“The Elkhart nozzle gives you a sense of security that it’s going to work when you need it to. I think it’s a superior product.”

Don Lines, a firefighter in Brentwood, TN, has been using Elkhart Brass nozzles for his entire 10-year career. An active member of the military, Don brings an appreciation for standardization and reliable product performance to his role at the department. Wanting to increase safety and provide an environment that meets the expectations of all of the firefighters in his department regardless of what station they are at, Don initiated a research study to test nozzle flow and make a decision on how each apparatus could be better equipped. At the time, Don’s department had close to 20 different nozzles, many of which called for a different pressure or required varying operational techniques.

“The purpose of the study was to try and standardize the engines with the same nozzles in the same location. We decided to invite the three main companies that are pretty reputable and everybody’s familiar with to come out and give a presentation.”

Don found that the results varied greatly, both in the presentations provided by Elkhart and other competitors as well as the actual nozzle performance. “Jim Melrose with Elkhart was great. He actually brought some demos (which the others did not). He took some time to talk to us about common misconceptions, how nozzles work and how they’re designed and so forth. Then we got down to testing.”

What the actual nozzle tests revealed to Don was that there were two important distinctions that put Elkhart at the top of his list. First, the Elkhart nozzles allowed him to pump at a lower pressure and achieve a higher result of gallons per minute. “We had ranges of GPM from 130 on up to 213. The big deal with that is, the engine pressures never got over 155. So we were able to pump at a lower pressure, causing less wear and tear on the engine, with a higher result of gallons per minute with the Elkhart products.”

Second, the ability of Elkhart nozzles to provide a low nozzle reaction while continuing to achieve a high level of gallons per minute was superior to the other nozzle brands. To make his point, Don shared this story, “On test day, one of the guys brought out his 13-year-old son and he was able to hold the Elkhart nozzle by himself. That really impressed us. When the guy (from one of the competitors) was out there, we had three men struggling to hold the line because of all the reaction. Being a smaller department, we don’t have the resources to have two or three guys on a nozzle. Sometimes, we have one guy on a nozzle. Getting the nozzle reaction down and a good amount of gallons per minute with low pressure was real important to me.”

Don summarized the department’s nozzle research project succinctly. “Ultimately, that and a few other things got us to choose Elkhart to replace all of our nozzles.” It was a decision, which Don believes has already made a big difference on the fire line.

“One of the last fires I was on, the fire was already blowing out the doors by the time we got the call so it was too far-gone to save. We came in and knocked down the fire… the Elkhart nozzle I thought did a really, really good job of putting out all of the fire, all the way into the house which I didn’t think we were going to be able to do.”

Don attributes the sense of confidence he has in Elkhart nozzles to the way they are designed. “The simplicity in design gives you some security that it’s going to work when you need it to. I think it’s a superior product.”