By Ray McCormack
Some nozzles come with stream shapers built within the nozzle while other stream shapers are add-on attachments. Smooth bore nozzles - noted for their solid stream pattern - hold their shape much better when a stream shaper is added to the nozzle package. There is another type of stream shaper in the fire service: that is the people behind the movement of nozzles to exterior positions for initial fire attack.
We are starting to see stream placement through windows in occupied buildings by fully-protected firefighters at what appear to be single-room fires as ‘act one’ upon arrival. This is a very curious “moth- to -the -flame” approach to firefighting which leaves out the most important consideration of line placement: Egress protection!
When we spot window flame and move directly to exterior knockdown, without any interior size-up, we’re operating in deference to interior life safety conditions. The reasoning behind this exterior “shoot to kill” is that it will make it safer for firefighters who eventually will be allowed to go inside the structure. Knowing the true purpose of the interior hoseline is fundamental to firefighter as well as civilian safety.
Nozzle placement, in regard to fire attack, is not just about fire extinguishment. If it were that simple, municipalities could save a lot of money on equipment and personnel by just letting the civilians shoot water through a window. This new modern ‘take’ on the ‘bucket brigade’ could be further regulated and standardized so that every home would come equipped with a set amount of hose and attached nozzle. Any time a fire was spotted, the safety stream could be utilized through any available opening; and the need for timely resources, incident command, situational awareness, crew resource management, azure cards, tags and a balanced attack strategy that the local fire department provides would be greatly diminished.
Not all fires that show themselves are contained just to the show window; what we often see is fire extension from another location. How many lines will be used when you employ thru the window extinguishment? Will it be a single line that initially shoots water through a window, and is then repositioned to the doorway? Will it be a single line, and after the shoot – to – kill, the line enters through the target window? Should there be a second line? Will it be the one inside? Should the second line be at the window?
Do you know where your hoseline belongs? Does your placement convert to improved safety? Make sure your stream is in the right place to provide tactical safety for all.
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