Archive for July, 2011

Knee Wall Bedroom

Nick Bailey sent in this photo taken by Will Price quite some time ago. Prince Georges County Squad 1 found this children’s bedroom hidden in a knee wall during a working fire in Montgomery County. This makeshift bedroom was concealed by curtains and a book shelf. The photo reminds us of the importance of good primary search, and an even more through secondary. Effective search techniques are not something that can be learned on a book, or even a website. Crews must train regularly on search techniques and always be ready for the un-expected. Would you and your crew have found this? Photos like this serve as a great conversation piece with the crew over a cup of coffee. Searching is one of the primary functions of the truck company, and need to be completed on every fire whether a truck company is present or not.

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Roll Down and Padlock Prop

Jerry Smith from Baltimore City Truck Company 15 sent in these photos of a new training prop being used by Truck 15. Jerry points out that they got the idea for this prop from the members of FDNY Tower Ladder 58. They prop is intended to allow members to review different styles of roll down gates, and the different locks that secure them. The prop not only allows members to discuss how to attack these locks and but also to get their hands on the locks to see how the locking mechanisms work.

The prop has two working sides. The front side is mainly for show and tell. The members can manually work the locks to see how they operate. This side is also used to allow members to manually force locks with the duckbill lock breaker. The front side contains a total of eight different styles of locks, all of which are commonly found throughout Truck 15’s area.

In addition to the locks, the prop also contains the two most common styles of roll down gates. The first style is the newer flat surface style roll down, and the second is the older style curved slat roll down. Toward the bottom of the prop, the slats are pre-cut the slats so members can slide the slats apart to see how the roll down is held together. Obviously a better understanding of how something is constructed provides useful knowledge on how it can be defeated. There is also a hole in the slats so members can practice the extremely effective method of pulling the slats out with the halligan.

The rear side of the prop is designed to be the cutting or working side of the prop. They attached excess roll-down gate material so members can practice cutting the slats with the saw. In addition, there are three lock cutting stations: the first is for hockey puck locks, and the other two are simple padlock hasp assemblies. Finally, the prop has metal cutting station that utilizes pipe to allow practice of both horizontal and vertical cutting. This simply addition to the prop allows members to practice and prefect operating the saw at different angles.
This prop is a simple yet effective way to provide valuable training to members. The prop is easy to build and at a relativity low cost. The beauty of this prop is that it can simply sit against the wall in the apparatus bay for those impromptu company level training sessions. Just being able to pull the prop out and review techniques with members provides an worth while training session, even during days when weather would limit other training options.

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