Fire hose nozzles are designed to help put out fires by providing the right amount of water, in the correct form, in the right spot. Nozzles control the flow of water by adjusting the size of the orifice in the outlet and provide reach by restricting the incoming flow of water, which changes water pressure to velocity, necessary to get to the fire spot. They also create a shape or pattern, from straight stream for penetration to wide angle fog sprays for radiant heat protection.
The nozzle that your fire department uses depends on standard operating procedures, tactics, and performance requirements. Different nozzles have their redeeming qualities that firefighters love, but the decision of which nozzle to use depends on the call scenario and fireground conditions.
A common type of fire nozzle is the constant gallonage nozzle, which maintains a fixed flow rate at a designated rated nozzle pressure and setting. This nozzle style is popular because it provides a steady, consistent discharge that may help reduce the reaction force for a firefighter. However, it can also hinder a firefighter’s ability to maneuver because the fixed water stream lacks break-up, which allows for better absorption of heat.
Another type of fire nozzle is the spinning tooth, which can create a protective fog pattern. While this type of nozzle can be useful for radiant heat protection, it can easily degrade if the teeth are not spinning due to debris or are missing or damaged, making regular inspections imperative. No matter which nozzle your fire department chooses, it is important to test-out and practice with it so that it is comfortable in your hand and is able to perform the tasks it was designed for.