I can't tell you how many people I have heard say "You can't push fire, they proved it". Well they (NIST and UL) produced an incredible amount of research for firefighters to use in order to make conditions safer and tactics more effective. I have seen countless firefighters throw around the "push fire" term as if it were a catch phrase. The fact of the matter is that an inappropriately used hose stream can and will "push" fire. Now, I know many of you are thinking that the hose stream isn't pushing the fire and that I am wrong in saying that. Well, call it what you want but a hose stream can manipulate the flow paths that we are talking about and whether you believe the stream itself is moving the fire or the influence of that stream is changing the flow path, both cause the fire to migrate to other areas. In my next few articles I will be showing you some videos I am putting together about nozzle selection and the effects of fog nozzles, smoothbore nozzles and their uses. Until then watch the video below and you answer the question "Can you push fire?".
If you have watched the above video and still think we cannot push fire with a hose stream then what would you call it? We can argue that the "Water" isn't pushing fire and I completely understand that debate. However, if we continually tell new firefighters that water cannot push fire then we are leaving out a massive amount of information that they need to know. I believe it is much more important for us to agree that using our nozzles incorrectly can contribute to fire migrating to other areas of the structure than to say that it doesn't and that the change in ventilation or flow path is what caused it.
I will spend much more time in the coming articles explaining the movement of air with nozzles, pressurization of spaces with nozzles and the relationship between GPM, Nozzle Reaction, Heat Absorption, and the advantages and disadvantages of the smoothbore nozzle and the fog nozzle.