Archive for December, 2008

Organization is Key


Lt. Ray McCormack from FDNY Ladder 28 sent in this method of organizing the set of elevator keys. Most rigs simply carry the elevator keys exactly how they came from the supplier on a large ring. This large ring may work for keeping the keys together for storage on the rig, but that is about it. Using the keys while they are on the ring is another story. Ray’s method uses a pouch made from an old removable bunker gear knee pad. The Morning Pride knee pads used here already had the ridges (compartments) sewn in them, so a simple cut with a razor knife was all that it took. As you can see a small strap with clip holds the roll together.

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Galvanized Security

The first photo was submitted by Lieutenant Randy Hunter and Captain Derek Church from Bluffton (SC) it actually from the same building we discussed in the post a few weeks ago: “View from the Inside.”   The owner simply placed a galvanized pipe through the door handle. It’s not going to make forcible entry impossible by any means; it just may take a little more work than originally expected.

The second photo was sent in by Derek Long from Oil City (PA.) Fortunately this one is a little easier to see from the outside. This building owner placed a walking stick through the panic hardware and used a chain and padlock to another door on the opposite wall.

These photos prove (like we have on many other posts) that business owners will do what ever they “think” will work to keep people out of their businesses after hours. This is very typical on the rear door of a commercial occupancy and most of the time you will not be able to see what the crafty business owner has done to secure the door. This is why we as skilled professionals need to be well trained and well prepared to perform forcible entry. The rear door of a commercial occupancy may present itself with some challenges, but as we have advocated in the past: Identify and Visualize.

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DCFD Hook & Ladder

Joe Brown from DCFD Truck Company 17 sent in this tip that works well for truck companies with side mounted ladders. It involves a webbing tension strap, a bull ring, a worm clamp, duct tape and some super glue (just kidding about the duct tape and super glue.) It’s actually a very slick method of mounting a hook to the ladder. It’s quick to install and uninstall on the ladder, and more importantly it’s very quick to deploy when the hook is needed. Joe and the Truck 17 crew have put a lot of thought into ensuring that this particular set-up improves their fireground efficiency, click here for the details of the set-up.

Joe had a great quote that applies to this and every other tip we share on the site:

The most important thing is that you don’t just borrow an idea; you have to train with it, practice, put it through the works and make sure its right for your area and company personnel.

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$2 Glove Dryer

Tim Dowd from DCFD Rescue 2 sent in this simple idea to keep your gloves dry. Each one of us has gotten our gloves wet, and come back next tour to a set of gloves that smell so bad you never want to use them again. This idea takes 2 Gatorade bottles and two minutes of time.

Simply cut the top and bottom off of the two bottles and cut every other section out on the sides. Slide these into your gloves and place in front of a heater or in you locker until next tour.

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Left Handed Saw

Engineer George Humphrey Gary (IN) Fire Dept Engine Company 7 sent in these photos of a left handed saw. Most saws have the ability to be changed to allow the saw blade to be mounted on the outboard side of the saw (right side of the drive belt). This modification may give the advantage needed to use the saw in tight spots or at ground level, particularly in certain building collapse (concrete cutting) operations. It may be something you want to try next time you’re doing saw maintenance, or showing the new guy how to change a belt. Be sure to pay attention to the rotation direction of the blade. Just be aware that the saw will handle slightly different after this modification.

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View from the Inside


Lieutenant Randy Hunter from Bluffton (SC) Twp Fire District sent in these photos of an interesting structure in their area. The photos were actually taken by Captain Derek Church also with Bluffton. From the outside the building originally appears to be multiple separate occupancies. However, a look on the inside tells a different story.

Think about how this building would react with fire inside (once occupied.) What if the building did have eight or more separate occupancies? An averaged sized fire in one occupancy would (eventually) give you smoke showing from one particular area of the building, it may lead you to believe: little (or average) size store + little smoke= little fire. Now consider the same amount of smoke showing from this structure- one large occupancy. Consider the amount of fire it would take for this thing to auto vent. A little smoke showing from such a large open area structure could be very misleading: large size store + little smoke= BIG fire.

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Indy Study

We came to find out that the VES size-up video we recently had on the site was actually captured by a team of researchers that was doing an intensive study on Firefighters. Dr. Jim Brown from Indiana University was leading a team of researchers looking into firefighter line of duty deaths. They have been continually (over an entire shift) monitoring the heart rates of Indianapolis Firefighters to better understand what our bodies go through. Indiana Channel 13 (WTHR) recently highlighted IFD and Dr. Brown’s study. Special thanks go to Ron Marks from Indianapolis Station 10 for giving us the heads up of this video.

[flv]http://www.vententersearch.com/videos/flv/indystudy.flv[/flv]

Obviously we should all remember that Cardiac Issues are historically the number one killer of firefighters. Undoubtedly, some of it is preventable. So with that in mind, we ask this of you today… Take the time this holiday season to pull “that guy” aside and help encourage him get in better shape. It’s what true brotherhood is all about, helping a brother out! Let us never stand over another casket and say how great someone was, while under our breath we tell each other how out of shape he was, or how this came at no surprise. We can train all day long, we can study fire behavior, building construction, and everything else, but we all know someone who wears our uniform that needs some encouragement to get in better shape. So…TALK TO THEM! Do it for us, do it for you, and most importantly do it for them!

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