Archive for September, 2014

Hook and Irons Company


Here are a few photos from a recent prop building day for the VES crew. The props are simple interior door-off-the-hinges simulators for our upcoming can confidence class. As much as we could talk about the props, they are actually quite simple and we’ll more than likely do a full write up on them in the future.


What this post is really about are those awesome shirts we are wearing. Those happen to be the “Keys to the City” shirts from Hook and Irons Co . Hook and Irons is run by a couple of solid dudes who happen to be fellow Floridians. Their designs truly reflect the beauty and history of our job. They only utilize high quality materials, and they feature awesome designs that typically have an actual story behind them. Check out their site and click on the descriptions of each of their shirts to read the stories behind the designs. Be sure to check out the designs tilted The Last Great Fire and Aerial Patent to see some of the back story we are talking about. Besides the quality of materials, and the stories, the coolest part about their products is how subtle the designs are. A fellow fireman would certainly recognize the design, but it doesn’t scream “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M A FIREMAN.”

Be sure to check them out and let them know how awesome their designs are. Maybe we can talk them into a working up a VES design?


Gas Leak: Grab n’ Goes

Every community is different in regards to their natural gas line infrastructure. Some departments have a large number of gas leaks and as a result have become very capable of handling the leaks prior to the arrival of the gas company.


Here is a quick and easy way of organizing your gas leak equipment. Its makes sizing up and grabbing the appropriate sized equipment a breeze. As you know from previous post here on VES we are all about organizing and carrying your equipment in the most efficient manner possible. Reducing the number of times we have to run back to the rig for more equipment during incidents has become somewhat of an art.

These Grab n’ Goes are made up of small sections of poly gas pipe. The diameter of the pipe is written on the pipe for easy identification. This helps make sure that everyone is communicating the correct size pipe when calling for additional equipment. The pipe section simply has wooden wedges inserted into the end, and a band clamp around the circumference. Besides just making the wedges and band clamps easier to carry, the Grab n’ Go can also be used to “size-up” the pipe size as shown in the photo below.



The information included in this post is only applicable to departments that are adequately trained and operate aggressively on natural gas leaks. The information contained in this post is purely supplemental, and should not be applied without appropriate training for responding to natural gas emergencies.

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Can Confidence – H.O.T. Class

Can Confidence Class 4

VentEnterSearch’s own Eric Wheaton and Jimm Walsh will be teaching a H.O.T. class titled Can Confidence on October 11th, 2014 at the Florida State Fire College located in Ocala, (FL.) This class is designed to build confidence on one of the most often neglected tools found on nearly every fire apparatus, the 2 1/2 gallon water extinguisher. The “Can” can be an extremely effective lifesaving tool by allowing a well-trained fireman to quickly apply water between fire and victims.

Attendees will learn proper filling and pressurization steps, how to build homemade carrying straps and other useful “Can” modifications. The class will also cover valuable skills on carrying and searching with the “Can,” and confining fire with it as well. Students will cycle through a “force an interior door off its hinges” prop and use this door to hold back live fire and smoke. Finally, attendees will perform live fire attacks with nothing more than a “Can” and witness the effect of the “Can” on pre-flashover conditions.

Time: 9:00am or 1:00pm

Cost: $30

Click Here to Register




Slide Bolts

Lt Tim Shaw from Westerville (OH) E112 sent in this door they recently found during a fire inspection. As you can see from the photo below, no indication of supplemental locks is obvious from the outside. We can tell that it is a metal door in a metal frame, but what is not so obvious is that it’s actually a masonry wall covered with wood siding.


The photo below clearly shows the supplemental locks once the door is opened. This particular set-up is the weaker version of slide bolt lock installation. These slide bolts are only surface screwed to the door. The “proper” way to install these slide bolts would be to drill all the way through the door, and to use large washers on the outside. This would prevent the bolts that secure the lock from easily being pulled through the door during the force. You may also notice that the hinge side slide bolts are still in the out position. These slide bolts do not have to be retracted in order for the door to be opened. They are only there to prevent/delay the door from being defeated from the hinge side.



Like most forcible entry scenarios, a well trained crew with a set of irons can make quick work of this door. With no visible indications of supplemental locks, a traditional force near the standard lock would be the most appropriate first action. Once the resistance if felt/noticed from the supplemental locks, its time to go to plan B. Simply changing the location of the irons to closer to the slide bolts and forcing traditionally would work just fine. Essentially the door will have to be forced in three locations. middle, top, and bottom. Going in the order mentioned (middle, top, bottom) would be the best choice. Middle first because until you do that, you wouldn’t even know the slide bolts were installed. Top would be next, because you are more fresh, have more energy, and are less likely to be obscured by smoke if you started low. Bottom would be last simply because its the easiest. Since these slide bolts are only surface mounted, they should pull out just fine.

This type of supplemental lock is typically found on the rear door of a commercial occupancy. Forcing the rear door on a commercial occupancy should be a high priority on a working fireground. Forcing the door early and re-closing after the locks have been defeated is an essential task. Obviously re-closing the door is suggested as to not contribute to flow path issues and negatively impact fire spread. Predict that interior crews will eventually needed this door open to supplement fire suppression efforts, or unfortunately for emergency egress. Forcing this door early, before it is actually needed will save us precious time later in the operation.

We will have a follow up post with a video on defeating this type of slide bolt supplemental lock in the near future. In the video we’ll share a more detailed explanation and share some additional tips on defeating them.


Outboard Saw Conversion

The rotary saw equipped with a metal cutting blade is an extremely important tool for us to have in our forcible entry cache. There are a handful of modifications and conversions that we can apply to the saw to make it preform more efficient. The outboard saw conversion is one of the simplest and most effective modifications to make the saw a more versatile forcible entry tool. The outboard saw conversion involves moving the saw blade assembly to the right (or outboard) side of the saw body.


Have you ever tried cutting hinges on a outward opening metal door? Have you ever encountered a frameless glass door with a mortise lock that secures into the floor? The rotary saw is certainly a viable option for both of these situations. When utilizing a non-modified (stock) saw, it is difficult to line the saw blade perfectly perpendicular to a hinge or floor lock that is being defeated. As a result, the blade ends up cutting at an angle and tends to more likely bind up. The outboard saw conversion puts the blade flush with the saw’s body, allowing it to cut easy in tight places saving time and energy. Another situation where it may be beneficial to have an outboard saw is when cutting locks in recessed doorways.

If you have more then one metal cutting rotary saw on the rig, you should consider applying the outboard conversion to one of them. The conversion is still a viable option even if you only carry one metal cutting saw on your rig. The outboard saw gives us versatility while not compromising any other functions. The outboard saw still operates the same as a stock saw. There is however a noticeable change in how the saw “feels” to the operator since changing the location of the blade effects the gyroscopic effect on the saw. It is important to make sure everyone has operated the saw in a training setting before using it on an actual emergency run.

The photos below show the benefit when cutting a hinge with an outboard saw. The first photo shows an unmodified saw, and the second shows the outboard saw. You can clearly see how the outboard saw cuts the hinge at a better, more perpendicular angle.



The next photos show how the outboard saw cuts the floor lock. The first photo shows an unmodified saw, and the second shows the outboard saw. Again, you can clearly see how the outboard saw cuts the lock at a better, more perpendicular angle.



The outboard conversion can be accomplished with just a few quick and easy steps. All you need is the scrench that came with your saw, or a flat-head screwdriver and ratchet. Click here to download a complete step-by-step guide to perform the outboard saw conversion in PDF format.