Archive for February, 2010

Free Building Construction Class

Tim Anderson from Philadelphia Engine 16 sent in these pictures of an interesting building conversion. This structure was originally a old style church and is being converted into a residential structure. As you can see from the pictures this building becomes a mess of different building construction types. These set-ups frequently create a number of different hazards including multiple void spaces in walls and ceilings. Whenever a building is undergoing a renovation like this you owe it to yourself and your crew to go check it out. This should be seen as an open invitation for a free class. It’s one of the best times to learn building construction, and works great for an impromptu building construction class for the entire crew. You never know what you will find. Click here to see the supplemental page with the details and more pictures.


Randolph Ladder Bail

We are not trying to be overly redundant here. We know this video is all over the internet already, but we wanted to get a copy of it up here for the archive purposes. We also wanted to thank the numerous people who emailed us the heads up on this video. Apparently, Allen Bell from Dover Fire captured this video on his HelmetCam of a Randolph (NJ) firefighter having to perform a headfirst ladder bailout. Fortunately, the firefighter who bailed only suffered minor injuries.
Head first ladder bailouts have always been a somewhat controversial topic in the fire service. It’s one of those things that you hope to never have to rely on, but nice to have in your bag of tricks if the time comes. It appears that this firefighter was attempting to perform the rotation or spin maneuver on the ladder in order to some down the ladder feet first. There are pros and cons to that. Hopefully someone can get us more details on the situation in the near future. Like everything else we have on the site, please use this video as a training opportunity for you and your crew.

…On a side note, there are a number of other things happening on the fireground that could also serve as learning opportunities also…

We hope the injured firefighter has a speedy recovery!


Don’t Forget the Pike

Captain Daniel Troxell from DCFD Truck Company 6 sent in a idea that one of his members brought up during some company training. The company was discussing alternate ways of defeating circular locks on roll down gates and Chris Rutter mentioned this idea. This method involves making two 45 degree cuts on the channel rail (above and below the lock and guard) to form a triangular section, with the narrow side towards the outside of the channel rail. After the cuts are made, this method uses the pike end of the halligan to bend the cut section away to defeat the locking mechanism.

Simply take the pike end of the halligan and stick it between the lock and guard. Then use the halligan to bend the cut section back towards the channel to remove the locking pin from the gate. This method only works when the gates have circular locks that have some movement within the confines of the guard (like the one shown in these pictures.) This movement allows for the pike to grab a bight on the lock and guard assembly. The other more traditional method is to use the fork end of the halligan to achieve similar results as shown below. However, it’s nice to have options, you never know what you may be faced with out there! If you only know one way of doing things, you may be out of luck.


Window Prop

Captain Dale Pekel from Wauwatosa Fire (WI) and Elm Grove Fire (WI) sent in this informative video of a simple but effective training prop he has developed. The prop is simple to build, easy to set-up and break down, and doesn’t cost more than $200. The prop has a number of different configurations that allow it to be changed up to make some of the drills more challenging. Take a look at the video to see the various different techniques that can be practiced on this prop. This prop would be useful for performing quick drills around the firehouse that can be incorporated into more full scale drills at a later date. It would also be handy to have set-up at the firehouse during inclement weather that makes training outside a challenge.


What It’s Not Telling You
Chris Hebert from DCFD Engine 13 sent in some interesting information about some buildings that many of us have seen before. The picture is of one of the familiar refreshment stands that are found at the National Mall in Washington DC. These approximately 300-400 square foot buildings are located throughout the National Mall in between the various monuments and museums. But have you really ever thought about them? What goes on there? How do the store and prepare all of the food and drinks? How does it all fit?
The answer lies below… Each building has a interior staircase that leads to a basement at least three times larger than the above ground portion of the structure. This “basement” area has a kitchen, large refrigerators, and storage for all of the product. The buildings were obviously build this way to minimize the visual impact (and footprint) on the Mall. Had anyone who has ever visited DC ever consider or notice this?

At first glance many people would not even consider anything about this type of building in their first-due area. But that’s the point! Take to time to notice everything in your area, look at all of the buildings, no matter their size. Big problems sometimes come in small packages. When observing what a building is telling you, more importantly, consider what it is NOT telling you! Remember, everyday is a training day, even while stuck in line, waiting for a drink while on vacation.


Basement Access

Timothy Papp from New Haven (CT) Fire Dept sent in these photos of something he found while replacing some decking at a friend’s house. The house has the bilco basement doors completely covered by the deck. Fortunately the deck had an access panel built into it, but this may not have been noticeable on the initial 360 of the structure. If this was the only basement entry point, this could certainly lead to a delay in access during operations. Of if crews were making a push from the inside, this secondary means of egress may even be known about. Another thing to consider is that these doors would only be able to be opened from the outside. When performing your 360, make sure your are not only looking at what the building is telling you, but you should also take notice of what the building is not telling you.