Throw Back to Basics: Nozzle Placement

By Brian Zaitz

The importance of putting water on the fire cannot be understated. After all, that is why citizens call 911. That being said, each action by the hoseline team or engine crew is critical to the efficient and prompt extinguishment of the fire.  Often, the nozzle man or nozzle firefighter has the easiest and most glorious job. For that reason, we sometimes overlook the nozzle firefighter position and the need to train on correct nozzle placement.

The correct placement and handling of the nozzle will exponentially improve the effectiveness of the entire hoseline crew.  Too often—especially with pistol grip nozzles—the nozzle firefighter can crowd the nozzle, limiting its movement and ability to adequately move and flow when needed.

Sometimes referred to as “armpitting” the nozzle, the nozzle gets tucked into the firefighter’s armpit area; this not only impedes proper use of the nozzle, but it also hinders the entire line movement because the nozzle firefighter is pulling the nozzle with each movement.

A properly addressed nozzle is in front of the nozzle firefighter, with the nozzle bail at arm’s length to allow for the opening and closing of the nozzle while still facilitating nozzle movement in any direction needed.  When the nozzle is out in front, you can move the nozzle easily to the right, left, up, down and behind, providing a more effective, safer hose operation.  Likewise, the nozzle firefighter will have better movement, one that is in sync with the other firefighters on the line.

RELATED: Aerial Device: Nozzle PositioningHigh-Rise NozzleProper Nozzle Handling Technique

This simple change can only be implemented through effective training and the actual use of the nozzle, so take the time with your crew to pull some lines and flow some water. 

Download this drill as a PDF HERE (4 MB).

Brian Zaitz is a 14-year student of the fire service, currently assigned as the captain/training officer with the Metro West (MO) Fire Protection District. Brian is an instructor with Engine House Training, LLC as well as instructor at the St. Louis County Fire Academy.  Brian holds several degrees, including an associates in paramedic technology, a bachelors in fire science management, and a masters in human resource development. Brian is currently and accredited chief training officer and student of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

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