Archive for April, 2011

Drop Option Dormer

Christopher Moe, AC from Bladensburg (MD) and FF with Montgomery County (MD) Engine 2 sent in these pictures taken in Elkridge (MD.) The picture shows a common townhouse occupancy with dormers. Dormers always prompt an interesting discussion. How do you know when they are real and lead to a occupied space, or how do you know when they are only decorative? One of the most common responses to that question in more than likely: “knowing your area.” Obviously knowing your area is your best chance of figuring out the dormer question (or any other building construction question), but it’s never an absolute. As you can see below, these dormers “almost” lead to a occupied space. they lead to a loft, but the loft is set back from the dormers. This was done to allow the dormers to allow light in the loft area, and additional light for the second floor below. This could lead to quite a surprise to someone performing VES. (This is way the floor should be sounded before dropping in)

Well here is the twist to this one. Christopher used to live a townhouse very similar to this one, and the dormers lead directly to the loft area, without the drop to the second floor. So in this particular case, relying only on “knowing your area” would have let you down. Knowing your area is an essential part of being prepared for the job… Learning the trends in your local building construction can provide you with a tremendous amount of valuable information on the fireground. Just as importantly, this example proves that we should never rely on one source of information. We should use our preincident knowledge to assist us in making better decisions on the fireground, without blinding us from what we see right in front of our eyes.


Married Hook Mod

Clint Mass from the Red, White, and Blue Fire District (CO) Tower 4 sent in this great tool modification. The idea behind the modification is to allow the hook and halligan to be married together in a solid fashion.

The first part of the modification involves grinding a rounded notch in the 90 degree portion of the hook (pictured below, left.) This allows the pike end of the halligan to sit in the head of the hook in a more secure fashion. The second modification involves welding a chain link in the exact spot where the fork of the halligan lands on the hook (pictured below, right.) The combination of the notch and chain link allow for the tools to remain married, and easy to carry. This married hook and halligan combination is a great combination of tools for outside functions.

The chain link can also be used as an “attachment point” for a personal escape system. As you can see in the photo below, the chain link is actually more of a “keeper” for the carabineer; the actual handle of the hook is handling the load.
A quick each way to modify the tools to make things a bit easier.


Hittn’ the Bottle

Firefighter Plunkett, who has sent in a few submissions in the past, sent in this photo of a useful way to store utility rope. This simple, yet effective idea of using a bleach bottle to carry the rope is used heavily by FDNY. It involves 50 to 75ft of 3/8 or similar rope in an empty and thoroughly cleaned bleach bottle. A hole is cut into the bottle with a razor knife in order to insert a weight in the bottom to ensure proper deployment of the rope. A large washer and gorilla glue does the trick. The hole also facilitates the reloading of the rope. A snap link or carabineer finishes of the end of the rope to allow quick attachment of the end of the rope prior to deploying it. Carry the rope up, attach the end, and throw the bottle down. It’s a simple, cheap, and effective way to carry and deploy utility rope.


Fifth Birthday!

It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Five 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 fire service is changing right before our eyes, we need to take it back! 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 know the posts have slowed down quite a bit, but we’ll be picking up the pace again shortly. We have some big things in the works for the future. In the mean time, take an opportunity to look back at some of the great information in the archives. We have over 340 posts contained in there all the way back to day one. Thank you for your continued support an understanding as we continue to expand the site. Stay safe, and train hard!