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View Poll Results: Are automatic nozzles good or bad?

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  • Yes, I like automatic nozzles

    17 62.96%
  • No, I dislike automatic nozzles

    10 37.04%
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  1. #1
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    Question Automatic nozzles, good or bad?

    Dear Fellow Firefighters,

    I am doing an evaluation on the benifits and disadvantages of using an automatic nozzle. Focusing mainly on the fact that firefighters can no longer tell how much water they are putting out by how good the cone looks, because the nozzle may only be putting out 25 gallons per minute as opposed to 125 gpm. please e mail me with your feelings, good or bad. my email is cyfd@firehousemail.com.

    thanks,
    rory


    Last edited by cyfdfire; 05-01-2002 at 05:48 PM.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Nothign wrong with automatic nozzles.

    Here is what causes you problems:

    >We do not train firefighters how to determine or estiamte the required gpm for extinguishment. So we hear..."need more water"..."too much water"..."give me 25 more"

    >No one does maintenance on nozzles.....It is automatic in relation to flow...not cleaning and maintenance

    >We do not train DPO to pump our lines to the max.....

    There are many different nozzles and since I am a sales rep I can not say which is the best. You have to chose one that works for your department and then teach them how to use it and pump it. It is so simple it is actually DUMB.... You know the nozzle...you know the length of the line....so...you tell your DPO to pump it for the max every time it hits the ground. All the Pump pressures are figured out ahead of time. Then you teach the people operatin the nozzle how to use it....and you put 2+2 together and the automatic nozzle concept is a success.

    USE THE KISS PRINCIPLE....Keep It Simple Stupid
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    It is so simple it is actually DUMB.... You know the nozzle...you know the length of the line....so...you tell your DPO to pump it for the max every time it hits the ground. All the Pump pressures are figured out ahead of time
    Just recently went through this process again as we have some newer pump operators. You can't beat a simple system, crosslays are always the same lenght, same nozzle, why have to think about it? Leave the thinking for when you pull 2 1/2" deadlays that can vary in length, and it still is not that hard.

    We use automatics on our 1 3/4" and smootbore on 2 1/2". The automatics have performed as well as smoothbore in our drill/test and they offer a few more options.

    Try it, train with it, if it works for you in your situation, use it.

  4. #4
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    Ditto Bones

  5. #5
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    this is a pump operator problem not a automatic nozzle problem. If a smooth bore tip is under pumped and is interior it may also be deceiving since the compartments in the structure will not allow for a fully projected stream. How big are most rooms? My coments are not choosing sides just expressing a fact.

  6. #6
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    >It is so simple it is actually DUMB.... You know the nozzle...you know the length of the line....so...you tell your DPO to pump it for the max every time it hits the ground.>

    Well from one nozzle salesman to another I would like to point out why that is the wrong thing to do in my opinion UNLESS many other things are addressed.

    I can tell you that over the last two weeks on the road and covering over 6500 miles I have not seen but 1 automatic nozzle that was performing the way it was supposed to yet the departments were using them just as you recommend. So what’s the challenge?

    I weigh 225 lbs and when I look at the directions on an aspirin bottle it tells me I should only take two tablets at a time over a 4-hour period. It doesn’t ask how much I weigh or what my metabolism is. Its simply a generic statement that ensures the 90 year old grandmother that weighs 100lbs ringing wet doesn’t take to many aspirin. So what does this have to do with automatic nozzles?

    The salesman tells you to pump to the max flow every time and control what you want with the bail and as long as you do your maintenance the recommended twice a year, things will be great. Sounds great right?

    This type of recommendation is generic at best because it doesn’t take into the consideration as to how often the nozzle gets used, what type of water you have (Hard or Soft) high calcium content in the water or sandy pond water that you draft from not to mention how often you use foam though them.

