FDIC 2014

Just a reminder that VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh will be presenting his class titled Aggressive Truck Functions for a Safer Fireground at FDIC on Wednesday April 9 3:30-5:15pm Room 236-237 we hope to see you there.


Here is a short description of the class:

Many people associate the term aggressive with unsafe, particularly when it comes to truck company functions. The fireground can actually be made safer through the timely execution of truck company functions. This presentation will stress the importance of aggressive truck functions on the fireground and their positive impact on fireground safety. Due to the limited staffing that most departments are currently facing, we must improve our efficiency on the fire ground. Many departments are cutting staffing or eliminating truck companies all together. Aggressive truck functions will allow everyone on the fireground to work in a safer and more efficient manner. This presentation will expand, and give valuable insight on the understanding of aggressive yet safe truck company skills, and the value of training. Class participants will gain valuable tips on how to increase the efficiently and effectiveness of their truck company functions. In addition, participants will better understand the necessity of truck company functions on every fire. Most importantly, participants will better understand how aggressive truck company functions can be utilized to create a safer fireground.


Click the above banner to learn more about the upcoming class



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Look and Listen

Coordination of all activities is essential to our success on the fire ground. Check out this video from a recent fire in the Bronx. We are not sure of every unit that was operating; however, we know at least TL-44 was there. Kudos should go out to all crews operating on this job. It truly shows how well trained, highly disciplined crews operate on the fireground.

If you look close you can see the OVM listening attentively to his lapel mic so he makes sure he hears when the Engine has water on the fire. As soon as he hears that traffic, he drops the mic and gets ready to work. He then visually monitors for signs of extinguishment and vents at the appropriate time. While he is focused on his job, a firefighter exits from the bucket of TL-44 to the floor above and begins VES. There was no excitement on the radio, there was no unnecessary radio traffic, it was just some well trained professionals operating how they should.

Besides the potential difference in building construction, could this video have been of your crew? If not, why? Don’t train until the members of your crew get it right, train until they cannot get it wrong!


Induction Loop Video

A few years ago we published a post titled Induction Loop Trick. In the post we wrote about how and why induction loops worked. We thought it would be appropriate to post a video demonstrating the trick in action. We even introduce a few options not mentioned in the original post. Depending on how the gate in installed, this trick may not work in every instance, however it’s good to keep in mind when trying to gain access to a gated building. It’s tricks like this that set the Truck Company apart from the rest!





It’s Really Called a Scrench

Bo Schiemer from Tacoma (WA) Truck 1 sent in these photos of a homemade tool he carries in his pocket. The main part of the tool is a simple scrench (chainsaw wrench) he has carried since his time as a probationary fireman. By itself the scrench had served him well, however, he recently decided he could make some slight modifications to make the tool even more useful. He noticed the similarities between it and the specialized tool for their lift bags.

The lift bag tool is utilized with this particular brand to attach multiple bags together to achieve a higher lift.

To compliment the scrench, and expand on its capabilities he welded 2 sockets together that he had cut in half. He found that a 15/16 socket fits the chainsaw wrench perfectly and simply sized up another socket to fit the diameter of the lift bag plug. He then drilled the socket with a 1/8″ drill bit, and drove in two roll pins.

He has found that adding this small component to his pocket definitely helps on heavy extrications and other lift bag related calls. He also carries an extra bar nut for the brand saw they carry on the Tiller. You never know when you may end up needing these simple lightweight additions to your pocket. And as much as we dont want to admit it, it’s really called a Scrench.


Locate and Confine

After the Governor’s Island project conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Underwriters Laboratories(UL), and FDNY, the internet seems to be flooded with great information on flow paths and the importance of confining fire. Most importantly, confining fire is “buying” possible victims’ time from heat and toxic smoke, as well as reducing rapid fire spread. It is extremely important for the interior search teams to find the fire quickly and if possible, confine it. Even if no door is present, i.e. kitchens, find any interior door that can be forced off its hinges and place in the open doorway.

