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    Default Piercing nozzles; Pros and Cons anyone?

    Our department is looking at writing a local community foundation grant for a piercing nozzle. We have had a few fires in the last four years where a void nozzle of some sort would have been handy. I would appreciate ANY information I can gather from fellow FFs, positive or negative, in general or brand specific. Thanks

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    I've heard of them being used by other departments, but in my 16+ years, I have never used one, nor have I ever been on a call where one was used by someone else.
    Nonetheless, we still have them taking up compartment space on all of our units.

    Same thing with our cellar (distributer) nozzles. At least they take up less compartment space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireeaterbob View Post
    Our department is looking at writing a local community foundation grant for a piercing nozzle. We have had a few fires in the last four years where a void nozzle of some sort would have been handy. I would appreciate ANY information I can gather from fellow FFs, positive or negative, in general or brand specific. Thanks
    If you already have "normal" nozzles on the end of your hoses...invest in a 6ft hook...it will help you accomplish the same purpose as a piercing nozzle and it is more versitile!

    FTM-PTB

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    We have them on the rigs but I've never seen one used. I think one crew used one on a car fire once, but I'm not sure on the specifics.

    Like FFFred says, open up with a hook (axe, halligan, whatever) and you accomplish the same thing.

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    I have to agree with the other replies. My Dept. has them but I have never seen them used outside of training. Unless your area of responsibility has specific hazard that may require them I don't believe they are worth the money.

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    During an aerial training mission in Louisiana one time, our training got suspended because a local recycler had a semi-trailer catch on fire (full of big bales of shredded paper & plastic).

    They had a piercing nozzle and the trailer needed to be vented. The inside of the trailer was ultra hot (surprising huh?) and there was really no effective way to put the fire down inside of it with these big bales on fire and smoldering. SO, the dept. took their relatively small piercing nozzle up to the top of the trailer. They laid a ground ladder across the trailer so the FF wouldn’t fall through, and then pierced the top of the trailer with it and left it anchored in place to help bring the interior under control. The then vented the sides with saws and hit it from the sides.

    When things died down a bit the guy who started the fire as I was told (forklift operator), went in and stuck the bales with the forks and carried them out in the open where they could be dowsed. Was this an example you were looking for or is my not being a FF showing here?

    The only thing the forgot was they left the ground ladder on top of the trailer – TL

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    We have one on our engine, one of them tools you always sit back and say, oh we should of used that. But it's never used on the scene, too much time involved and is always overlooked!

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    We have them, and have used them a few times. They are a very specialized tool that can come in hand if used appropriately. There is an investment of time involved with switching nozzles, then pounding the tip through a wall, or whatever barrier you are trying to breech. We have had a couple of instances where we had compartment fires in which it was safer, easier and faster to use a piercing nozzle. As others have said, if possible, use a hook instead. We have also used them on large round bale fires, it was allot easier to use the nozzle then to break down each individual bale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter3419 View Post
    We have one on our engine, one of them tools you always sit back and say, oh we should of used that. But it's never used on the scene, too much time involved and is always overlooked!
    That frequently happens with equipment that is not required on every call. We used to have a piercing nozzle but it got broken and was never fixed/replaced. Since losing it, we've been on many fires that we wished we had it and now we're looking at getting a new one.
    As far as those saying make a hole with a hook and spray water in? No, that doesn't work as good as a piercing nozzle. Are you going to use your hook to make a hole in siding, sheeting, insulation, drywall and then get through the couch faster than I can hammer a piercing nozzle through the wall and turn the water on?
    It's another tool that, when understood and used properly, has it's place and can be useful.
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    PS, they also work well on hay fires to slow or stop smoldering 600lb round bales of hay!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haweater View Post
    That frequently happens with equipment that is not required on every call. We used to have a piercing nozzle but it got broken and was never fixed/replaced. Since losing it, we've been on many fires that we wished we had it and now we're looking at getting a new one.
    As far as those saying make a hole with a hook and spray water in? No, that doesn't work as good as a piercing nozzle. Are you going to use your hook to make a hole in siding, sheeting, insulation, drywall and then get through the couch faster than I can hammer a piercing nozzle through the wall and turn the water on?
    It's another tool that, when understood and used properly, has it's place and can be useful.
    Cheers,
    Gord
    PS, they also work well on hay fires to slow or stop smoldering 600lb round bales of hay!
    You are forgetting that in all odds one will be using a handline with a MST or a fog tip and then during the battle against the fire, you might think..."We could use a piercing nozzle." Then a guy must aquire one from an Engine...then have the line shut down...replace the nozzle and then begin your operation.

    Besides I'm not sure I understand your senario about going through siding and a couch...what is it exactly you are conveying here?

    FTM-PTB

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    We have them on our engine,

    I can think of at least 6 fires in the past 3 years that we have used one.

    Our primary usage is for car fires, as a result, we have it on a preconnect on the front pumper. The truck has 3 preconnects, so we don't feel it limits our flexibility.

    We probably use it more than other departments because it is hooked up all the time.

    1. Car Fires, instead of opening the hood, we put the nozzle through the sheet metal. Works like a chair. Only time it didn't work, the nozzleman tried to go through a car spring on the side of the vehicle.

