Archive for May, 2011

Hot Lock

Mike Gurr from Pompano Beach (FL) sent in these pictures that were passed on from the off-going crew. The photos were taken by M. Callahan on a typical power line down call. On arrival, the crew encountered a downed power line onto a chain link fence. The crew decided to use the TIC to determine what was going on with the fence. as you can see from below, the fence was approximately 300 degrees, and clearly shows up on the TIC. Even more interesting, the power line was actually found to be touching the fence approximately 200 yards away from where the picture was taken.

The TIC can be used in much more than fire situations, and power line down calls are no exception. These situations can prove to be an excellent training opportunity for everyone on the crew. The interesting thing about this particular training opportunity is that an actual heat source is present. Many times, firehouse TIC training does not involve any heat sources and simply involves finding another member in a darkened room. This is in fact training, but it may be teaching the TIC operator bad habits. In the darkened firehouse room (without fireground heat sources) the person shows up as the heat signature in the room, exactly the opposite of what it would appear in real fireground situations. Everyone who has ever trained with a TIC should already know that, but unfortunately, that sometimes isn’t passed n during training.

TIC’s are an amazing tool, but its important to remember, just that… It is only a tool. It takes a skilled operator to use it effectively, and like most other tools, can actually be dangerous in the hands of an untrained operator. It is absolutely essential that we all know how to use a TIC, but it is even more essential that we never totally rely on a TIC.


Drilled Mullion

Jerry Smith from Baltimore City Truck 15 sent in these photos of homemade supplemental lock. While the crew of Truck 15 was out doing some area familiarization they ran across this double door set-up at a local school. From the outside, the presence of a supplemental lock is obvious due to the tell-tale carriage bolts. But not so fast, take notice that there are only one set of carriage bolts per door, this should make you suspect something beyond a typical drop bar set-up. A quick peek in the window should also allow you to rule out a drop bar. However, the steel mesh on the windows and the set back of the lock from the windows, the likelihood of being able to inspect the lock from the outside in minimal. After asking some questions, and taking a peek inside, they determined the lock was home-brewed by the school’s building maintenance shop. As you can see in the pictures below there are two metal angles that insert into slots that are bolted on the door. The angles are secured in place by a pin that goes through a hole drilled in the mullion between the doors, and finally secured with a padlock. Forcing the door via traditional methods is certainly achievable, but may prove to be troublesome. A sideways V cut around the carriage bolts would certainly make quick work of the lock. This would allow the lock to remain in place, and the door to open freely.


Many Bars, One Pin

A friend from North Carolina sent in these photos of an interesting find. At first glance, someone with tunnel vision would focus on the bars, and start cutting. But this one is so much easier than that. Look at the track on top, and the guides down below. Hopefully you already keyed in on those. Take a closer look. The lower right hand corner shows the simple solution to this one.

A single pin and padlock is all that hold this in the closed and locked position. A simple cut with the bolt cutters, or a single cut with the rotary saw and you’re in business. Actually, if none of those tools are handy, placing the fork of the halligan between the building and the bar assembly and prying to the left would separate the hasp assembly from the bars. One the lock is defeated, the entire assembly slides out of the way. As always slow down and identify what is actually securing whatever is standing in your way. We need to always work smarter not harder on the fireground.