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Video: Water-to-nozzle delays hamper fireground operations

Breaking down fire attack directives into smaller steps allows crews to improve efficiency

We all know that water puts out fire and that getting water quicky on the fire will make the situation better for everybody. When we break down this basic knowledge into action steps on the fireground, we can do this more effectively.

There are three parts to this process:

  • Step 1: Getting water from the source to the pump;
  • Step 2: Getting water from the truck/pump to the nozzle; and
  • Step 3: Getting water from the nozzle to the fire.

By breaking the concept up into steps, we can dissect each one to determine where we can improve our deficiencies.

Step 1: Getting water from the source to the pump. Firefighters have three options to accomplish this: 1) from a pressurized source, 2) from a static source or 3) from the on-board tank. Most fire trucks will have an on-board water tank or booster tank that can supply anywhere from 300 to 1,500 gallons of water immediately while securing a permanent water source from either a static or pressurized source.

Step 2: Getting water from the truck/pump to the nozzle. Without this occurring quickly, the water cannot be applied to the fire quickly to suppress it. Our accompanying video features an example of waiting for water to come from the truck/pump to the nozzle.

It’s the pump operator’s job to send water as quickly as they can to the nozzle before securing water from a source of some type to assist with the fire suppression efforts of the crew.

When advancing the hoseline from the truck to the fire, firefighters should stretch the line out completely, setting up the nozzle and the first 50-foot coupling side by side to prepare for further advancement. When the hose has been stretched and set, the firefighter will then mask up, readying themselves to enter the structure for the attack. It is when they are masking up that water from the truck/pump should be sent to the nozzle. This cuts the time it takes to apply water on the fire.

While masking up, the firefighter can kneel on the nozzle at the same time, allowing the nozzle to be left open so that when the water is sent, it can be automatically bled off, allow for correct flow and pressure to be set at the pump and, if applicable, ensure the correct pattern.

Step 3: Getting water from the nozzle to the fire. Once the firefighter has masked up and is ready to go in for the interior attack, the hoseline needs to be ready to go as well – this will allow for quick water on the fire. Any delay in water application on the fire will only hurt any occupants inside, as well as the firefighters going in to do their job.

Training time

After considering the video and analysis, take the following steps to improve fire attack:

1. Segment your training regimen by practicing advancing the hoseline from the truck to the door, and then getting water quickly to the nozzle.

2. Repeat previous step multiple times to build proficiency, muscle memory and efficiency.

Mark van der Feyst has been in the fire service since 1998, currently serving as a firefighter with the Fort Gratiot Fire Department in Michigan. He is an international instructor teaching in Canada, the United States and India. He graduated from Seneca College of Applied and Technologies as a fire protection engineering technologist, and received his bachelor’s degree in fire and life safety studies from the Justice Institute of British Columbia and his master’s degree in safety, security and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University. van der Feyst is the lead author of the book “Residential Fire Rescue” and “The Tactical Firefighter.” Connect with van der Feyst via email.