a young firefighter we learned many different tactics to apply water to various fires and relied on personnel to apply the most effective and safe method to put out the fire. It seems to me that we are beginning to train our people to simply do this or that every time rather than training them in many methods that are effective and allowing them to make decisions as to what tactic to apply when. I have noticed this in both the structure and wildland environment. For instance, I learned both the up and down tactic as well as the small cone to fight grass fires and have found success with both in different situations. Don't think we'll ever find that perfect tactic for every situation. Just my .02.

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