Archive for October, 2011

Webbing Lanyard

Lieutenant Mike Brown from Baltimore City (MD) Truck 15 sent in this photo of his cable cutters. The lanyard is made of tubular webbing that is zip tied onto both handles. The webbing has enough slack to allow for the cutters to fully open. This amount of slack allows the lanyard to hang just outside of the pocket when the cutters are closed and stored.

We have shown various types of cutters and various types of lanyards in the past. The nice thing about this particular lanyard set-up is that pulling on the webbing handle actually closes the cutters. The problem with some other lanyard set-ups is that if the tool is placed head down in the pocket, the handle tends to get caught up in the pocket.

The simple addition of a pair of cutters to your pocket can really help you in a number of situations, most importantly, in an entanglement. There are pros and cons to the different types of cutters that we have shown in the past. Regardless of the style of cutters you prefer, every firefighter should have a least one pair in their pocket, and train on using them in a zero visibility environment.

There have been a few comments about the concern of the webbing handle getting snagged, so we added the photo below to show how Lt. Brown stores the webbing. Just enough to make it simple to grab, not enough to create a significant snag hazard.


Training for Failure Webinar

We are excited to announce that we will be co-hosting a Webinar on November 8th titled emstrongTraining for Failure/strong/em featuring Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD. Chief Gasaway is one of the nation’s go-to experts on first responder decision making and situational awareness. During the webinar, VentEnterSearchs own Jimm Walsh will be asking Chief Gasaway questions about how Situational Awareness impacts the way we train, how it effects us on the fireground, and how it effects Truck Company Functions in particular. In addition, we will discuss why if training is not being performed correctly, we may actually be Training for Failure. Click here to find our more details about how to register for the webinar.

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Slinging the Saws

We recently had the pleasure of spending the day with the Clearwater (FL) Truck 45. The crew of Truck 45 was an extremely dialed-in and well trained crew in regards to truck company functions. One of the many points of discussion throughout the day was the age old debate of Bucket vs. Straight Stick. Clearwater Truck 45 is a Tractor Drawn 100ft Aerial, so the crew was quite familiar with ways to maximize effectiveness without the need for a bucket.

One of the simple yet effective methods they shared was how they rig their aerial when making the roof. Whenever the aerial is being utilized for roof operations, the tip is loaded with some essentials prior to beginning operations.  The crew loads a total of three saws, at least two hooks, and a roof rescue bag. Their saw complement is extremely well thought out… 2 saws for whatever roof is expected (wood vs. metal) and an additional saw for the opposite roof material just in case. This complement of saws has served them well, and has allowed them to continue effective operations when a different roofing material is encountered. This can actually happen quite regularly with build-outs and additions. In addition, a roof ladder is secured to the fly section of the aerial whenever a parapet is known, or expected. This simple addition of the most commonly utilized tools for roof operations prior to operating the aerial allows members to climb the aerial with both hands, or even better, to provide free hands for whatever other equipment is needed. For example, at least one member always carries a set of irons to roof.

(as mentioned earlier they actually attach three saws, only two are shown above)

Their method of attaching the saws is simple, a section of webbing is girth hitched onto the aerial, looped though the saw handle, and secured back onto itself with a carabineer. This method allows the saw to be removed easily by simply unclipping the carabineer, without having to deal with removing the girth hitch.

The beauty of this operation comes in the actual placement of the aerial to the roof. The aerial is flown higher than the roof, and over (beyond) the edge. The aerial is then lowered until the equipment lands safely on the roof, or goes behind the parapet. The final step of the operation involves retracting the aerial slightly so it is level with, and just away from the roof. This final placement allows for the tools to be readily available to the crew once they make the roof, and allows for an easy safe transition off of the aerial. They realize this placement may slightly limit the aerial’s “visibility” from across the roof, but have found it provides a much safer and quicker way to transition from the aerial to the roof. The aerial tip lighting, and the equipment staying attached (like the roof rescue bag, and “off saw”) provide for easy spotting of the aerial form across the roof.  Also visible in the picture is a bean bag on a piece of webbing. This remains attached at all times, and is used for verifying aerial placement to the building or window when the other equipment is not attached.

The key to success with this operation (as with any other) is with training. The speed and precision that was demonstrated by the Truck 45 crew proved that they train on this operation regularly. A special thanks goes out to Division Chief Riley, Lieutenant Capo, and the three Jim’s for spending the time with us and talking fire.

Photos by Jeff Spinelli