Controlling Utilities

Throwback Thursday post: Original posting date June 12th, 2006.

Controlling utilities is an important outside truck function. Regardless if your department uses inside/outside truck teams or not,(or dare I say no truck company at all) outside functions need to happen at every fire. This first picture was from a call my truck company recently ran on. It was in another department’s first due so the arrival of the truck company was delayed. En-route we hear an engine company announce “utilities secure.” Once my truck got on scene we went to work: first job 360 the structure (which should always be done!) and verify utilities. During the 360, it was noticed that the utilities were still operational! It was pretty easy to notice, most of the lights were still on. Moral of the story: When multiple breakers/shunts/switches or what ever are present… Shut them all off!

Apparently this building owner wants his structure to burn down. Try getting these utilities when the dumpsters are full and heavy. -Jimm-

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Keys to the City-8hr. H.O.T.

We will be holding a 8hr. Forcible Entry class titled “Keys to the City” at Valencia College’s Fire Rescue Institute on March 13, 2018. To register call Valencia College at 407-582-6688.

As the forcible entry team, you have the pressure of the entire fire ground on you. The door must be opened to allow searches and hose advancement to happen. This class will give you the confidence as if you have the “keys to the city” when faced with any forcible entry challenge.
Students will start with the basics and progress towards real world forcible entry challenges. Participants will have a great understanding on the “whys” of forcible entry. This class is 100% conventional techniques and will focus on repetition to build a good forcible entry foundation. Our through-the-lock and passive entry rotation will be hands-on and detailed, insuring participants have a sound understanding of pulling and manipulating locks. Students will end the day with a live smoke forcible entry scenario, forcing several doors in tight quarters.
This class is for any firefighter or fire officer wanting to know the details in forcible entry and will give them the skill to tackle any challenge.
Skills covered:
Tool orientation
Door Construction and swing
Through-the-lock
Passive entry
Padlocks
Security window bars
Limited hallway space
Limited visibility
and MORE…
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Strap Storage

Maekin Healy from Santa Clara (CA) Fire Department sent in a way to store ratchet straps for easy deployment.

Here is a simple tweak to help avoid multiple twists in your Auto Extrication straps during deployment. During storage, attach the hooks to the trigger. Next, simply lay the strap out flat, fold and roll like a donut roll. Last, Secure with any type of cord or Velcro strap. To deploy, remove cord or Velcro strap and roll it out like a hose roll. No more twists!

Below is a comparison photo of a strap post deployment, which one would you prefer?

The picture below shows the least ideal way to store the straps. However, this is arguably the most common storage method.

The picture below shows the ideal way to store straps. This will prevent the strap from becoming twisted during deployment.

This is a simple adjustment you can make to provide a cleaner deployment of straps when they are needed on scene. We are also a fan of how clean it looks stored in this manner and will surely make for a more organized compartment on the rig.

 

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Forks and the Mortise

When learning forcible entry the discussion of where to place the forks of your Halligan will inevitably come up. Your options are above the lock, below the lock or between the locks if there’s more than one. All options have their place but there is one particular type of locking mechanism where placing the fork in between the locks won’t work. Mortise locks (as pictured below) have been around since the 1800’s.

These locks get their name from the mortise or pocket that is required to be cut into the door for installation. They’re commonly found in older buildings, commercial buildings, high end residential or any place that requires a durable lock that will hold up to thousands of operations.

Sizing up a door for a mortised lock is difficult and has made me lean towards always placing my forks either above or below the locks and never between. If you are a strong believer in placing your forks between the locks then you should know that mortise locks normally don’t have escutcheon plates that are offset from the door more than a ¼”. This is because the lock cylinders are threaded into the mortised guts of the lock and this requires the installer to be able to spin the lock into position. Bored Cylinder locks are held together with screws and can be offset from the door greater distances.

If you haven’t figured out why you can’t place your forks in between the locks from the pictures above then take a closer look at an example of a door forced by Orlando (FL) Fire Department’s Tower 11 B shift crew.

Photos by: JJ Cassetta

This door had to be forced to allow smoke to ventilate from the upper floor of a hospital. It was inward swinging and set into a metal frame with concrete walls. As you can see if the forks were placed between the locks they would end up running into the deadbolt. This would prove to be very frustrating in smoky conditions and is the reason you should stay away from placing your Halligan there. Another option is pulling the cylinder using k-tool or other lock pulling tool. The mortised lock is a durable lock but the cylinder is only held in with two small set screws.



Jeremy Rubottom is currently a Firefighter with the Orlando (FL) Fire Department, assigned to the Heavy Rescue 1. Jeremy has been in the fire service for a total of 15 years. Prior to joining OFD, he was a Firefighter for the St. Johns County (FL) Fire Department for 5 years. He is an instructor at Valencia Fire Rescue Institute, working with the Truck Company Operations and Special Operations programs. Jeremy is a Georgia Smoke Diver and has taught at the Orlando Fire Conference for several years. He is also a H.O.T. Instructor for VentEnterSearch, LLC.

 

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Double-Wide Addition

Joseph Dorsette, from Broward County Sheriff’s Office (FL), recently submitted his findings that were discovered during an alarm at a residence. While conducting a 360 he noticed the single-wide mobile home behind the actual alarm had been modified into a double-wide, with an extra addition.

The existing single-wide mobile home appeared modified, the car port was closed in with a lightweight wall which was constructed of half inch plywood, sprayed with knock-down and painted. Three windows were added as well as a satellite dish, this made it appear to be the original double-wide.

