Archive for April, 2012

Maybe it’s the Decking…

Here is a great video of a close call on the roof. Forest Park (OH) firefighters were performing a vertical vent on a residential fire, when the decking started to fail. The firefighter knew enough to spread out and was caught and SAVED by the trusses. Huh, imagine that, the decking is what failed, and the trusses are what saved him… Maybe those trusses aren’t so dangerous after all. Maybe the fire service should be mad at the cheap and thin OSB decking instead of the trusses… Kudos goes to Forest Park for getting the roof, and knowing what to do in case things go bad. Training made the difference!


Video from WKRC Local 12 Cincinnati


Induction Loop Trick

There are a number of different methods to gain access to a closed gate. There are a few commercial products that property owners may have installed to make sure the fire department can easily access the property without damaging the gate. These products include: siren activation, emergency light activation, and even radio activation. However, each of these have to be installed properly and maintained regularly in order to remain operational. We have to have other options available to us to open the gates quickly when the commercial options are not present, or out of service.

Fortunately for us, there is another option that works on a majority of gates. Have you ever noticed that most gates open to let you out of the gated area simply by driving up to it? Have you ever wondered how that works? It’s called an induction loop, it is an insulated electrically conducting loop that is installed in the pavement. It can been seen as the lines cut into the ground in the area of the gate. The automatic gate opener monitors the inductance in the wire, and when it senses a change of the inductance, it opens the gate. We have the ability to easily trick the gate into thinking there is a car present, resulting in the gate opening. Any large metal object that can be placed on the inside and outside the loop at the same time will activate the gate. Typically there will be two induction loops installed near the gate. the first (or furthest from the gate) is to let the gate know that a car needs the gate opened. The second (closer to the gate) is to let the gate know that the car has cleared the gate, and the gate can close.

As seen above, the ground pad from the Truck can be slid under the gate with a hook. Once the ground pad is slid into position, the gate will open. As mentioned earlier, it has to go over the induction loop that is the furthest away from the gate.

Just so we don’t make the guys on the engine feel left out, the photo below shows a 14 foot ladder being used to accomplish the same thing.

One tip to keep in mind, is that once the gate is activated the hook or ladder need to be removed from the path of the opening gate. Quickly removing the hook (once the pad is in place) or pushing the ladder all the way under the gate takes care of the issue.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to keep the gate open for the remainder of the units responding to the alarm? A slick idea is to keep a piece of metal in place over the induction loop. Since we probably don’t want to leave the ground pad behind, or the ladder where it will get run over, we can simply use another object. A small piece of aluminum (like an old parking sign) can be placed on the rig for this exact purpose. It is much lighter and easier to put in place than the outrigger pad, and no-one will get pissed when its lost or run over.


Four Cut Roll Up

Chris Johnson from Concord (NH) sent in this writeup on using the four cut method for opening roll up doors. There are a number of different methods that can be utilized to defeat roll up doors, and each have there pros and cons. This particular method creates a large opening while maintaining the ability to control the door. Click here to see the full write up on this technique. We made the write-up into a downloadable pdf so you can print it out for a kitchen table discussion, or for some OJT (On the John Training.)



It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Six 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!

Since VES started, there have been so many other sites that have come and gone, but we are still here! Thank you for the contined support, you all rock!