Archive for June, 2010

Ten Questions

VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh was recently featured in the 10 Questions Series. They have a pretty interesting column where they ask various people throughout our industry the same ten questions and post the responses. Click here to take a look and see what Jimm’s responses were.


Heat Shrink Tool Wrap

There are a number of different methods to wrap tools. Some work better, and hold up better to fireground conditions. Two of the most frequently wrapped tools are hooks and halligans. It is important to point out that there may be a drawback to wrapping the halligan. The wrap on the handle of the halligan interferes with the ability to strike the halligan on the squared shoulder of the fork in tight situations. One of the most frequent wrap methods involves using oxygen tubing (or rope) and athletic tape. Unfortunately, this tubing/tape combination Is one of the worst in regards to fireground durability. Chief Ted Bownas from Millbrook (NY) fire sent in this idea for wrapping a hook that involves some copper wire and heat shrink tubing. Once the heat shrink tubing is in place, it will hold up better to the beating we subject our tools to on the fireground. This particular wrap uses 12AWG wire and heavy duty 2-1/2″ heat-shrink tubing. The wire was wrapped around the hook and temporarily held in place with a few strips of electrical tape. This tape simply holds the wire wrap in place while the heat shrink is slid into position and heated. It is important to point out that heat shrink tubing of this diameter requires a higher-wattage heat gun to produce the heat required to shrink the tubing.


Interior Security Bars
We have shown interior security bars on the site before, but these are a bit different, they are actually being installed during the initial construction of the building. These bars were found and sent in by the crew of DCFD Engine Co. 27 (Firefighter J. Stapleton, Firefighter A. Pumilia, Technician D. Mungo and Lt. K. Kline.) Interior security bars pose an interesting hazard to our operations. It’s worth mentioning that the ones shown here may not actually be noticeable from the outside. They are set far enough inside the window that window blinds would obscure them. So it’s possible that the inside team may be the first to discover them. The issue with this particular instillation is that the window needs to be taken out before the bars can be attacked and removed. These bars don’t look to be too substantial, but they need to be discovered, and removed early in the operation.

*The picture below has a piece of plywood being held behind the bars to show contrast for the photo.


Rollup Pin Lock

Lieutenant Brian Dalrymple from Richmond (VA) sent in these pictures of a different roll-up gate lock then we have shown here in the past. This particular lock is a pin style lock that goes through an opening in the channel and “cams” into the locked position. As you can tell from the photos below once the lock is “cammed” into place it prevents the roll-up gate from opening. There are a number of methods that would defeat this locking mechanism. Certainly, attacking the gate channel in methods shown in this previous post would work. Upon closer inspection, it was determined that those methods won;t work on this particular lock. Another option may be to attack the exposed cam by inserting the rotary saw in between the gate and the channel at a 45 degree angle.

The photo above shows what the lock looks like removed from the gate. The face of the lock is about 2” in diameter and the overall length is about 4” long. When the is gate closed, the lock is inserted through the channel, the key is then turned ½ turn. Turning the key causes the last ¾” of the lock to “cam out” thereby locking itself in place.

The photo below shows the back of the lock. You can see once the cam is is the lock position, it holds the lock mechanism in place.


Buffalo MAYDAY Training

Lieutenant Ronald K Bourgeois from Buffalo (NY) Engine 1 sent in this video of a MAYDAY prop they are using in Buffalo. Unfortunately, the motivation for the prop and annual training came from the tragic loss of two of Buffalo’s Bravest on August 24, 2009. Lt. Chip McCarthy and FF Jonathon Croom both fell from the first floor into the basement while searching for a reported person trapped in the structure. (We recently received some additional information from BFD about this training. The training was in the works well before the tragic LODD. The planning and development of this training actually began in January of 2009, before the LODD incident, not as a reaction to the incident.)

The purpose of this prop and training evolution is to build confidence and promote self rescue techniques. The portion of the prop shown in the video is part of a confined space maze that ends with the blindfolded firefighter falling through the floor. The collapsible floor section is activated by an instructor pulling on a rope, removing the hinged floor section’s support. Once the floor section collapses, the firefighter falls into a pit filled with foam. The pads end up surrounding the firefighter making movement a bit more difficult, similar to having debris from the collapse. The prop also contains a window at the end of the foam pit so the firefighter can practice self rescue form a high window. The prop cost was roughly $450, and was constructed with 2×4’s and ½” plywood. The trap doors were hinged with three heavy duty hinges, with a lip underneath for support. A hinged 2×4 holds the doors up and a rope is the trip mechanism.

Unfortunately, we cannot take back any of the LODD that occur in our line of work, but we can learn from them and try to prevent them from occurring again. Training evolutions like this are an important component to learning from them.