The second modification was an 8 x 8 metal shed possibly used as an additional bedroom or general floor space. A hole had to be created in the rear of modified car port and then the shed butted up against the home. Strips of aluminum, pieces of painted plywood, and some type of adhesive were added to make it fit against the home. Also, a hole was cut into the rear of the shed for a window shaker and a second satellite dish. It is unknown if the owner or occupants ran electric to the additions or possibly utilized extension cords for power. Also unknown is the layout of the inside, if the shed doors were left in place or removed and if an interior door was used and possibly subleased.

Another interesting observation, was the shed and the right side of the mobile home (looking at it from the pictured angle) were not connected internally but connected externally with a small piece of plywood and the aluminum panels from the ground

Joseph was not able to make contact with the occupant and all windows were boarded up from hurricane Irma. He stated that “As an officer this type of addition to an addition can hinder several aspects of our operations from interior attack to search and rescue.”

Other topic this post brings up are boarded up windows. This time of year it is common for hurricane prone areas to have a large increase in board up windows. Hurricane board ups, although typically not difficult to defeat, can present entry and egress issues if not prepared. If you work in a hurricane prone area, survey your first due during this time and build multiple plans of attack.

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Ft. Lauderdale Fire Expo

The VentEnterSearch crew will be spreading Can Confidence and Aggressive Search Techniques at the 9th Annual Ft. Lauderdale Fire Expo on October 4-7, 2017. We will be offering a full day program under live fire conditions in an acquired structure. We have been given two, one story buildings in the pictures below.

This class is designed to build confidence on one of the most often neglected tools found on nearly every fire apparatus, the 2 1/2 gallon water extinguisher. The “Can” can be an extremely effective lifesaving tool by allowing a well-trained fireman to quickly apply water between fire and victims. Attendees will learn proper filling and pressurization steps, how to build homemade carrying straps and other useful “Can” modifications. The class will also cover valuable skills on carrying and searching with the “Can” and confining fire with it as well. Students will cycle through a “force an interior door off its hinges” prop and use this door to hold back live fire and smoke. Finally, attendees will perform live fire attacks with nothing more than a “Can” and witness the effect of the “Can” on pre-flashover conditions.

The target audience for this class is firefighters and fire officers at any level with a desire to increase their confidence and learn how to properly utilize the water can.

Click Here for additional information or to register for the class.

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Inside/Out-H.O.T. Class-Jimm Walsh Fundraiser Event

VentEnterSearch in collaboration with Valencia College will be holding an 8hr. live fire H.O.T. class titled Inside/Out. This course will focus on the importance of riding assignments for the Truck Company. Students will learn how and why splitting up Truck Company assignments into the inside team and outside team make the Truck Company more effective. Like all classes offered at Valencia College in the VentEnterSearch series, skills will be covered under live fire conditions.

Objectives:
Search and Forcible Entry
Ladders and Ventilation
Covered in the Two Team Format
Skills covered under live fire conditions

Valencia College is donating 100% of the class earnings to Jimm Walsh and his family! On August 9th, Chief Walsh suffered a serious medical emergency while on duty. He was immediately treated and transported to Florida Hospital Orlando where he underwent emergency surgery. Please keep Chief Walsh in your prayers as he will have a long road to recovery.

Register Here

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Can Confidence Training Minutes

Portions of the VentEnterSearch Can Confidence class were recently featured on Season 19 of Fire Engineering’s Training Minutes. We have always been known for being huge advocates of the Water Can. When carried correctly, and utilized properly, the Can will put out a tremendous amount of fire. It’s an ideal tool for companies or crews who do not have the protection of a hose line. In these videos we demonstrate the Can’s abilities under live fire conditions by utilizing thermal imagining video. The break down and links to each episode are below.

Episode 1 covers the basics of the Water Can, and covers some of its capabilities and limitations. Click here for Episode 1.

Episode 2 covers several Can modifications to make the Can more user friendly and versatile. Click here for Episode 2.

Episode 3 covers multiple ways to search with the can. These are just a few methods we demonstrate in our Can Confidence class. Click here for Episode 3.

Episode 4 covers interior door removal, moving a door that has been removed and shows how much fire a residential hollow core door can hold back. Click here for Episode 4.

Episode 5 covers the concept of locate, confine and extinguish fire with nothing more than the Can. Click here for Episode 5.

Episode 6 covers the proper way to apply water from the can. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of the Can on a modern fuel load! Click here for Episode 6.

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Stretcher Saw Strap

Lieutenant Matthew Aman from Ridge Culver (NY) Fire District sent in this photo of a homemade saw strap they have on their truck company. They simply took a stretcher strap and girth hitched it to the saw. This places the buckle at mid-chest for quick release and adjustment purposes. They added a knot in the webbing to prevent it from possibly slipping through the buckle.

stretchersawstrap

It’s worth mentioning that one modification that could be made to this set-up would be to possibly attach the strap to the saw via carabineers. This would allow the strap to be quickly removed in those situations where the strap is not desired. There are a number of different methods you can use to place a strap on a saw. Some people like them, some do not. Either way, train with carrying, climbing, and using your saw and figure out what works best for you.

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TractorDrawnAerial.com

tractordrawnaerial

Our good friend Steve Crothers recently launched a new website called TractorDrawnAerial.com. This website is dedicated to celebrating the most iconic fire apparatus in the national fire service. This site is designed for anything and everything related to tractor drawn aerials including photos, videos, equipment, concepts, etc. This webpage was created to provide a place for people to come to learn, absorb, and discover the significance of the tractor drawn aerial.

Steve is a truck company officer with the Seattle Fire Department assigned to a tractor drawn aerial. When off shift, he conducts tiller training with fire departments around the U.S. He also co-founded the “Raleigh/Seattle Accident Prevention” video that can be found here.

Regardless if you have a tiller or not, take the time to check out the site and the Facebook page for some awesome content!

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