Strap That Can

In the hands of a well trained firefighter. The watercan can keep a tremendous amount of fire in check. But before the true effectiveness of the watercan can be achieved it has to be carried religiously. One of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure the watercan will be where it’s needed-when it needed is to modify it with a carrying strap.

Commercially made straps are the best option to make the can easier to carry. They typically come with an adjustable and removable shoulder strap. They also provide carrying handles along the side of the can for sliding the can while crawling.

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A simple piece of webbing can also be used. The main problem with webbing is that it is non-adjustable and not easily removed or unclipped in an entanglement situation.

It’s always fun to raid the EMS supply room and piss-off the medics by taking a backboard strap and adapting it as a carry strap. This makes a cheap adjustable and removable strap. Seat belts can also be removed during the next junk yard extrication day and used in a similar fashion.

Our friend, Kyle A. Kosianowski from Sun Coast FOOLS sent us a picture of their can strap. They used an old set of bunker gear suspenders to make an adjustable carry strap.

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One other difference worth mentioning from the homemade straps shown above is their attachment points. The webbing strap and backboard strap are secured to the can via a screw link and stainless steel hose clamp. The bunker gear strap is held on differently with split rings. Take a look at the bottom attachment point; certain styles of water cans have a visible collar exposed at the bottom. Two small holes can be drilled through the collar and a split ring or paracord can be fed trough to crate the attachment point. Obviously be cautious of where you drill into the can, we are not responsible for you missing the mark and creating a leaky can.

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The commercially made strap is far superior to the homemade versions in many ways. Adjustability and multiple carry options are most notable. Even if the department wont provide the commercial straps, pitch in and buy it for yourselves, they are only about $30-$40.

Besides simply making it easier to carry, the most important aspect to using the water can is to train with it. Finding the most comfortable way to carry it while walking, and while crawling are certainly and individual preference. However, with some practice, it is even easy to perform a crawling search while having the can available to protect the search team if the need arises.

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Can Confidence- H.O.T. Class

VentEnterSearch will be spreading Can Confidence to the gulf coast of Florida for the Sun Coast FOOLS. Jimm and Eric will be teaching the Can confidence portion of a H.O.T. class in Englewood, (FL) on May 28th – 29th. This will be a two day class with the same delivery both days to accommodate shift schedules, space is limited so sign up fast.

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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.
Register: www.SunCoastFOOLS.eventbrite.com
Cost: $60

 

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Expose the Gap

In this video we demonstrate one way of gaining entry into an outward swinging double door. Before we get into the post we want to get something out of the way… Yes, we recognize this is a glass door and our plan “A” should simply be to take out the 6×8 inch glass, reach in and unlock the door. What if during your plan “A” efforts you reach in and realize the lock is keyed on the inside as well? This additional security measure is typical when glass is located near the lock. For the purpose of this post, we are simulating that plan “A” is not an option and we are going to force entry using conventional techniques.

One firefighter forces are not as difficult as they may seem. With a little practice, one man forcible entry is a very efficient use of man power on the fireground. With a quick size-up of the door in the video we notice it is an outward swinging double door with a slam latch married with a dead-bolt. With this particular occupancy being a hotel, we can strongly suspect some type of chain or bar latch towards eye level of the door (which can be easily defeated). Again, your plan “A” could be to take a glass panel, reach in and unlock the door, but we are moving on to plan “B”.

When dealing with outward swinging double doors we typically wouldn’t have any type of door stop, making it even easier for a one firefighter force. However, what we will typically find is some type of steel or aluminum strip placed over the space between the primary and secondary doors. If this piece (as shown in the video) can be removed, attack its connection points and force it off. If it’s part of the primary door then attempt to pry it away to expose the gap.

After we expose the gap, we can enlarge the gap with the use of an aluminum wedge or an axe. This makes setting the Halligan a lot easier for one firefighter to perform the force. Because this is an outward swinging double door we can simply drive the adze straight in without having to “steer” the Halligan around a door stop. Once the Halligan is set, it’s time to make the force, BE DYNAMIC! You are by yourself, remember force is multiplied the harder and faster you pry the Halligan! Like always get out and see what’s in your first due and train on real doors when you have the opportunity.

In this video we are using the ForceWedge from Daniel Troxell of TroxFire. The “ForceWedge” is a 5.5 inch by 1.5 inch high strength aluminum wedge that allows a firefighter to easily capture or wedge any gapping progress made during a forcible entry operation. Daniel is a solid brother that makes many other tools and forcible entry related props at a very affordable price. Check out his ForceWedge at www.TroxFire.com

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Blocked Door

 

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Seeing these signs on the rear of a commercial occupancy can tell you a few important things. The most obvious is that the door may actually be blocked. But how blocked is it? Is there an actual wall on the other side of the door? Is it fully blocked by high rack storage? Or is it just partially blocked by something less significant like a partial or rolling rack storage?

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What else can this sign tell us? It more than likely indicates that one large business occupies multiple tenant build out spaces. When the building was designed they simply built a shell, with no particular tenant in mind. This is becoming a more popular construction method because it keeps the developers options open in regards to potential tenants.

As you can see from the Alpha side this is one large occupancy that occupies multiple tenant build out spaces.

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On the Charlie side, you can see that three of the doors are blocked, leaving only one potentially clear. We say potentially because these rear storage areas are often overloaded and doors quickly become blocked with merchandise. This is particularly a problem during the holidays when stores are overstocking to keep up with demand.

