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  1. #1
    nshake67
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Smooth Bore or Automatic Nozzle's

    This is always a spirited debate. I would like to hear about opinions from all sides and personal stories on both.

  2. #2
    Firehose
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have the answer: !

    'pends on the 'cituation

    We use both. Elkhart break a parts with both smooth and SM 20's amd SM 30's on 1 1/2, 1 3/4 , 2, 2 1/2, and 3, from 100 to 250 foot long. Each has a special purpose or designed for different set backs.
    Good Luck,
    Firehose

  3. #3
    Jr_ AssistChief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My stations use nothing but automatic nozzles for our hand lines. The newer ones are great because they are equipped with an emergency mode, capable of flowing a good stream when the pumper can only get a small amount of pressure. In a drill we tried it with low pressure, full bore in emergency mode, and one person could easily control the nozzle themselves. I believe the only place where smooth bore nozzles are used are on our Snorkel and tower.

  4. #4
    Jr_ AssistChief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My stations use nothing but automatic nozzles for our hand lines. The newer ones are great because they are equipped with an emergency mode, capable of flowing a good stream when the pumper can only get a small amount of pressure. In a drill we tried it with low pressure, full bore in emergency mode, and one person could easily control the nozzle themselves. I believe the only place where smooth bore nozzles are used are on our Snorkel and tower.

  5. #5
    Fyresq50
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Fyredup is an authority on this subject- I like smoothbores. I will let Don tellit like it is though. His explanation will make the benefits crystal clear.

    Jim

  6. #6
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Fyresq50,

    Jim you are too kind. Thank you.

    Okay, here is the simple answer. Use what you have and become proficient in its operation and limitations. It doesn't really matter if you like a particular nozzle if your FD doesn't use it.

    Now for the complex answer. I like break-a-part nozzles. A combo tip backed by a smoothbore slug tip. We currently use a low pressure 200 gpm at 75 psi combo tip backed by a 1 1/4 inch slug tip (326 gpm at 50 psi)on 2 inch hose. It works well for us.

    Now as far as automatic nozzles go....here is the major problem with them. They flow their gpm's at 100 psi at the nozzle and with most FF's when you get above 150 gpm the nozzle gets gated back so it is easier to control. So, instead of flowing that fire killing 150-200 gpm the nozzle is actually flowing in the 70-100 gpm range. Is that a nozzle problem? No, it is a training and tool understanding problem. Of course the nozzle will flow the water, if the nozzle person can handle it, and the sales person's pitch of gate it down to where you can handle it doesn't take over. Ther pump operator can pump you 200 gpm all day but if you don't have the nozzle open you won't flow it. The nozzle adjusts so the stream looks good but the flow is diminished.

    Some one mentioned the low pressure mode. You had better understand how that works before you bet your life on it. I was in a class where the instructor demonstrated a one of those TFT nozzles. He simulated a low pressure set-up from a standpipe giving 45 psi at the wye and having 100 feet of 1 3/4" hose to the TFT tip. In regular mode it flowed 13 gpm. In emergency mode it flowed an incredible 14 gpm. Is 1 gallon enough to save you? The instructor then switched to a 15/16 tip and flowed 118 gpm. Of course the smoothbore has less reach, about 50 feet compared to around 75 or so for the TFT. But all things considered I rather have 118 gpm....Wouldn't you? Understand this, it still takes a certain amount of pressure to open the baffle even in emergency mode.

    Another reason for smoothbores is less creation of steam in an interior firefight with less than adequate ventilation. Of course a combo nozzle can make a straight stream. But we also know people can screw up and not check the pattern or it can get bumped while you advance.

    I am a smoothbore advocate. But to me a close second is the low pressure combo nozzle. Take care and stay safe,

    FyredUp

    You asked for an opinion and these are mine.. Yours may differ. That's okay. Have a nice day!!

  7. #7
    braggcapt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our department uses nothing but automatic nozzles. I'd love to try a smoothbore nozzle, maybe have one pre-connect with a smoothbore nozzle to experiment with. However, as we all know changes can be hard to swallow for some.

  8. #8
    DED1645
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    FyredUp I agree with in the sense that if you are experience and have the knowledge of your equipement then you will be effective in your duties. All we have on our preconnects are automatic TFT's. And they work for us. But depending on the application we have solid bore for our 1 3/4's and our 2 1/2 blitz line. Again what you have the knowledge of and what application works for your scenario.

    ------------------
    David DeCant
    Firefighter/NREMT-B
    New Jersey, USA
    Career or volunteer we are all brothers. Just feel good for the good you do for others.

