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Training >> Browse Articles >> Water Flow Technology by Paul Shapiro

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Tricks Of the Trade: Handlines

You can see that the 1-1/2” tip provides for the lowest nozzle reaction. It also has the lowest velocity stream and a stream with diminished reach. It should be noted that the stream from the 1-1/2” tip is still able to go around 80-100 feet. Now this is not to say that the 1-1/2” tip will not work.

Let’s look at an example. With a fully involved two car garage, a firefighter should be able to get within 30-50 feet of the fire and still be safe, thus allowing for plenty of penetration to extinguish the fire using the 1-1/2” smooth bore tip.

The hose handling technique used to manage the 500 GPM stream is based on a concept that the line is used to make a big hit on a fire from a stationery position. Big flow lines are difficult at best to advance while flowing the traditional 250-350 GPM streams. Increase the flow to 500 GPM and I think it’s safe to say that advancing while flowing is not recommended.

Make it easy on yourself and just have a seat. That’s right sit directly on the hose behind the nozzle. The nozzle reaction will then be directed from the nozzle back to the point where your body contacts with the hose and go directly into the ground.

The traditional loop that is placed in the handline for hose stability is not needed. In fact, I can find no difference in the stability of a 500 GPM flow when comparing the loop method versus the straight or non-looped line.

The 500 GPM flow can be handled with just two firefighters on the line. The firefighter at the nozzle should always be sitting on the line. The backup firefighter can either sit directly behind the nozzle firefighter or just stand on the hose. Often times with an initial big stream attack, the firefighter on the nozzle directing the stream cannot see the target.

If the firefighter backing him up is standing, there is a good chance that he will also be able to be a spotter for the nozzle man. Whichever of the two methods are used, I think you will agree that this is a safe and efficient way to handle the big line.

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