    Case and point: Last week doing a flow test on several pre-connected lines we found that the philosophy of pump to the max was interesting but ineffective for those departments that do not routinely test their equipment with flow-meters and pressure gauges. Pumping the SOP of 200-psi a flow of 200-gpm was expected on nozzles that supposedly had the proper maintenance performed but they admitted they did not flow test them after the maintenance. I was informed that when they got the nozzles that is what they did and this was confirmed with inline pressure gauges and flow-meters. When we tried to duplicate these two-year-old nozzles results, I covered up the flow meter and pressure gauge and asked all present what is the nozzle pressure and what are you flowing. Most replied with 100-psi NP and around 200 gallons per minute. One person refused to respond without getting on the line stating that he will be able to tell if his flow is right by the reaction so after handling the line he agreed that the flow was going to be at least 175-200 gpm based on his own experience and testing.

    After uncovering the test equipment we found that the nozzle pressure was 160-psi and our flow was a whopping 90-gpm. Now I know most will say that you should be able to feel such a low flow by having a low reaction yet when your nozzle pressure is as high as this no one was able to tell without the equipment. Stream looked good, reaction was strong so surly we were flowing lots of water! Wrong! Their flows were low across the board yet everyone insisted otherwise prior to the Calibrated testing. The main cause? Lack of proper testing after maintenance was the primary culprit. Contributing factors? High calcium content in Hard water, use of class A foam regularly.

    What does all this mean?
    If I may steal a quote, “Its so simple it is actually Dumb”

    If you use automatic nozzles and do not routinely check your flows and pressures with the right equipment you may very well find yourself flowing a whole lot less than you think but never know it because of the philosophy of “Pump to the Max” and all will be great.

    Now with that said: I believe that the automatic nozzles are a great tool but are only as effective as our ability to ensure they are maintained properly and functioning properly. If you department is not willing to devote the time and effort to doing this maintenance and testing then I would not recommend the use of automatic nozzles.

    If you use automatic nozzles and have never actually placed an inline pressure gauge at the inlet of the nozzle and checked the flows with a calibrated flow-meter then I suggest that you owe it to yourself and your people to do so before your next fire! If you have, then you should be Commended because to date I have only found a handful of departments that have done so.

    I am not trying to bash the automatic nozzle! I am bashing the fact that the very equipment people depend on regularly is rarely maintained and tested to ensure proper function.

    For those that wish to turn this into another nozzle bashing forum know ahead of time that THIS IS NOT MY INTENT. My only agenda is to make people stop what they are doing long enough to be intellectually honest with themselves and start to question things that most take for fact when in reality many things are being overlooked.

    I believe that your lives and the lives of your community members deserve this little bit of extra effort.

    God Bless!
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    A simple way to get a decent (not perfect) gauge on what GPM you are flowing. How big is your tank? Pull one line and flow water until the tank is empty. Divide Gallons in tank by time to empty = gpm. We were lucky when we did this, our tank is 450 gals, emptied through TFT automatic in 3 minutes 5 seconds. Our flow? 150gpm. Just what we wanted. 1 3/4" hose, 150', pump pressure....150psi. No fancy devices that lots of departments don't have, no hard math, just simple steps. You may want to try this at different pressures to see what gpm you end with, we started at 130, then went to 160, then to 150. Do it a few times, it's not hard. It's not an exact science, but gives you a better idea of what you are flowing than holding the hose and "feeling" it. K.I.S.S.

  8. #8
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    Bones:
    You are corrrect! Timing the tank is a simple process that gives a fair assesment of what your flow is but realize that the amount you calculate will actually reflect more water than is actually being delivered because of water in the pump and the pre-connected plumbing and hose.

    The one thing this does not tell you is if your nozzle is regulating the proper pressure which is an intrical part of the automatic. If your department does not have a inline pressure gauges you should look into haveing getting one. They are less than $200 from most dealers.

    I understand that most departments dont have flowmeters but I must ask, why not? If were in the business of moving water doesnt it make sense to have the equipment to tell us what is really going on? A portable flow-meter from Fire Reseach (Only UL listed Flow-meter on the market) is less than $1,400.00. Thats a small price to pay for ensuring proper flows in my opinion.
    Last edited by KirkAllen; 05-08-2002 at 05:54 PM.
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

  9. #9
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    Default Automatic Nozzle

    I sell fire equipment of all types including most brands of nozzles - (Vindicator, Elkhart, Akron & TFT). I have done testing with a lot of nozzles and the automatic nozzle requires maintenance fairly regularly. Because of this if your not going to test your nozzles to ensure that they are functioning properly, I would think your department would be better off with a nozzle that requires less maintenance.