    2. Hay Stack Fires - nice tool for getting the foam deep inside a smoldering hay bale

    3. Attic Fire - I know this will be controversial for many people on this site, but we have done this twice. smoldering fire in the attic, lots of smoke and heat, no visible flame, punch the piercing nozzle into the attic, steam out the fire. Steam cools the fire and displaces oxygen putting the fire out. Uses a minimal amount of water, limiting the water damage to the home. After we let the steam work and then cool for a few minutes, we send in a team with a regular hoseline and a TIC. They overhaul and make sure its out. The two times we have done this, it worked incredibly well. Like I said, we have identified smoldering fires, lots of heat and smoke, little to no flame as a target for this approach. Wouldn't use it if there was a big ripping fire in an attic space.

    My initial fire training was in the Navy in the mid 80s. PPE was dungarees, chambray shirt and an OBA. We used lots of fog, steaming out compartment fires was not an unusual tactic. My Chief got the idea from a class by a retired Seattle Fire Deputy Chief named Stewart Rose. We tried it a few training burns before we used on an actual fire.

    It is a very controversial tactic, I know. Like any new tactic, I would not recommend it to anyone without having specific training on its advantages and disadvantages.

    All in all, piercing nozzles are a specialty tool. They take special training and are limited to specific circumstances. They don't get used if you don't train with them though.

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    We recently purchased a piercing nozzle and placed it on the front bumper of our truck for ease of access. We haven't used it much, but the one time we did use it so far it did its job. We had a structure fire with collapse, and could not access an area because of the collapse so we drove the nozzle into the area extinguishing it pretty easily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    You are forgetting that in all odds one will be using a handline with a MST or a fog tip and then during the battle against the fire, you might think..."We could use a piercing nozzle." Then a guy must aquire one from an Engine...then have the line shut down...replace the nozzle and then begin your operation.
    FTM-PTB
    No, I'm thinking of many times that we've been deploying lines and talking about how handy a piercing nozzle would be. More so on fires that have already been mostly knocked down. Piece of ceiling/wall/roof/whatever lying on top of a pile of smoldering rubbish as an example.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Besides I'm not sure I understand your senario about going through siding and a couch...what is it exactly you are conveying here?
    FTM-PTB
    That was just a hypothetical situation in reference to your post about a 6' hook and a nozzle. If you're looking to get water into an area, it's faster to hammer a piercing nozzle through than create a hole with hand tools to stick your nozzle through. (Unless I am misinterpreting what a 6' hook is)
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    Default Thanks for the responses

    Our department has employed a "home-made" one in a basement setting a couple of times and we have used the city's nozzle on a basement as well. Both cases were related to near post control fires where collapse was a real issue. We have had several fires with "void" area problems where we could not quickly tear the area apart and get access to the void. Each time, collapse or tight spaces hampered our attempts to control these areas.
    Yes, we've talked about it on car fires, but no, we've never tried our homemade one on them. I agree that preconnection and training are the keys to using this tool. I would appreciate any info on specific brands if possible. Thanks

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    Question, if the piercing nozzle is preconnected, how are you getting it through a wall, a car, etc? Is the material that soft you are just pushing it through? I can see for a void space and fit in the crack, but actually forcing through an object?
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    When I used to work at the airport, they worked great to puncture the skin and go into the cabin to put out a fire inside the airplane. Just hope you are not the poor sucker in the that particular window seat!

    Another great use is for hay bails or large piles of leaves/rubbish. I have not used one on a car fire but have used one on a semi trailer fire like mentioned above....

    Like someone said, they are a special piece of equipment that can be great if used right. Just another tool in the tool box.
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    dont have one... only reason I might want one would be for attic fires but then.... it needs to be a big one.


    the best example I've really seen for one so far is
    1. Car Fires, instead of opening the hood, we put the nozzle through the sheet metal. Works like a chair. Only time it didn't work, the nozzleman tried to go through a car spring on the side of the vehicle.
    Ya.... or you could take a haligan, put the side part of the hood up and shove the nozzle into the engine compartment.... works pretty well.

    I would say unless you have a preconnect with one on there, by the time you realize "hey, that would work great...." its tooo late for it to be effective.

    Hay Bale fires....... god, you just have to hate them

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Question, if the piercing nozzle is preconnected, how are you getting it through a wall, a car, etc? Is the material that soft you are just pushing it through? I can see for a void space and fit in the crack, but actually forcing through an object?
    Most I have seen have a blunt end opposite the nozzle (naturally I hope). Usually the flat head axe or the 10lb sledge is enough to push through the hood of a car, trailer, drywall or sheetrock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kd7fds View Post
    3. Attic Fire - I know this will be controversial for many people on this site, but we have done this twice. smoldering fire in the attic, lots of smoke and heat, no visible flame, punch the piercing nozzle into the attic, steam out the fire. Steam cools the fire and displaces oxygen putting the fire out. Uses a minimal amount of water, limiting the water damage to the home. After we let the steam work and then cool for a few minutes, we send in a team with a regular hoseline and a TIC. They overhaul and make sure its out. The two times we have done this, it worked incredibly well. Like I said, we have identified smoldering fires, lots of heat and smoke, little to no flame as a target for this approach. Wouldn't use it if there was a big ripping fire in an attic space.

