Archive for February, 2009

History Lesson

We received these images from some of the brothers over at Brotherhood Instructors Jamie Morelock from Toledo (OH) and Andrew Brassard from Milton, Ontario. We thought it would be neat to share a little bit of fire service history.

The articles quotes:

The most useful tool on the truck is the Halligan Tool- about 30” long- it is an “ugly bar” of forged steel- weighs only eight pounds, can be used in tight places and can do anything.

It’s nice to see that in all of the years the Halligan has been around very little has changed. There have been many attempts made to make it better, but none have really stuck. In the near future we’ll do a post comparing the Halligan Bar to some of the impostors; you may be surprised to see some of the differences. It was also interesting that the advertisements calls it the Amazing Halligian Bar, interestingly enough, we had a post here on the site a few years back with the same title.

It’s disappointing to see that Wikipedia even has some of the facts wrong. In particular, look at the pictures… That’s no Halligan! Maybe one of these days we’ll take the time to send them a write-up with the corrections.

Click here for the supplemental page with additional pictures of the Real Halligan, and even a few jet axe ones, since some new folks may not have even heard of that method of forcible entry.


Personal Escape Hook

Engineer Jason Simms from Gwinnett County (GA) sent in this tip. He bought a small crow bar at the local home improvement store and cut it off at about 5 inches. He then welded two links of a chain to create an attachment point for personal escape rope. Jason says it works great and is quite a bit cheaper than the commercially sold products. The whole set-up was less than ten bucks. There’s nothing like a little firehouse ingenuity to save a few dollars.


New Shirt

Check out the new shirt design. We listened to your input and it’s a black shirt this time! The front has a distressed version of the maltese/arrow portion of the logo with The Lost Art of the Fire Service written underneath it, center chest. The back has the distressed full logo centered just above the shoulder blade. We are now accepting pre-orders for the shirt. The shirts will ship to you by February 20th. Check out the store for the details.


Pulling Meters

Steve Urban from Ft. Worth (TX) Truck 14 sent in these photos of a residental meter base. Like with so many other things we have pointed out of the site, they just don’t make’em like they used to. In this particular situation this residential meter functions more like a commercial meter. If you look close you can see that the buss bar is still connected when the meter is pulled. The larger size of the base should be an indication that this style set-up is in use and should be suspected on large residential structures.

Obviously this is important is if anyone is “pulling the meter” as their method of securing utilities. Pulling the meter may not be your particular method, but it’s a method still used by many people. Just keep in mind that when faced with this set-up, removing the meter does not disrupt the power to the structure.


Orlando Fire Conference

Jimm Walsh, founder and webmaster here at will be presenting at this year’s Orlando Fire Conference on February 26th. The Orlando Fire Conference is an annual conference held in Orlando that offers both seminar style and hands on training presented by some of the best brothers in the business. This year Jimm will be presenting on: ”The Lost Art of the Truck Company.” The hands on training portion of the conference is already sold out but there is still availability for the seminar day. Check out the Orlando Fire Conference website for more details.

Here is a short write-up about the program:
The Lost Art of the Truck Company:  Truck company functions have quickly become the lost art of the fire service. Many common fire ground tasks are done simply because that’s what people were trained to do. Many firefighters do not truly understand “why” they are performing certain tasks on the fire ground. Learn some of the most important reasons why truck company functions need to be performed efficiently and effectively at every single fire.


Adding Fuel to the Fire

Captain Cameron Bucek from Palm Beach County (FL) sent in this video he found over on This video is proof that inadequate or inappropriate ventilation is like adding fuel to the fire.  PPV is probably one of the most misused and misunderstood tools on the fire ground. Like so many other things in this business there is a time and a place… Although we are still trying to find the right time and place for PPV… Unfortunately, many departments use PPV on every fire regardless of conditions. That is simply UNSAFE! This video just goes to show you that vertical ventilation is not the most dangerous type of ventilation, misused PPV is!




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Aerial Training

Lt. Joe Pennino from Largo (FL) Fire Rescue sent in some photos of an aerial training method that has been around for a while. It helps aerial operators with the depth perception and finesse of the controls.

Their method was simply to hang a traffic cone on some rope, and place some other cones at different spots around (and on top of the) building. We have seen a similar method that uses a tennis ball on string, and five gallon buckets. Either way, the idea is the same, simply to place whatever is hanging from the aerial in (or on) the target object. This drill is very helpful in teaching new aerial operators to fine tune their movements.