The amount of time spent on connecting a fire hose to the sprinkler or standpipe systems in a building is directly proportional to the size of a fire, and every second counts to tell the truth.
Though threaded fittings are smaller in size, they have been the standard in the fire protection industry for a long time; however, a larger threadless hose coupling called Storz is gaining popularity because it can reduce connection times considerably and deliver large volumes of water as quickly as possible when needed.
The downside of the threaded fittings is the lethal risk of mismatch. For example, if a firefighter mistakenly lays the female-threaded end of a fire hose at a female-threaded hydrant, the hose will need to be laid all over again unless specialized adapters are available. Either of these will be a waste of time.
A Storz connection is a type of hose coupling that can be found on fire department connection inlets, fire hydrants, and fire hoses. Most fire hoses in the United States are of the National Standard Thread (NST) standards, except the larger diameter hoses. Storz connections are specifically designed for large diameter hoses and have certain advantages over the traditional couplings.
Storz fittings are quick connectors which allow the fire department to connect the pumper hose to a hydrant simply with a quick, quarter-turn action. By contrast, it takes threaded swivels and hose couplings several turns to serve the same purpose.
Many cities like Burnsville, Minnesota have unveiled plans to spend six figures on replacing their threaded connectors on the fire hydrants with unthreaded Storz couplings.
The rationale behind these expensive plans is that such quick-connect couplings save considerable amount of time for firefighters when they are connecting hose fittings, and this might further save their lives in case of an emergency.
What makes Storz connections quick is their being universal, sexless design which is so different from the traditional design of gendered couplings and swivels with NST threads, or any other fire hose thread standards in use today.
Gendered fittings can slow down firefighters’ operations due to mismatched hose couplings, which unfortunately occurred during the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. The fire raged out of control for 30 hours with more than 1,500 buildings being completely leveled and some 1,000 severely damaged. The property loss from the disaster was estimated to be $100 million.
Such a catastrophic fire would not have happened if Storz connections had been invented and used back then. Storz couplings of the same size can connect to one another freely and in a simple manner.