Sooooo, my mouth got me into some trouble the other day. Again. I was working at one of the Tower units in my city and they started talking crap about how they get called into all the big fires because the towers have the “Master” of Master streams. I noticed that the tip on their monitor didn’t look very “Master of Masters”. Nope, 1 3/4″ smooth bore. What is the discharge on that? Right 800-ish GPM. Wow, impressive. NOT. The Captain of the company had decided that a solid stream is better than an adjustable nozzle for surround and drown operations. And I full heartedly agree.
But if you are being called to the scene because your apparatus is equipped to deliver 2x the elevated stream punch as any ladder pipe, why, oh why, would you put the same tip on your elevated stream as every other one in the city? Dunno.
“But, But, But!!! We have a 5″ waterway. We need an engine dedicated to us at a fire. But we can just increase the pressure to get more water. But all those reducers we had to put on the monitor to get the pipe down to size does not restrict the amount of water that can go through it. But, fog nozzles need 100psi at the tip, sometimes it’s hard enough getting 80psi up there.”
Oh I’m going to need to do some work here, or just drop the whole thing all together. Yeah right, I can’t let this go unchallenged.
So I ask them for the fog nozzle that they had removed. They had it nearby. Good for them.
Written right on it “1000gpm @ 50psi, 2000gpm @ 80psi”. That was 1 “but” out of the way.
The average pump in our city is rated at 1250gpm @ 150psi. Generally we need just under that to get the 80 at the tip. If you raise the psi anymore the GPM’s go down. “You mean to tell me MORE psi means LESS water?” Yes, but that’s a discussion for another day. Look at the chart on the pump. Dammit, another “but” off the list.
I asked them where the reducers and tip came from. “An old ladder pipe” was the answer. Really? you’re using the same equipment as everybody else and expect it to do something different for you? You have a 5″ waterway and you squeeze it down to a 2 1/2″ so the tip will fit. I think that “but” took care of it’s self.
I’m no master of hydraulics, and I may have told them some outright lies. But the idea that command staff believed the towers have a large capacity to deliver water to hard to reach areas, and they do. To handicap your ability to perform that function is a great disservice to everyone on the scene.
After that little drill and associated research(5 hours) all of us have a better understanding of the capabilities of the tower and now they are looking for a siamese for their intake and starting to tell co-workers that 1 pumper just isn’t enough for their “Master, Master Stream”.
Tip of the day; Don’t arbitrarily change something because that’s the way it used to be. New technologies can make some pretty cool things a reality.