    As far as the use of the flow meter, there is only one of the nozzle companies that requires when I show their nozzle that I MUST use a flow meter and inline pressure guage.

    Hope this helps.

    P.P.

  10. #10
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Automatic nozzles...Good or Bad. Really too simple of a question in my humble opinion. If maintained and with firefighters properly trained, they do exactly what they are supposed to do. Maintain a constant pressure over a wide range of flows.

    Unfortunately many of the people selling automatic nozzles don't know much about them or the firefighters using them. Of course you can flow 200-300 gpm through 1 3/4 inch lines as they tell you, at fairly intense engine pressures. And just as true you can gate the nozzle to reduce the flow to a more manageable one. Let's see, nozzle bail wide open flowing 300 gpm, yep that's a hand full, let's gate so we can handle it better, oops, now our 300 gpm stream is really around 100 gpm, but man it looks good. Nozzle problem? Nope, firefighter problem. But a fairly common one.

    My volly FD did a couple of years of research before we settled on our new nozzles. We borrowed and played with just about everything that we felt met our needs. We watched other FD's when the opportunity arose at their calls. This is merely anecdotal evidence, but I can tell you any FD that we witnessed that tried to flow over 150 gpm through their 1 3/4" lines with auto nozzles, had FF's gate down for ease of handling. Anecdotal but true. I also witnessed another department at their open house do a car fire demo with 100' of 1 1/2" line and an auto nozzle. The stream was awful, so I wandered over to the pump panel to see what was going on. The MPO was pumping the line at 75psi engine pressure. So simple its dumb? Not in that case.

    In reality nozzle selection has more to do with what you expect the line to do than whether it is an auto, or fixed gallonage, or low pressure or smooth bore, or even dare I say? a Vindicator. (Sorry Kirk did that for dramatic reasons) If you don't have a plan in place before you buy you have already beaten yourself.

    This is my opinion and as such worth as much value as you place upon it. Have a nice day and stay safe.

  11. #11
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    KEA...I wondered if you would get involved in this one...

    You are correct...about maintenance needs. Any nozzle that is subjected to the constant abuse of fire fighting and hard water and nasty dirty pond water and never maintained or cleaned is not going to perform to par.

    I like automatic nozzles, but will also say that a department must have a nozzle that works for them.

    I will argue that you do not have to have "astronomical" pump pressures to pump in excess of 200GPM through an automatic nozzle...especially is it is a dual pressure or a high volume/low pressure nozzle.

    But...automatic or fixed GPM...or variable flow...any nozzle by any manufacturer will perform differently based on the proper care and maintenance. Seems as if we need to focus some on care and maintenance a bit.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  12. #12
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    /Seems as if we need to focus some on care and maintenance a bit./

    Some Care? I would say a whole bunch after what I have seen in the last few months.

    I was hesitant to discuss the issue but felt that it was important enough that I would risk the typical onslought that I have become used to in the past.

    I am in agreement that all departments should have a nozzle that works for them. The key being, knowing how to ensure that its working!


    When I find nozzles with no maintenance performed, hose with double the FL over another brand and then plumbing that eats up 30+ psi of FL its spells disaster!

    There are simply to many dynamic issues involved when it comes to flowing the proper flows for us to sit idly by and follow a stupid chart that some manufacture sends out, whether its from IFSTA, NFPA, hose companies or nozzles companies.

    Just sharing my experiences in hopes that it helps those looking for answers.
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

  13. #13
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    i agree with kea on the maintance and testing of any nozzle you buy no offence to him when i say that some salesmen are there for the sale and will tell you what you want to hear to get the sell but i also feel that there alot of good salesmen that will give you the facts along with the pros and cons they will also tell you how to maintain your nozzles but back ot the question automatic nozzles are great if properly used and maintained but then again so is everything else we use you must pump the proper pressure to get the desired flow you must also understand the limitations of any tool you use
    I PROVIDE A NAMELESS FACELESS SERVICE TO A COMMUNITY THAT RARELY KNOWS HOW MUCH THEY NEED ME IF I AM CALLED FROM A SOUND SLEEP TO SACRIFICE MY LIFE TRYING TO SAVE THE PROPERTY OR LIFE OF SOMEONE I DO NOT KNOW I WILL DO SO WITHOUT REGRET
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  14. #14
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    Does anybody that has around the pump proportioners for foam applications use automatic nozzles when utilizing foam? It seems to me that too much foam educts because the nozzle is not adjustible gallonage to the proper gpm.

