Response: The predominate nozzle used by FDNY engine companies is a smooth- bore controlling nozzle with stacked outer stream tips ranging in size from 1 1/8-

Jim Murtagh

Deputy Chief

Fire Department of New York (FDNY)

Response: The predominate nozzle used by FDNY engine companies is a smooth- bore controlling nozzle with stacked outer stream tips ranging in size from 1 1/8-inch down to 1 5/16-inch. Some combination fog straight-stream nozzles are used, however, generally not on the initial structural fire attack line. In the 1970s, FDNY engine companies used combination nozzles. It was believed that the combination nozzle would be an effective tool for structural firefighting because it would provide the nozzleman with the ability to control the stream type and limit the nozzle reaction and subsequent negative impact on the nozzle operator.

However, the use of an aggressive interior attack with a fog or nonsolid straight stream in tightly confined spaces such as those encountered in multistoried residence buildings rapidly produces large volumes of steam. The rapid conversion of the water droplets into steam without the rapid removal of the excessive heat resulted in large buildups of steam in the fire apartment and around the interior attack team. This excessive rapid buildup of highly heated moisture quickly found its way into the protective clothing being worn and led to what is generally called steam burns. Hot steam condensed on the cool fire clothing of the attack team and then transferred the heat to the skin. Because the attack team was unable to get out of the steam area, the now wet, hot clothing rapidly continued to burn the skin for an extended period. Applying water from a solid-stream nozzle also produces steam but not in such great quantities. The solid-stream nozzle is able to extinguish the fire and to cool the surfaces and the surrounding areas sufficiently to reduce the heat without producing the large rapidly expanding volumes of steam. This significantly prevents steam burns.

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