Monday, December 26, 2011

Hose and Nozzles

This is the first in a series of BlogSpots that will be written in response to the survey that was extended to all of our Challenge Competitors. We greatly appreciate your input and expressions of interest. Please feel free to add your comments and questions.

All-American Hose
Four or five individuals commented on the hose provided by our new sponsor, All-American Hose who joined us on short notice at the end of the 2011 season. The respondents thought that we should have announced that we were changing to another product.

While we welcomed All-American in Fort Pierce through a number of public address announcements, we did not make mention of their arrival on the website.

We were virtually out of attack hose and are overjoyed to have them on board. Yes, this hose is different; we just didn’t know how different. You think that attack line is pretty much a generic product, but we were wrong. The difference between All-American and other brands is that it’s a true 1.75” interior diameter- one of the few products that is as advertised. It’s also a lot tougher than any other product out there.

Over the course of a season, it was not unusual to go through 50+ sections of hose. At ≈$250/section, well, you do the math (it's ≈ $12,500). That's a pretty big line item for a consumable that never fought a fire. We're saving a lot of landfill space by using a product that's "green" in an unintended way: lasting far longer than any competitive product. 

The hose that we used in Myrtle Beach was first placed in service in Fort Pierce. It performed admirably. Admittedly the broom-finished concrete added significantly to the friction that was required to overcome in order to move quickly. That's going to happen no matter whose brand of hose we use. 

What is different about All-American Hose is the fact that it does not kink. Kinking accelerates the demise of the hose because wear-points quickly form and compromise the integrity of the hose. One bright spot is that we may no longer need the protective carpets where the hoses are staged. When we first employed them, our hose degradation was cut in half. 

We’re keeping tabs on the durability of this product and you should look for a major advertising campaign extolling the virtues of All-American. Right now, we’ve accumulated 99,525 dragging feet without a failure. That‘s for 1327 competitors over 9 days of competition. Impressive.

One competitor commented that the blue side target would not fall down. On reviewing the replay, we noted that hitting the oval with the FCC Trademark was never intended to trigger the slide. One must hit the fire target. In the C.A.B. meeting, one of the members remarked that the nozzle does not deliver a straight stream. That is correct; if you don't pull the bale all the way back, a ball cock nozzle will distort the spray pattern because there is not a straight line from the hose to the tip until the ball is fully opened. We place a quarter inch washer in the bore to restrict the volume, thereby reducing the potential for water on the course. 

The fastest competitors can open the nozzle, knock down the target and close it, all within 2 seconds. That burst of water takes less than 1 gallon, and perhaps even less. We maintain a constant pressure of 125 psi (≈3.5 bar) that allows reasonable precision, assuming that the operator aims at the right target and fully opens the bale. 

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