Archive for January, 2009

Shocking Realization

Paul Fenush from Baltimore County (MD) Engine Company 3 came across something quite interesting on a fire the other night; the pictures he sent in were taken by Michael Schwartzberg Fire Photographer with Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.

The fire was a well involved fire that was consuming an unattached garage. The garage was used by a landscaper to store his equipment. Along with the garage, there were several other out-buildings in close proximity.

While they were operating they noticed a garden hose laying on the ground in-between the buildings. After working for a while on the fire ground they noticed a few things interesting about the hose… It was tied up in one of the trees. The fire ended up burning through the garden hose and revealed the true situation. The garden hose was being used as an above ground conduit to run power from the detached garage to some of the other out-buildings. They had run power wire thorough the inside of the hose.

Fortunately no-one got shocked by this custom installation, but if this thing was wired a little differently, who knows. What if the power hose ran the power from the main building to the detached garage, you may find an electrical shut-off on the garage and secure power to the building you are operating in, but the power hose from the hose is still hot. Now if it’s just a little 110, it might not be a big deal, but what if it had some big juice on it?


Non-Rotating Saws

John Simpson from Osceola County (FL) Truck 72 sent in this tip to use while performing your daily equipment check. Saws have a natural tendency to bounce and rotate when idling on the ground. This is caused by the vibration of the motor. Most saws have a foot stand or plate in-between the blade and motor. In order to keep the saw in one place, simply find a crack in the asphalt or concrete and place the foot stand in the crack. This keeps the saw in one spot when idling during checkout.

As a side note, simply letting the saw run at idle is not a sufficient morning check out. This tip is intended to be used when you are letting the saws idle after they have actually been checked.



We wanted to apologize for taking the site down yesterday. We were hacked, so we felt it was best to take the site down to prevent any additional issues. Some bonehead computer geek hacked into VentEnterSearch and added some BS computer code at the bottom of the page. This code was causing some issues with some IT departments. We have fixed the issue and will be keeping a watchful eye to try to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

What does this mean to you? Well nothing really, we just wanted to let you know what happened in case you saw the site down yesterday and were wondering. As you know, we are firefighters just like you; we are not expert computer wiz’s. We are simply dedicated to providing good information to good firefighters; this whole website thing has been a tremendous learning curve over the last two and a half years. Thanks again for your continued support.

We wanted to show you how we fixed the issue…



Thru-the-Lock Prop

Ryan Royal from Colorado Springs (CO) Firehouse 8 sent in some ideas for a training prop that he and the crew at Firehouse 8 recently completed. This Thru-the-lock prop was made with a scavenged door and numerous locks from buildings awaiting demolition in their area.

Check out the training props page for details on its construction.


Milwaukee Grabs

We found this excellent ground ladder video over on It is of a recent apartment fire they had in Milwaukee. When first listening to this video, it almost sounded like it was an audio tape from Champ’s ground ladder class at FDIC. Anyone who has had the class, or been around the HOT training knows what we’re talking about; anyone who hasn’t should definitely make it a priority to attend. This video highlights how truly effective ground ladders can be. The video was shot by Milwaukee’s TMJ4 News.

There were a total of four grabs… A job well done goes out to the brothers in Milwaukee.


Wood You?

Firefighter Kevin Galt from Fort Lauderdale (FL) Ladder Co. 2 sent these photos of a find from his first due. Your first thought (since you know the pictures are from FL) may be that the building owner did this for hurricane protection. Well, hopefully that’s not the case here since they would work much better on the outside. This set-up is on a vacant building so more than likely for anti-vandalism purposes.

These simple boards, and the fact that they are mounted on the inside, could cause some issues on a working fire. So the first question is: Would you even notice the plywood at night? Is it possible to just look at the window, see it in tact, and never really look into it? The plywood would/could certainly delay the escape of smoke from one of the windows causing a delay in alarm, and taking away the ability to read the fire’s intensity and location upon arrival.

Another issue could be: When softening the building, removing any plywood coving openings would be expected, however, with this set-up it may not be as easy. In order to remove the plywood most (if not all) of the window may have to be ventilated, which of course could just make the building into a piece of Swiss cheese from a ventilation standpoint.

Since access inside the building was not possible when the photos were taken we are unsure exactly how the plywood is secured. It could be a Mickey Mouse installation that could be easily pushed in from the outside, or it could be much more secure. Either way, a simple sheet of plywood on the inside of the window could prove to be a bit of a pain in the ass.