Archive for the 'Tips' Category
Tommy Ursetti from Sarasota County (FL) Station 5 sent in this photo of a different method of creating a tool wrap. This wrap simply uses cotton clothes line rope and some half hitches. The wrap is technically called a Chinese staircase, named from the spiral that is formed as the knot is tied. The wrap is started with a clove hitch at one end followed by multiple half hitches pulled tight after each knot. The wrap is finished with a another clove hitch and secured with super glue. One benefit of using this style of wrap is that it tends to be a bit more durable than wraps created with tape. Any small diameter rope works well for this wrap. One potential benefit to consider when using cotton rope is that it actually gets a little tighter when wet. Para-cord (550 cord) also works very well. It tends to create a flatter wrap if the inside stands of the cord are removed prior to wrapping the tool. Its a big pain to remove the strands, but some people prefer the flatter wrap. Tommy mentioned that he actually learned this wrap from Chris Kelly and Lt. Jerry Jensen.
Some people prefer modifying their tools with grips, others do not. There are obvious pros and cons. Whatever your preference is the key to success is to take care of your tools, and train with them regularly.11 comments
Michael Rush from Chattanooga (TN) Squad 3 sent in this simple but effective method of storing sawzall blades. They simply took some scrap cardboard and folded in in half to make sleeves to hold the blades, these sleeves are kept in the box with the saw. The cardboard sleeves are covered in duct tape to make them last, and finished with some custom sharpie work to identity the different blades carried. They have found that the cardboard-duct tape combo fits in the sawzall box easily, takes up less space, and is more pliable then using a sleeve made from old fire hose. The nice thing about this method of storage is that the blades can be easily identified when reaching into the box to grab a specific blade. Another benefit is that the entire sleeve of blades and be slipped in the coat pocket of who ever is utilizing the saw, making a mid-cut blade replacement a breeze.
Tim Anderson from Philadelphia Engine 16 sent in his method of storing a fixed blade knife. His setup uses one of the personal sized box lights with shoulder strap. His knife is mounted mid chest and is easy to get to with either hand. As you can see from the photo below, a few zip ties securely hold in knife in place.
Dan Daly from Chicago Fire Department sent in his method of carrying an easily accessible knife. His set-up utilizes a river (or dive) style of knife that is attached to his flashlight with zip ties. Dan rides this light/knife assembly on the chest of his turnout coat. This location ensures the knife is easy to get to at all times. This style knife comes with a hard plastic sheath that locks the knife in place, while still allowing it to be removed with ease. This style knife has one sharp blade, a dull edge, and a dull point that can be used as a small pry bar or even a shove knife. One nice thing about a fixed blade knife is that it is easy to operate with a gloved hand. We have shown a number of cutter ideas here on VentEenterSearch over the years but have not featured many knife set-ups. Knifes and cutters are both great tools to have, they each have a number of different uses an limitations and should both be considered in your personal tool selection.5 comments
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 Spinelli26 comments
Chris Johnson sent in these photos of how the guys from Concord, NH Tower Ladder 1 found a better use for the bag they were issued as an MCI triage kit… They cut the waist belt off of the pouch and added some quick clips, allowing it to fit onto the side of the Hydra Ram perfectly. They use this to carry the through-the-lock tools hands free and in an organized way anywhere they go. The bag is actually clipped onto the swivel-ends of the shoulder strap, not the Hydra Ram itself. This allows the whole bag to come off when the shoulder strap is dropped to use the tool (although you can still use the tool with the bag hanging from it.) They also added some rope zipper pulls so the bag can be opened with gloves on.
Through-the-Lock Bag Contents:
• Key Tools: standard one, home made one, and a 5/32” Fox one
• Shove Knife
• Vice Grips with Cable Handle
• (2) Door Chocks
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.16 comments
Clint Mass from the Red, White, and Blue Fire District (CO) Tower 4 sent in this great tool modification. The idea behind the modification is to allow the hook and halligan to be married together in a solid fashion.
The first part of the modification involves grinding a rounded notch in the 90 degree portion of the hook (pictured below, left.) This allows the pike end of the halligan to sit in the head of the hook in a more secure fashion. The second modification involves welding a chain link in the exact spot where the fork of the halligan lands on the hook (pictured below, right.) The combination of the notch and chain link allow for the tools to remain married, and easy to carry. This married hook and halligan combination is a great combination of tools for outside functions.
The chain link can also be used as an “attachment point” for a personal escape system. As you can see in the photo below, the chain link is actually more of a “keeper” for the carabineer; the actual handle of the hook is handling the load.
A quick each way to modify the tools to make things a bit easier.
Firefighter Plunkett, who has sent in a few submissions in the past, sent in this photo of a useful way to store utility rope. This simple, yet effective idea of using a bleach bottle to carry the rope is used heavily by FDNY. It involves 50 to 75ft of 3/8 or similar rope in an empty and thoroughly cleaned bleach bottle. A hole is cut into the bottle with a razor knife in order to insert a weight in the bottom to ensure proper deployment of the rope. A large washer and gorilla glue does the trick. The hole also facilitates the reloading of the rope. A snap link or carabineer finishes of the end of the rope to allow quick attachment of the end of the rope prior to deploying it. Carry the rope up, attach the end, and throw the bottle down. It’s a simple, cheap, and effective way to carry and deploy utility rope.21 comments
Aaron Drake from Greenville (NC) Fire sent in a picture of something they have added to the tip of the aerial to help with ladder placement. A simple set of prussik cords were placed on the aerial by Jacob Valevich. The cords have a large knot tied in the end to give the end of the cord some weight. A monkey’s fist knot would work well in this application, and provide for a more finished look. The idea is that when you see the cords hit the wall, you can verify that the ladder is extended over the roof. Then, lowering the ladder until the cords just hit the roof ensures the proper clearance, allowing for ladder bounce and still providing an easy step onto the roof. While this idea may not be needed for a full time aerial operator, it may be good for relief drivers or someone simply training on aerial placement.27 comments