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

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Tricks Of the Trade: Handlines

Some departments utilize 3” hose instead of 2-1/2”, which winds up being the big flow handline. 3” hose weighs more than the 2-1/2” and is not as flexible at the point where the nozzle is connected. However, there is a positive characteristic. 3” hose has the ability to absorb more nozzle reaction than the 2-1/2”. So why not use a combination of both 2-1/2” and 3” hose?

A 15’ section of 3” hose can be placed at the end of the 2-1/2” line and connected to the nozzle to help absorb the nozzle reaction. This will allow the line to retain the light weight of the 2-1/2” hose while taking advantage of the 3” nozzle reaction absorption capabilities at the point where the firefighters will work.


Using a short section of 3” hose at the nozzle makes hose handling easier.

Directing a stream from a 500 GPM handline can be somewhat more difficult to handle than the standard 250-350 GPM lines. Notice I said somewhat more difficult, but not impossible. To help eliminate this problem a stream directing handle can be used. The stream directing handle connects between the nozzle valve and the tip and is just forward of the bale handle on the valve.

It is a free swiveling handle that gives the firefighter on the nozzle a better grip and more leverage thus allowing for an easy stream directing operation. These handles can be used on several nozzle combinations, including the 2-1/2”playpipe, both 2-1/2” and 1-1/2 nozzle valves and the big 2-1/2” jumbo valves.

Most smooth bore tips, the Vindicator nozzle, and big combination nozzles can be used.

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