Extinguishing out-of-control forest fires is the most critical task of wildland firefighters. Obviously, saving lives and protecting their team members are equally vital, but they can accomplish both by putting out the flames as quickly as possible.
However, doing that will be difficult if there’s anything wrong with the device that sends the water where it needs to go. The fire hose and, more importantly, the nozzle attached to it need to be in top-notch condition in order to function properly. That’s why we’ve put together this list of rules for properly maintaining a fire hose nozzle to ensure that it’s clean and operational for subsequent usage.
Steps for Maintenance
Let’s start with the main focus of this post: the list of steps on how to maintain your nozzles. Fortunately, the process isn’t too tricky, but it is critical to make sure that you follow it precisely. Failing to do any of these can result in a malfunctioning nozzle the next time someone uses it.
Inspect the Gasket
When it’s time to do this process, you should always start by giving the entire nozzle a once-over to look for any noticeable irregularities. More importantly, though, you need to check out the gasket inside of the female coupling. This is the primary component that ensures no leaks when water is pumping through it. If there are any abnormal stretches or tears, you’ll need to replace the gasket with a brand-new one to guarantee a tight seal for standard usage.
Wash the Nozzle
Between getting dropped on the ground and being handled by dirty gloves, there’s a really good chance that a proper cleaning will be necessary during this process. Obviously, you should wash away any visible dust and grime, but you should always scrub at any nooks and crannies that the nozzle has. If you leave any dirt behind, it could potentially clog up the opening, which will negatively affect the water flow.
After you’ve cleaned and dried the nozzle, it’s time to reapply any required lubricant to it. Depending on the nozzle type, you might have to do this step, but many brands use special lubrication to ensure that no blockages occur. You will need to refer to your owner’s manual to find out what type of lubricant to use and where to apply it.
Check the Various Components
Now that the nozzle should be back in working order, it’s time to give a more thorough inspection of its various parts. Handles, levers, and openings should have no noticeable defects or loose components. Be sure to also check the nozzle section that swivels to ensure that it rotates smoothly.
Give It a Test Run
Even though a visual inspection is all well and good, it’s not as comprehensive as an actual test would be. That’s why the final step is to give it a test run. The last thing you want is to find out that you missed a slight problem when trying to fight off flames. To make extra sure that everything is in proper working order, be sure to use a flow meter to measure your results more accurately.
How Frequently You Should Do This
Now that you know the entire set of rules for maintaining a fire hose nozzle, it’s time to cover aspects such as how often you need to perform this procedure. Generally, this whole process should take place after every usage of the piece of equipment. Anything can happen out in the field, and if potential issues don’t get addressed right away, they can get significantly worse in a short amount of time.
Even though an entire test run is only required once a week, we still believe it’s best to test it after every maintenance check. Even though we’re sure that your department brings extra nozzles to the firefight, it’s best not to have any issue with the one you’re using in the first place. Every second counts when fighting off intense forest fires.
Why This Maintenance Is So Vital
We already covered some of the reasons why a properly functioning hose nozzle is so critical. However, we didn’t get into the finer details about why you need to make sure your team follows through with the procedure after each usage, so let’s do that now.
One thing that you’ll be likely to notice is a distinct lack of pressure. Not only will this make it more difficult to get the water far enough to reach some of the flames, but the water will have a much lower force for putting them out. A dirty nozzle will also stop a portion of the water available from getting through the nozzle all at once. Even if the pressure seems right, you might be putting less water per second onto the flames, making it more challenging to put them out.
Finally, even though we said that lubricant might not be necessary for your nozzle’s brand, forgetting to apply it when required can cause it to seize up, slowing its water output significantly. It might seem weird that something that is constantly wet needs lubricant, but the water gets expelled from the nozzle so quickly that it needs all the help it can get.
Ways To Make This a Priority
We know that following through with this process might seem tedious, but as you can see, it’s extremely vital to do. So how do you convince your team to always do it? Well, start by showing them this blog post. Sometimes knowing the facts is all a person needs to feel inspired to do something they normally wouldn’t.
Obviously, we don’t expect our words to be the driving force of your department. That’s the job of those who run it. That means it’s up to them to make nozzle maintenance a regular part of initial training. Of course, running a program to teach those who are already a part of the department is essential as well, but you can include them in the first session that they run for the new recruits.
Regardless of how you get the message across, you need to ensure that people know what problems to look out for as well as what to do when they find them. If repair is an option, you can try to fix it yourself, but more often than not, the safest option is to simply replace it. If your department is in need of some new wildland fire nozzles, then look no further than our online store. We have a large selection of various types for you to pick and choose from.