Archive for May, 2009

In the Gutter


John Occhipinti from Hempstead (NY) Fire sent in this picture of another interesting installation. This picture was actually taken in Manilla, Iowa by an architect friend of his. (Just for clarification, he did not design this.) Apparently each gutter on the second floor of this home was installed like this, possibly to eliminate the amount of down spouts. Now from our stand point, a light weight aluminum gutter is not difficult to remove, it would just be irritating. If we needed to get in or out in a hurry it might be one of those things that slows us down just enough to make a bad situation worse. And besides, it looks ridiculous.

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Double Door

Lieutenant Brian Dalrymple from Richmond (VA) Fire Department sent in these photos that he uses for forcible entry training. Take a look at the door, determine how you’d force it, and click here to see what’s on the other side.

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Nothing To It


Lt. Joe Pennino from Largo (FL) Fire Rescue sent in these pictures of something they discovered during the ever important pre-plan of their area. At first glance this door looks like it wouldn’t even slow a good outside team down one bit. Especially if they identify and visualize what is locking the door as they are working on it. As we all already know, you should always expect some sort of supplemental locking mechanisms on the rear doors of commercial occupancies. This time is no different, however, these pictures prove that sometimes it’s not so easy to determine what types of supplemental locks are present. There are no tell tale bolts visual from the outside indicating the presence of a drop bar installation. This particular bar bracket is welded to the inside of the door.

A little over a year ago we had a similar post on a drop bar with no bolts, you can find that post here. That particular door was a little different because of the absence of an exterior handle. Either way if we can keep the frustration level down when forcing the door it will quickly become obvious what the issue is and you can work around it…Identify and visualize.

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Goin’ Green


Lt. Chris Freeman from Passaic (NJ) Fire Department sent in these photos of something we will all probably start to see a bit more, roof mounted solar panels. As you can see in the photo above, the entire surface of the roof is covered with these panels. This could cause a few issues for us when operating in and around these structures. So since we knew nothing about solar power, we did some research. We are not experts in solar energy, but we found some information that is definitely worth sharing.

Click here for the supplemental page with more information.

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Nice Track


Engineer Nick Kokias from Eagle River (CO) Fire Dept, Engine 7 sent in these pictures of something he and the crew ran into while wrapping up at a small electrical fire. Fortunately they noticed this issue just before they opened the door. Take a look at the close-up picture below and you’ll notice that the doors have no horizontal track to roll into. If this door was opened before this issue was noticed the panels would likely fall straight down potentially hitting anyone operating below them. The panels are attached to each other at the hinges by a total of eight sheet metal screws that more than likely only penetrate the door 1/4”- 1/2”. The weight of the panels could certainly pull out the screws causing the panel would fall. This would have undoubtedly gone unnoticed on a working fire, and if the doors were utilized, they could have come apart.


In the picture above they at least have some small wire to “limit” the doors potential to open. They have it wrapped from the spring to the door. It may prevent the door from opening fully by a building occupant under normal circumstances, but it wouldn’t stop a determined firefighter.

Overhead roll-up doors are a great method for horizontal ventilation after a small nuisance fire. You can get a lot of smoke out in a short period of time and get back in service much sooner. So next time you operate an overhead roll-up take a quick look up to assess the tracks (if conditions allow.) You may never run across something like this, but you never know.

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Cut Prop 2


Here’s another great idea for a cut prop. This prop was sent in by Lieutenant Jeff Pacia from North Providence (RI) Engine 1. The prop is build out of 2×6 lumber and can be mounted to a building as shown. The prop measures 4ft x 4ft but could be made whatever size you need. Once the box is made, it is backed with a sheet of plywood for stability and two 5ft long 2×4’s are used to mount the prop to the building. The top and bottom 2×6’s have ½ holes drilled in them about every 8 inches to accept the rebar. The clamps are made from two 4ft long 2×6’s are ripped in half using a table saw. These ripped boards have holes drilled on either end to accept 8” carriage bolts with wing nuts with washers. Each clamp assembly rests on top of one of the horizontal 2×6’s. The rebar is fed in from the top and clamped in place. If just the bottom portion of the rebar is cut, the clamps can be loosened and rebar lowered and re-clamped. The same set-up (clamps and holes) could be repeated on the sides of the “window” if horizontal bars are desired. It’s all about getting the saw in peoples hands, and actually using it for real. Starting the saw and watching it idle on the ground is not training!

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It May Look Like Wood Frame

For many years the old trick of reading the windows to determine the type of building construction was a semi-reliable method. Typically windows in wood frame were found flush to the building, and windows in block construction were recessed and a sill was present. Well like so many other things in the fire service that has now changed. Engineer Steven Negedly from Orlando (FL) Engine 9 sent in these pictures of a multi family residential building under construction in his area.

Click Here for the details of what it looks like underneath.

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