The hose line is considered one of the most common tools for firefighters on the fireground. All front-line fire operations need the host line to connect fire apparatus with the water suppliers, except for truck and rescue companies or some water tenders. As a matter of fact, the hose line is still widely used on today’s fireground.
One of the most frustrating experience for seasoned firefighters is improper water pressure in the hose line. Too much or inadequate pressure being supplied through the hose line will tremendously affect water applications.
Whether or not you are a qualified pump operator is determined by how well you know about exactly how much pressure is required for the hand line in varying situations. Inadequate pressure will surely result in failure to extinguish a fire effectively.
Nonetheless, “the more the better” is not always true when it comes to water pressure. Nozzle types also influence the water discharge; therefore, how you choose the right nozzle becomes a need-to-know principle for all firefighters.
Right Pressure for Fireground Situation
Before using hand lines, firefighters are required to know well the required pressure for their lines and be able to manage and control the desired pressure to extinguish a fire on any given fireground.
A firefighter oftentimes works alone when there is no assistant nozzle operator to help you with the nozzle reaction while applying water. In this case, the firefighter’s work appears to be obstructed by the high pressure the pump produces.
One of the solutions to this problem is changing nozzles. The nozzle that produces fog pattern will reduce the nozzle reaction to a certain degree than does the nozzle that produces a straight stream.
During pump practice, firefighters, holding a 100-foot 1¾-inch hand line with an automatic nozzle, tend to complain that too much pressure was supplied without knowing it was indeed the required pressure to effectively operate the nozzle. Their reaction indicated that they need to acquaint themselves with pressure much more. It is not uncommon to see firefighters caught off guard for too much pressure in the host line. The golden rule for firefighters on the fire ground is to know exactly how much pressure to be supplied to the applications required, which may vary based on the types of fire.
For example, the pressure required for a vehicle fire may not be as much as that for a building fire; therefore, a seasoned firefighter will not hesitate to dial down the pressure.
Never deliver the water to the nozzle at full pressure for any reasons in whatever situations on the fireground. Always fill the hose with water first, and then dial the pressure up little by little. Failure to follow this rule will cause difficulty holding or operating the hand line.
Practice makes perfect. It takes practice to get yourselves familiar with the hand lines and required pressure. The sooner you can get used to this, the better you’ll become.