  9. #9
    BIG PAULIE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Don't be fooled in thinking that a gated back nozzle will not flow an adiquate gpm. Here is what I like to do with my interior handline crew. Set the line up to flow maximum gpm based on the engine pressure and allow the firefighters on the nozzle determine what they need. Example. I set up a flow test based on a 200' 1-3/4" handline with an automatic nozzle. The engine pressure is set to flow 250 gpm. With this being the case I stood up with the handline and opened the nozzle until I could flow water comfortably by myself. I wasn't working hard at all. We had a flow meter hooked in to the line and registered a flow of 125 gpm. The bale of the nozzle was gated down about 2/3. 125 is a good flow for alot of room and contents fires and it is backed up with the 250 punch if needed.

  10. #10
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Paulie,

    I agree that if you pump max flow you can get the 125 or so at the tip with a severely gated back nozzle.

    But let's face reality...a good portion of the country that uses automatic nozzles have the pump operator pump the line to give the nozzle operator between 150 and 200 gpm. So in that scenario you will not come any where near the 125 you speak of if the nozzle is gated back. Again, is this a nozzle problem? No, once again it is a training and tool understanding problem.

    Automatic nozzles do, for the most part, exactly what they are designed to do, regulate the baffle opening to allow a good looking stream at whatever flow is pumped within the operating range of the nozzle. This of course, assumes the additional maintenace that is required with automatic nozzles is done, and that periodic flow testing to insure that the baffle spring is still working right (maintaining the near 100 psi NP).

    Take care and stay safe,

    FyredUp

  11. #11
    BIG PAULIE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    you know I haven't tried it yet but it stands to reason that if you are flowing even a small 150 gpm flow the 125 will still be available in the gated positon just not as gated as previously mentioned with the 250 gpm line. I agree with you that the education on proper nozzle operations and rate of application is for the most part not out there.

  12. #12
    FIREWALKER1335
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    WE USE BOTH AUTOMATIC FOG NOZZELS AND SMOTHE BORE NOZZELS..EACH HAVE THEIR OWN SPECIAL FEATURES AND PURPOSES..A SMOTHE BORE NOZZEL IS GOOD WHEN NEEDING GREAT PENETRATION..THEY ARE ESPECIALY GREAT ON GRASS FIRES..THEY CAN BE VERY USEFULL ON INTERIOR STRUCTURAL FIREFIGHTING ALSO, THAT IS WHEN PROPER VENTILATION IS APPLIED AT THE SAME TIME..YOU RELEASE THE HEAT FROM THE STRUCTURE, THEN APPLY THE WATER DIRECTLY TO THE BASE OF THE FIRE JUST AS YOU WOULD IF YOU WERE USING A WATER CAN EXTINGUISHER..YOU MINIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF WATER APPLIED, THUS LESSENING THE DAMAGE, AND ARE PUTING OUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF FIRE..BY LESSENING THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE CREATED BY WATER YOU ARE PROMOTING GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE..AND ISN'T THAT WHAT OUR JOB IS ALL ABOUT ( CUSTOMER SERVICE )?? THE SITUATION OF A STRUCTURE THAT IS NOT PROPERLY VENTILATED, HOWEVER, CAN BE A HAZARD TO THE CREWS IF THE AIR IS NOT COOLED..IN THIS CASE A FOG NOZZEL WOULD BE YOUR BETTER CHOISE BECAUSE OF THE PROTECTION THAT WOULD BE PROVIDED..YOU MUST BE CAUTIOUS WITH FOG NOZZELS HOWEVER..IF THE TEMP IS TOO HIGH AND THE THERMAL BALANCE IS DISRUPTED THE STEAM CONVERSION CAN CAUSE SEROIUS BURNS TO FIREFIGHTERS..EITHER WAY THERE ARE GOOD POINTS AND BAD POINTS OF EACH AND THE USE OF EITHER SHOULD BE BASED ON YOUR EXPERENCE LEVEL AND THE SITUATION AT HAND...

  13. #13
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If I only have the two choices, then I'd go with a smooth bore nozzle. It's too easy to get the line kinked, or have the pump operator not give you the correct pressure.
    On a smooth bore it's obvious that your not flowing what you should, but on an automatic your flow could be substantially different than what you think.
    A smooth bore also creates less steam and flows more with a lower nozzle reaction.

    If you want a fog nozzle I'd get a fixed or variable gallonage nozzle and stay away from the automatic. But if you have to have an automatic get an Elkhart and stay away from TFT. I personally feel the Elkhart is easyer to service, has less nozzle reaction, fits in the crosslays better, and is just overall more dependable than TFT. I've used both brands and have been unhappy with TFT.

    Keep your mind open though, their are other options out there that will give you high flows and low nozzle reaction. Check out the many posts on the Vindicator and decide for yourself.

  14. #14
    ADSN/WFLD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    To Jr_AssistChief the reason on "emergency mode" the line was so easy to handle was because it wasn't flowing much water. Find someone with a flow meter and I'll bet you will be quite supprised.

    BigPaullie, I'd be careful about gating down the line. A kink or mistake at the panel could leave your firefighters thinking that they have more water than they do. When faced with a situation were the fire isn't backing down opening the nozzle might not help because they don't have the needed water in resere.