    My initial fire training was in the Navy in the mid 80s. PPE was dungarees, chambray shirt and an OBA. We used lots of fog, steaming out compartment fires was not an unusual tactic. My Chief got the idea from a class by a retired Seattle Fire Deputy Chief named Stewart Rose. We tried it a few training burns before we used on an actual fire.

    It is a very controversial tactic, I know. Like any new tactic, I would not recommend it to anyone without having specific training on its advantages and disadvantages.

    All in all, piercing nozzles are a specialty tool. They take special training and are limited to specific circumstances. They don't get used if you don't train with them though.
    For a while we trained on a modified fog applicator (think Navy-nozzle fog applicator pipe welded onto a 1 3/4 female fitting). The intent was to unscrew the tip of the TFT nozzle and screw the fog applicator onto it.

    During an attic or void fire, you would then make a small hole with an ax and place the tip of the fog applicator into the hole. One or two small shots of water and viola! - fire goes out.

    It worked okay, but you really had to make sure that the void area was sealed, otherwise it wouldn't work. It was also a bit unwieldy on a steep roof.
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    I'm seeing a lot of posts saying use them for attic fires...Are you guys really serious? I can't imagine ever using one in an attic.

    What ever happened to opening up the ceiling and sticking a conventional nozzle in there and putting the fire out? The GPM flow from a piercing nozzle is inadequate to extinguish a heavily involved attic fire. Getting even a substantial knock-down is doubtful at best, not to mention the time wasted connecting and using the stupid thing.

    If there is that much fire in an attic, you absolutely need the GPM (and the stream reach) of a conventional nozzle to put it out. If there is not that much fire, why ever use a piercing nozzle to begin with?

    Basements/cellars, I can see a possible benefit for one being used, but since we have very, very few of them here in Florida, it's not much of an issue to us.

    Car fires...I see them as a complete waste of time. Halligan the hood and put it out. One line, one nozzle.
    If you have a piercing nozzle on a preconnect, I'd sure like to see how it is used to extinguish a fully involved vehicle. Two lines would have to be deployed. Again, wasting time, manpower and energy.

    Hay rolls...Yes, this may be a good application for a piercing nozzle. But again, simply because one is used, it will not keep you from having to physically open up (overhaul) the roll to ensure that it is completely extinguished.

    I guess I've just been taught different tactics than some others have. Perhaps it's because of manpower issues, or perhaps it's more of a regional thing. Either way, I honestly think piercing nozzles are a 99% waste of time, money and energy.

    Just my humble opinion.
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    I've used them on occassion, and can't complain as they worked great. The two biggest scenerios are fires in enclosed trailers and hay bales. They work better on hay bale fires if you have a foam eductor hooked up and stuck into a bucket of soapy water (I'm sure you could use class a foam, but a bottle of dawn and a 5 gallon bucket is a helluva lot cheaper).

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    does any one have research or trial of using a peircing nozzle on a suspected backdraft?

    Just a thought about it....IFSTA said way back in fire school to open vertically, I'd say why would I put a ff on the roof of an explosive building?

    The small hole of the peircing nozzle should do the trick of steaming it out given the three criteria of a true fog attack (high heat, underventilated, no savable lives in the compartment) (all the Layman haters post now, but do realize I am a smoothbore guy)

    What do you think or have expirience with?

    Also, since I am a sb guy, I'd unscrew the 15/16th off the Akron valve and attach the peircing nozzle right there....no shutting down and draining the line

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    Default Same Line Of Thought

    Quote Originally Posted by ffmedcbk1 View Post
    does any one have research or trial of using a peircing nozzle on a suspected backdraft?

    Just a thought about it....IFSTA said way back in fire school to open vertically, I'd say why would I put a ff on the roof of an explosive building?

    The small hole of the peircing nozzle should do the trick of steaming it out given the three criteria of a true fog attack (high heat, underventilated, no savable lives in the compartment) (all the Layman haters post now, but do realize I am a smoothbore guy)

    What do you think or have expirience with?

    Also, since I am a sb guy, I'd unscrew the 15/16th off the Akron valve and attach the peircing nozzle right there....no shutting down and draining the line
    I was wondering whether there are test trials out there, too.
    Personally, I'd be a bit leary about the GPMs being able to significantly affect a backdraft situation. I think most of the nozzles we checked into rated around 125 GPM. There are some heavy hitters on the market that more than double that, but they are larger, more cumbersome units.
    It's a great question, though. I wish I could find some research data on the subject.

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    DocVBFDE14, thanks Doc. The only ones I have seen (and have) had the hose connection at the rear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    DocVBFDE14, thanks Doc. The only ones I have seen (and have) had the hose connection at the rear.
    Bones, here is a link to a company that has a few different types, some are even made to hook up to an extinguisher. I've never used any from this manufacturer, but their site may have more info that someone may want.

    http://www.piercingnozzle.com/PAGES/...S/OVERVIEW.HTM

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