Firefighter Nozzle Reaction

Selena K. Chin, Peter B. Sunderland, Grunde Jomaas

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Nozzle reaction and hose tension are analyzed using conservation of fluid momentum and assuming steady, inviscid flow and a flexible hose in frictionless contact with the ground. An expression that is independent of the bend angle is derived for the hose tension. If this tension is exceeded owing to anchor forces, the hose becomes straight. The nozzle reaction is found to equal the jet momentum flow rate, and it does not change when an elbow connects the hose to the nozzle. A forward force must be exerted by a firefighter or another anchor that matches the forward force that the jet would exert on a perpendicular wall. Three reaction expressions are derived, allowing it to be determined in terms of hose diameter, jet diameter, flow rate, and static pressure upstream of the nozzle. The nozzle reaction predictions used by the fire service are 56% to 90% of those obtained here for typical firefighting hand lines. Sharing these findings with the fire protection community can improve the safety of firefighters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFire Technology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1907-1917
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Fluid mechanics
  • Hose tension
  • Hydraulics
  • Kickback
  • Spray


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