  15. #15
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    We have a foam system that we use with 150' 1 3/4" line and TFT automatic nozzle. Under water only flow, we pump the line at 150psi and get "roughly" 150gpm. When using the foam system, we up the pressure to 200psi. Can't claim to know whether we are educting too much foam, can only say we have been happy with the blanket we are producing. Have never measured what gpm or foam flow rate(?) we are actually flowing at the time when using foam.

  16. #16
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    mfdplugugly:

    If your experiencing to much foam being educted while using an around the pump proportioner there are a couple of things to look at.

    First install a inine pressure gauge and check you nozzle pressure. If you are using 100 psi autos you may find that the stem is stuck open causing a higher flow than you think and less nozzle pressure. The reason you are using more foam is because you are moving more water.

    The other thing to look at is the foam system itself. I have found many around the pump systems that work with one line flowing but whith several the percentage of foam use gets screwed up.

    Check out NFPA 412 for how to measure proper foam percentages for your system.

    Bones: While using automatics or any other nozzle with an eductor, NEVER gate the shutoff during operation. Doing so will create a high back pressure on the eductor and cause the foam to shutoff completly leaving you in a potential dangerous situation.
    Kirk Allen
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  17. #17
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    KEA - Thanks for your input on nozzles, I believe a good sales person is a help on some of these forums. You are correct on the gating back. I would like to say that my guys never do that, but, once I say it, one of them will probably prove me wrong. All I can say is we train to open the gate all the way and shut the gate all the way, there is no stop between.

  18. #18
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    Bones:
    My Hats off to you! I cant tell you how many folks gate the bail back during any and all training, live fires etc and think all is OK. Well I believe we fight fire the way we train and when we train to gate, that is what we do when it really counts and as mentioned, that is a killer whith eductors not to mention what it does to our flows.

    I wish more folks had your attitude regarding the proper use of the gate.

    I have had the chance to review several dozen hours of live fire footage from actual fires and training and it would blow your mind how many nozzleman have the gate half open during the entire attack.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Kirk Allen
    First Strike Technologies, Inc

  19. #19
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    You can talk and do anything you want about nozzles, hydraulics and more at all the drills, dump sites, outside defensive operations. BUT the importance of nozzles and applied (flowing) GPM Is in the blind attack within a structure on fire by the first couple of handlines.
    Now for the nozzle.
    1. Automatics are designed to keep a constant nozzle pressure no matter what the flow.
    2. The water is in droplet form that is 'self-impinging' at the nozzle outlet.
    Put all that together:
    1. The velocity at the nozzle accounts for Nozzle Reaction which is most managable with the automatics. Ergo nozzle reaction remains about the same through a great difference in GPM
    2. As the flow is reduced the back pressure by the closing nozzle keeps the hose line with the same stiffness behind the nozzle.
    3. As the nozzle closes for reduced flow - the range of the "now less" water is the same.

    Now - The officer, the nozzle person, and the back up firefighter operating offensively at a structure fire have very suttle indicators that the flow is reduced to the danger level for small diameter hose lines trying to advance. The hose feels the same! The Nozzle reaction is basically the same, and the NOISE of the water hitting the BLIND target at the same range is still present.
    Automatics have lots of pluses to them but realizing that you flow is reduced by butst length, kink, poor pump operations, or supply reduction is not readily descernable to the advancing interior team.
    Try it at drill.

  20. #20
    Junior Member profire's Avatar
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    I use Task Force Tips automatic nozzels, and like them a lot. 200psi-200' of 1 3/4" - 200gpm, every time the attack line hits the street works great. I also know that TFT requires monthly lubrication and maintenance. Check out their website they post a lot of good information about it.

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