Choosing the right nozzle for fire hose is crucial to getting water to where it needs to go. Its orifice size controls the flow of water, its shape helps with aiming, and it also creates patterns such as straight streams for penetration and wide fog spray for radiant heat protection. Regardless of what type of fire hose nozzle you select, there are five questions you should ask to help you make the best choice for your crew.
NFPA 1964 sets minimum requirements for how easy it is to operate a nozzle’s controls, including lever-type and rotational controls. Those controls should be able to open with at least three pounds of force, and they must not require more than 16 pounds of force to depress or rotate. In addition to those mechanical specifications, a nozzle must pass rough-handling tests, which include dropping it from a specified height and making sure that all the nozzle’s adjustments and controls still function.
Conventional nozzles produce a solid stream of water that requires more force to open than foam nozzles with broken or fog streams. This difference is important because it changes the water pressure to velocity, which gives the nozzle the reach to get to the seat of the fire. It also reduces the amount of heat that the nozzle must absorb to overcome a fire’s super-heated gases and destroy it. The type of nozzle you choose should also match the type of fire you are fighting.