Archive for April, 2010

Solar Shield

Neil Duffy from Boca Raton (FL) sent in these pictures of some solar shields being installed on a new building in his area. The shields are designed to cut down on the sun’s radiant heat from being absorbed into the building at each window. Since the building is located in South Florida, the windows are also hurricane rated. The shields are made from heavy gauge steel and mesh screen. The picture shows a mocked up section of the building that contractors build early in the construction phase to show what the final product may look like. The finished building will be eight stories tall with the solar shields on the southern and western exposed windows.

Since the shields standoff of the building approximately three feet, it leaves just enough room to make assess or perform a rescue or vent from a ground ladder. The upper floors however may be more difficult. Since the aerial device may not be able to get close enough to the building, it may not allow for a steep enough angle to get underneath or around the obstruction. Defeating the shields with a rotary saw is certainly an option, but will be slow going, and must be done cautiously. Cutting the mesh to the left and right sides would probably be the best bet, leaving the heavy square tube bracket in place. Caution must be exercised with the shield falling away or even becoming a sail and falling away from the building in an unpredictable manner. Cutting one side and bending the shield away may also be an option, but would more than likely need to be performed from a tower ladder. Regardless of how you and your crew would handle dealing with this obstacle, the key to success is discussing it ahead of time, and training on whatever technique you would utilize.

The trend toward more “green” building construction is undoubtedly change our business. You may not see anything like this in your area yet, but keep an eye out for it, it’s only a matter of time.


Reflective Ladder

Jeff Silver from Raleigh (NC) Ladder 1 sent in this ladder modification. They simply took a few strips of DOT reflective tape and placed them on the beams of the ladders. In addition to these markings, they still mark the balance point. This simple modification allows the ladders to be more easily seen in low light conditions. The photo below shows what a difference this idea can make. The pictures were taken by local photographer Mike Legeros and were shown on his blog.


Quick Search
Imagine doing a quick search of this room. Either from the doorway, or even as a VES operation. Ask yourself a few questions… How long should it take? What would you expect to find? Did you take notice to the size of the furniture. …And most importantly would you have found this?


Chain Sleeve
Sometimes the simple things are the most effective. Augie Cardona from Lake Stevens (WA) Fire sent in this simple tip on storing spare saw chains. They simply cut a 8″ – 10″ section out of an old section of 1 3/4 hose. After removing the rubber liner, and duct taping the end, the hose sleeve becomes a great way to protect the spare chain.



It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Four years ago this website was created as a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that Truck Company functions are an art, and have become The Lost Art of The Fire Service. It is imperative that we protect this art for generations to come. The avenue to a safer fire service is by being proactive rather than reactive in both our training and our tactics. We need to bring back the aggressive yet safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through sharing the knowledge and educating each other.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. This website was started with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

We have some big things in the works for the future. Thank you for your continued support an understanding as we continue to expand the site. Stay safe, and train hard!