The fire nozzle is arguably the most important piece of equipment to a firefighter. Often, it is the only tool that can deliver water and extinguish fire in the field. Unfortunately, firefighters tend to take this vital tool for granted and spend little time inspecting, cleaning, or learning about it. The fire nozzle is, after all, the primary weapon used to suppress fire; it deserves the same level of attention as any military weapon would receive.
No matter what firefighting mission you find yourself in, the nozzle is your best tool to control the flow and velocity of water to get to the seat of the fire quickly. However, not all nozzles are created equal. In fact, most fire departments don’t even know all the options that are available to them. The choice of nozzle largely depends on the department’s resources and, to some extent, culture. For example, some departments may have an affinity for smooth-bore nozzles while others prefer to use fog nozzles.
Choosing the right nozzle involves many factors that must be taken into account including the intended application, nozzle flow rate, and nozzle pressure rating. In order to determine these factors, it’s important that the hose is tested with a properly calibrated gpm meter and pump on a regular basis. This way, you can be sure that your nozzles are clean and functioning properly. During the testing process, you should pay special attention to the nozzle pressure and pattern capabilities. This will help to ensure that the nozzle can be comfortably handled in an emergency situation.