By: Lt. John Russ, Brentwood Fire Rescue
Over 160 firefighters from across the country came together March 8-9 at the new Doug Young Public Safety Training Facility in Murfreesboro for a regional training event. Nozzle Forward, sponsored by the Tennessee Firemen’s Association, is an instructional course on moving firefighter hose lines in an expeditious and efficient manner, and when used properly, can reduce fire loss to homeowners and allow firefighters to do so in a safer manner. There could be a misconception that deploying a firefighter’s hose is relatively simple, yet attendees at this course realized that when a systematic approach is put in place, a fire company is capable of manipulating large hose lines with pressures causing over 100 lbs of force.
Instructors from fire departments that include Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, Calgary (Canada), and Alexandria Virginia came to share their knowledge and passion for the job of firefighting. Aaron Fields, the lead instructor, is from the Seattle Fire Department and used his training in the sport of wrestling to identify methods of body positioning to manipulate fire hoses. Reaching out to several of his mentors to further gain the knowledge of engine company operations, he tweaked this process and has been presenting this course to thousands of firefighters across the country. His methodology has become a best practice and is now being taught at large firefighter conferences across the globe and in various instructional books.
The course was extremely rigorous, as firefighters flowed over 350,000 gallons of water through four different fire engines. The students were split into various groups that learned the proper body position to flow and move hose-lines that each weigh several hundreds of pounds. Other groups were broken into skill stations that covered deploying the hoses from the fire engines and then moving these very heavy hoses through homes that could have potential for many areas to cause hang-ups in getting the hoselines where needed inside of the building. The entire course, between both days, exceeded 20 hours of instruction.
Several agencies and organizations made this course a reality. Brentwood Fire and Rescue, the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy, and Murfreesboro Fire Department were all gracious enough to loan fire apparatus for the instructors to use. Bulldog Hose was the sole hose distributor on site and provide over 4,000 feet of various size hoselines for the students. Elkhart Brass and Task Force Tips also provide firefighting nozzles and appliances, all making this training possible. Organizations such as the Tennessee Firemen’s Association, NAFECO, and G&W EVS all provided monetary and volunteer support, demonstrating their generosity to ensuring safe and practical firefighting operations.
Several agencies around Murfreesboro also assisted in making this course a reality. Slick Pig BBQ and Firehouse Subs provided meals for the students and Sams Club was gracious enough to provide bottled water. Despite the weather, the students were put to the test physically, and the bottled water was much needed!
This was the second time the course was held in the Middle Tennessee Region and is one of the larger venues for the instructor cadre to attend. The course is so well known in the firefighting community, it sold out within just a matter of days after registration was posted online. The community and instructor cadre found this event to be so successful, plans are already in the works for a repeat course in early 2020.
For more information about the Nozzle Forward course, check out www.NozzleForward.com.