    Again that's just one of the reasons that I don't like TFT, an Elkhart dosn't look right when gated down, (the flow is disrupted) so as an officer you have a better idea of what your crew is doing.

  15. #15
    BIG PAULIE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    ADSN/WFLD The problem at the panel and /or a kink can give you a problem even if the bale is wide open. The only reason a firefighter would gate a nozzle down is if it was too much to handle or they felt like the stream was an over kill for the fire. Example I the crew went in armed with 150 gpm and the fire was a sofa or trash can they would not need the 150 blast The bale could be partially opened just enough to get the job done. Arm the firefighters with enough water to handle worst case scenerio and any size or volume of fire smaller will also have enough water to do the job. In my explanation i was Pointing out how much water could be delivered in a 250 gpm max flow in the gated position

  16. #16
    BIG PAULIE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    And one more thing. The above mentioned operation can also be done using smooth bore tips. It is not limited to automatics

  17. #17
    pipemen
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    stright bore nozzle is the way to go to me.
    :P

  18. #18
    Andrew R. Duval
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    In my Department we use both regularly. On all of our small handlines (1 3/4) we have TFT automatic nozzles. We use a smooth bore on our "big lines" (2 1/2).

    The reason for the TFTs on the small handlines is the simple fact that we never know who will be on the line. Our Department is all Volunteer, and during the day we may have nothing but "rookie" Firefighters on the line. The Automatics take the guesswork out of the fire streams. They are also easier to work with on the interior attack.

    The "Big Line" has the smooth bore because the automatic we used to use on this line damn near knocked us on our butts. Again with the possibility of having "rookie" firefighters on the line we can get a bigger bang for our buck.

    I have used both in differant scenarios. The way we have the lines set works great for us. A neighboring department to us uses only automatics, while another still uses Rockwood nozzles.

    In the end, i guess it comes down to what ever works best for you. My personal choice would be the Smoothbore, just becasue!


    ------------------
    Rexcin

  19. #19
    BIG PAULIE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Andy, I have to disagree with you in part when you said that the automatic is good because you never know who is going to be on the line . I may be wrong but that sounds like you are saying that some might know what they are doing and some may not. Or that some can handle the flows and some can not. The bottom line is that the nozzle does make a good stream in just about all cases but you still have to know how to use it. Just because a good looking stream is being produced dosent'mean that the flow is enough. The pump operator still needs to produce the required EP to over come the friction loss in the hose.

  20. #20
    FitzBFDT2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Being a truckie, I really don't get to touch much hose, but if I had to, I would go with the smooth bore.

    ------------------
    Kevin M. Fitzhenry, bfdt2@fitzhenry.com
    Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
    City of Bayonne (NJ) FD
    www.bayonnenj.org/fire/

  21. #21
    MB1213635
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department runs with smoothbores on all of our attack lines. the only line with an automatic is the trash line. We train with the smoothbores and they work well for us. I personally like the penetrating ability the smoothbore has. I also like the fact that the smoothbore does not disrupt the thermal balance as much as an automatic in addition to the fact that the solid stream does not turn to steam as readily as the fog patterns produced by an automatic. However, it all depends on how you train. A well trained firefighter will put out fire with either type. Train with what your department uses. Be Smart BE Safe and Have Fun.

  22. #22
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just carry both.

  23. #23
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    >> Just carry both.

    Exactly. Although, we don't carry any automatics. Tried 'em & didn't like 'em.

    Our setup is simple...

    2 - 1.75" crosslays with fog nozzles (Turbojets)

    1 - 1.75" crosslay with straight bore nozzle

    1 - 1.75" step-mounted trash line with Navy nozzle (extra Turbojet on the rig to switch if needed)

    1 - 2.5" rear preconnect with fog nozzle (extra straight bore on the rig to switch to if needed)

    This has always seemed to cover our bases.

  24. #24
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The "Fallon Tip" is a 50 to 350 gpm TFT auto matic. A 1 3/8, 1 1/8, 15/16 and 3/4 smoothbore all connected to a breakapart shutoff that allows the unused tipsto be used as the pistol grip.



    four bumper preconnects 2 - 2" 150' and 150' of 1" and a 50' 1";

    7 crosslays four 200' 2" three 400' 2 - 2" and 1 - 1";



    Rear 1-400' 2" and 150' 2" plus 7000' 1" and two 2 1/2" 250'




  25. #25
    knobhog354
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The FDNY has begun a Pilot Program with a radically new nozzle design. It is a solid bore and has virtually no appreciable nozzle reaction. It is capable of flows of up to 250gpm on an 1 3/4" nozzle. It is from an engineering firm in Illinois and is based on a new internal design (turbo-like)in conjunction with the venturi principle. The Chief of Department was so impressed with the initial testing that he wants to g out and order 250!!! It is still in the experimental stage but here is what I am worried about. Down the road, if it is so easy to handle, they may want to try to take one more man off our Engine companies...I wouldn't put it past them!

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