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When operating at the rear of a commercial occupancy it would be important to transmit this finding over the radio. It may help command appreciate the size of the occupancy if it not already obvious, and it may help interior crews understand that they may not have easily accessible secondary means of egress. From a RIT perspective, the RIT team should certainly make their way to the Charlie side to evaluate these doors themselves. Their presence may make the RIT team re-evaluate their potential rescue plan in case things go bad. Depending on time, and conditions, it may be worth forcing the door anyway to truly evaluate how blocked it is, and how it may be used to support operations.

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Storefront Simulator

In our last post we demonstrated how to maximize the training potential in an acquired structure with a metal door. Click here To see that post. Keeping with the acquired structure topic, in this video we’ll cover how to convert a glass storefront into a realistic and reusable training prop. This glass storefront prop is a great way to rotate a large amount of crews through a scenario involving cutting the throw of an Adams-Rite style lock. The scenario involves creating a gap with a Halligan and a rotary saw to force entry into the building. You can also demonstrate and practice creating a gap with other methods using a simple wedge or axe. This prop is quick and easy to reset and utilizes cheap and readily available consumables.

One of the most important benefits of this drill is that is gives crews the opportunity to build their confidence and understand the pros and cons of this style of forcible entry. It also provides you the opportunity to have the discussion on the importance of maintaining control of the flow path by keeping the glass storefront intact.

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Maximize the Opportunity

Check out our recent video that demonstrates how to maximize the training potential in an acquired structure. In the video we cover how to use a single metal door to perform a number of different forcible entry tasks including:

  • Thru the lock
  • Traditional force
  • Gapping the door
  • Drop bar bolts
  • Cutting hinges
  • Doggy door cut

The main idea is to have a plan ahead of time and attack the door in a methodical fashion. Obviously you would not need to do each of these tasks to a single door on the fireground, but on the training ground, is the best way to maximize the training opportunity. It’s a much better way for multiple people to gain a number of different skills off of a single door.

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Aggressive Truck Functions for a Safer Fireground

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Head on over to fdic.com to check out Jimm’s recently published article titled Aggressive Truck Functions for a Safer Fireground. Click here for a direct link to the article. It introduces the idea of how the timely execution of Aggressive Truck Functions can actually make the fireground safer.

Jimm once again has the honor of presenting a class under the same title at FDIC this year on Wednesday April 22, 2015 at 10:30am in the Wabash 1 room. There is also a video on fdic.com also of Jimm talking about the class click here for a link to the video.

We look forward to seeing you in Indy, you know where we’ll be on Wednesday!

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Portable Door Lock

Ken Deichler from Poughkeepsie (NY) sent in these photos that he came across on a non-fire related website. They are of what is called a “portable door lock” these locks are typically used to provide additional security in a hotel or hostel type setting. After doing some research on these locks we learned there are many different renditions of similar style locks available on the Internet, some are certainly more secure than others.

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The idea behind these locks is that they are temporary, adjust to fit most doors, and do not require any tools making them easy to install. They are obviously not intended to replace permanent locks, but are marketed to provide a basic additional barrier and deterrent against intruders. They also allow for the door to be secure even if someone has the key. Basically it keeps housekeeping from barging in you.

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As you can see above, the portable lock bracket is simply inserted into the strike plate and the door is closed, then the tensioner is slid into place securing the door.

These locks shouldn’t pose any problems to a truck crew with a well-placed and properly operated set of irons, but it will certainly foil most engine companies out there (just kidding engine guys.) Another thing worth mentioning…since these locks need to be placed and secured from the inside their presence almost always indicates occupancy of the room or area being secured.

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Orlando Fire Conference 2015

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VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh and Eric Wheaton will both be presenting at the 2015 Orlando Fire Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference runs from February 26th-February 28th, 2015 and offers both a leadership symposium as well as a hands on training (HOT) program.

Both Jimm Walsh and Eric Wheaton will be teaching a segment of the Fire Fundamentals HOT class titled Can Confidence. 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.

For more information about the Orlando Fire Conference 2015 please go to www.OrlandoFireConference.com

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Can You Force Me Now?

Captain Scott Allison, of Tower 1 in Harrisonburg (VA) sent in these pictures of something they recently encountered on an odor investigation call at a cell phone store. Take a look at the pictures and we’ll talk about it below.

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You might not expect to find this level of security on a fully interior room. As we mentioned in the intro this was found in a cell phone store. These stores have been subject to a significant amount of after-hours break in’s due to the high value and small size of the product. As a result, the stores are going to extreme measures to secure the product.

Obviously roll down doors are not frequently found in a small mercantile occupancies like this. In addition to the roll down, the spilt barn door offers two fox style-locking mechanisms. From the outside the presence of the centered key-way and straps should alert you to the fox style locks.

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Obviously the likelihood of this door being fully secure with someone inside is not high, but it’s not impossible either. If encountered in a working fire after hours, this room would certainly need to be accessed and investigated. While to door itself is quite secure, odds are the wall around the door would typically be the weakest link. However if you look closely, in this case, it looks like the walls inside the room are lined with painted plywood. Making the wall breach option a little slower than usual.

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Something else to consider making the job a bit easier would be to pull the fire alarm if it is not already sounding. In this case you can see that the fox style locks are activated electronically via a proximity card reader. Typically supplemental electric locks like this are opened when the fire alarm is sounding. It’s not a foolproof method by any means, but it if it works all you’re faced with after the rollup is defeated is the traditional deadbolt and slam latch.

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Like in many cases, a well thought out traditional force would most likely would be the quickest option. Identifying and visualizing what locking mechanisms are present and attacking the door in a calculated fashion would certainly get you in. The lower door has the fewest locking mechanisms (one slam latch and two bars) so it should be the primary objective.

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