By ALAN M. PETRILLO
Equipment and component manufacturers make a variety of nozzles for firefighters that are specially designed to handle foam, compressed air foam systems (CAFS), and other specialty needs. Such nozzles are mostly being used on handlines, but some are designed to handle large flows that are projected by monitors on either aerials or industrial pumpers.
Task Force Tips
Brian Podsiadlik, technical marketing manager for Task Force Tips (TFT), says his company’s newest nozzle, the Vortex, “gives superior performance when used in CAFS applications.” Podsiadlik notes the nozzle is integrated into the front end of a ball shutoff valve and has “an easily adjustable ring that when moved to the left turns six stream straightener veins in the nozzle at an angle, thinning the water and foam solution as it exits a smooth bore tip to achieve a useful 30-degree dispersed pattern.”
Podsiadlik adds that the Vortex also performs well in nonCAFS applications. “The veins have a similar effect when flowing only water because of the 30-degree angle dispersed pattern,” he says. “And when using foam, the spinning gives the foam and water solution a mechanical agitation.”
TFT also makes low-pressure nozzles for foam applications “that ensure a good blanket of finished foam,” Podsiadlik says. TFT’s fixed-flow low-pressure nozzle is the Metro 1, while its automatic nozzle is the Mid-Force. Both nozzles are available with a variety of foam attachments that produce low to medium finished foam, and the attachments are easily applied or removed, depending on what needs to be achieved on the fireground, he says. TFT also makes the low-pressure selectable gallon-per-minute (gpm) QuadraCup nozzle that has an integrated foam aspiration attachment that acts as a stream shaper, which, Podsiadlik says, “is useful when using water and in nonCAFS foam applications.”
Akron Brass Company
Andrea Russell, global product manager for Akron Brass Company, says Akron Brass has a variety of handline nozzles that work well with foam. “Our newest is the UltraJet, a smooth bore and fog nozzle in one unit,” Russell says. “Smooth bore tips work very well with CAFS and other foam applications because they keep the integrity of the foam bubbles intact.” Smooth bore tips available with the UltraJet come in ¾-, 7⁄8-, 15⁄16-, and one-inch versions.
Russell says that Akron Brass makes the Assault fixed-gallonage and TurboJet selectable-gallonage nozzles that can have foam aeration tubes attached to them. “The foam tube attaches to the bumper of the nozzle and provides additional aeration, a little bit of turbulence, and air that makes the foam bubbles bigger,” she points out. Akron Brass also makes a piercing applicator that can be used in foam applications as well as a fog applicator up to 10 feet long with a brass fog tip that’s compatible with Class A and Class B foam and is designed for hard-to-reach areas.
Elkhart Brass Company
Chris Martin, municipal product manager for Elkhart Brass Company, says his company makes the CAFS Stack ST-185XD that can use three smooth bore orifice sizes of 15⁄16-, 11⁄8-, and 13⁄8-inch. “We promote the use of smooth bore tips because you don’t want to break up the foam bubbles, which happens if you push it through a fog nozzle,” Martin says. “Going through a fog nozzle turns the stream from a CAFS solution to a wet foam solution.”
Martin notes that the smaller smooth bore sizes pair best for a wetter foam consistency, often used in structural fire attack, while the larger smooth bore sizes work better for a drier foam “more like a shaving cream consistency, instead of a soup.” He adds that the 15⁄16-inch smooth bore tip also works very well with water alone, “providing excellent reach and flow capability.” The CAFS Stack is used with Elkhart Brass’s XD shutoff, which Martin points out, “has a full round ball inside, a forged metal handle, and no inside waterway parts disrupting foam bubbles.”Elkhart Brass also makes the Chief XD fixed-flow nozzle and the Select-O-Matic XD automatic flow nozzle, which Martin says work well with foam applications. “The Select-O-Matic works well with almost all eductors,” he says, “and the nozzle has a spring inside that generates back pressure, giving optimum reach, which is important in foam applications.”
C&S Supply Inc.
Chris Willis, director of sales and marketing for C&S Supply, says C&S makes an integrated smooth bore foam and CAFS nozzle that has three interchangeable tips of 7⁄8-, 15⁄16-, and one-inch. C&S also makes the model 1023 dual-range nozzle, Willis says, that can be used in both foam and CAFS applications. “It puts out from 10 to 23 gpm, which is the U.S. Forest Service’s spec for a one-inch forestry nozzle,” he notes.
C&S also makes the FGP foam gun proportioner that screws on the end of a hoseline just behind a nozzle tip, as well as a piercing nozzle that sprays a 360-degree pattern, originally designed for Denver International Airport for aircraft rescue and firefighting applications but also being used by municipal departments for coal pile and hay fires as well as chimney and basement fires, according to Willis.
Williams Fire & Hazard Control
James Rucker, OEM technical product support specialist for Williams Fire & Hazard Control, says Williams makes the Scout nozzle, which can flow from 350 to 750 gpm. “The nozzle has a selector on the side where you can choose either 1 percent or 3 percent foam, even while flowing,” Rucker says. “Our Ranger 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 series nozzles flow 1,000, 1,500, and 2,000 gpm, respectively, and change the foam percentage by turning the baffle head.”
Williams also makes the Ranger 3 and Ranger 3 Plus nozzles, which are either a fixed flow size (from 1,000 gpm through 4,000 gpm) or jet pump fed. “A jet pump is like an eductor,” Rucker points out, “where water might be coming into it at 100 psi (pounds per square inch) and the jet pump is rated for a certain gpm, like 20 , 30, or 60 gpm. The jet mixes the percentage of foam needed for the flow to be achieved.” Williams also makes the Ambassador 2×6 nozzle capable of Hydro-Foam proportioning at flow rates of 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, and 6,000 gpm.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.