Archive for January, 2011

From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat
Jimm Walsh, owner and webmaster here at will be presenting From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat on Thursday March 3rd in Gilford, New Hampshire. The class is being hosted by the Fire Instructors and Officers Association of New Hampshire. This extremely motivational and informative class will focus on much more than basic leadership principles. While there are some basics of leadership that are applicable for any rank, this class will cover some specific principles for each rank from the bottom to the top. Click here to download the class flier.


Another Aerial Light

Jerry Smith from Baltimore City sent in a picture of an upgrade the crew from BCFD Truck 15 made to the tip of their aerial ladder. It’s a similar concept as the recent post from DCFD Truck 13 featuring an LED upgrade to the aerial tip. The idea is to provide light, while maintaining a lower profile on the tip.

In this case, Truck 15 attached a halogen scene light to the last rung of the aerial with some U bolts. This particular installation allows the light to freely rotate with gravity to ensure the light is always pointing straight ahead. The light is simply plugged into the electrical outlet at the tip of the ladder and does require the generator to be in operation to provide illumination.
While this installation is slightly bulkier then the LED option, it obviously provides a substantial source of light, while still offering a reduced tip profile.


Supplemental Locks

Supplemental locks should be expected to be found on the rear door of almost every commercial occupancy. The truck crew or team assigned to the rear of a commercial occupancy should show up prepared with the proper TRAINING, tools and equipment to be able to defeat any supplemental locks they may encounter. While the proper set of irons is almost unstoppable in the hands of a well trained crew, sometimes the rear door still presents us with some additional challenges that may require some additional tools (like the heavy irons or rotary saw.)

We always advocate the Identify and Visualize mentality when forcing the door. First you must attempt to identify what (if any) supplemental locks exist, and when forcing the door you must visualize (by sight and in your mind) what your are trying to accomplish with your tools in order to defeat the door. An unprepared crew can easily be identified on the fireground as the ones just beating on the door with no rhyme or reason. The end result is almost always a heavily damaged, undefeated door with the worn out crew standing beside it wondering what went wrong.

Aaron Anderson and Jarred Hackler from Hastings (NE) sent in these photos of a homemade supplemental lock they recently found on the rear door of a commercial occupancy.

From the outside all that is noticeable is a small piece of metal in the middle of the door. This should alert us to the presence a supplemental lock, but more importantly, it should tell us that it’s probably a homemade lock. Just by looking at the outside, what is your plan to defeat it?

As you can see from the inside the lock is a simple but effective pivoting cross bar. The bar swivels into the two cuts made into the door jamb. Now that you’ve seen the inside, what is your plan to defeat it?

Now take closer look at the outside…

If you look close at the scratches on the door you can see that the small piece of metal outside the door actually rotates when the interior bar is pivoted. Simply rotating this piece counterclockwise from horizontal to vertical should disengage the interior bar from the door jamb and the supplemental lock is out of the equation. If not, a simple plunge cut with the rotary saw at a 45 degree angle to the middle of the outside metal plate will cut the bolt connecting the inside and outside pieces together, and also defeat the lock.

Sometimes we just need to take the extra second or two and figure out the lock before we start forcing it. Once we get engaged in the force, we tend to stop thinking about alternatives, and get tunnel vision. However, we are trained professionals and cannot allow this to happen!

So get out and learn your area and more importantly, train with the tools.. Slow down, Identify and Visualize, and you’ll be much more successful in forcible entry.