Closing the door while performing vent enter search (VES) operations is a key task. This confines the room being searched from fire and smoke, increasing the survivability of that room. That same tactic needs to be implemented for the fire room, locate and confine so we slow the spread of fire and smoke.

As you can see in the photos, even hollow core wooden doors will hold back fire.



These photos were taken after a recent fire in a single family residence. This door separated the fire room and kitchen, which then led to the remainder of the house. The door was closed before fire was able to spread into the kitchen, saving the home from further fire and smoke damage. The door also provided interior search crews with lighter smoke conditions while searching the uninvolved portion of the home.

Locating and confining fire will save lives and property!


Can Mount

The Water Can is one of the most useful, yet underutilized pieces of equipment on the fireground. A Water Can can put out a fair amount of fire in the hands of a well trained fireman. But before it can be effective, it actually needs to be removed from the rig.

How is the Can stored on your rig? Is is easily accessible, or is it stored behind other equipment. If is not easy to grab, is that one of the reasons it is not used more? Below is easy method to give you the ability to quickly grab the Can off the rig. Another benefit of this mounting solution is it frees up some room in a compartment, allowing for other equipment to be stored in its place.


The mount is simply a piece of 8 inch diameter PVC pipe bolted on the running board of the rig. The pipe was obtained from the local water utility company for free. They even placed a chamfer on the edge to give it a more finished look. (They use the chamfer when placing the pipe into a coupling.) A quick coat of paint and you’re good to go.


Carriage bolts are the hardware of choice since they have a low profile head. They are a little tricky to secure, but work best for this application.


One drawback to this style of mount is it doesn’t lend itself to being utilized with a Can strap. Most of the commercial Can straps would take up too much room in the pipe, and prevent the Can from fitting. The Can in the picture below has a simple strap that has both ends snapped on the the Can’s wall hanging bracket. It’s not the best way to secure a strap, but it’s better than not having a strap at all.


If it’s easier to grab, it may just get used more often…


Orlando Fire Conference 2014



VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh and Eric Wheaton will both be presenting at the 2014 Orlando Fire Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference runs from February 27th-March 1st, 2014 and offers both a leadership symposium as well as a hands on training (HOT) program.

Jimm Walsh will be presenting on the importance of Communication on the Fireground and in the Firehouse on Saturday March 1, 2014. This class includes portions of Jimm’s popular leadership programs: From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat, and From the Firehouse to the Fireground.

The Associate Editor of VentEnterSearch, Eric Wheaton, will be teaching a segment of the Fire Fundamentals HOT class titled Can Confidence. 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.” Finally, attendees will perform live fire attacks with nothing more than a “Can” and witness the effect of the “Can” on pre-flashover conditions.

For more information or to register for the Orlando Fire Conference 2014 please go to www.orlandofireconfernece.com

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Maxximus Tool Package

Engineer TJ Riggs from Federal Fire San Diego (CA) Truck 11 sent in photos of his homemade strap, bundling together a Maxximus Rexx halligan, aluminum wedge, and a small sledgehammer.

rexxstrap rexxstrap4

Elastic secures an aluminum wedge on the pike, while allowing it to be easily removed when deploying the wedge. Two Velcro straps secure the head of the sledgehammer into a ring. There is a support rope, protected with heat shrink tubing, sewn in on each end to keep the halligan from sliding in the harness. This also holds acts as a backup in case the harness opens up accidentally.



This is well put together forcible entry package, especially for thru-the-lock. If your not familiar with the Maxximus Rexx halligan it is a newly released halligan from Fire Hooks Unlimited with some nice modifications. One being the adz has been modified into it’s own version of an “A tool” making it a great thru-the-lock halligan. The aluminum wedge works well for gaining a gap or purchase in tightly sealed doors, this wedge obviously holds up better than a conventional wooded wedge. The small sledgehammer is used as a striking tool for pulling lock cylinders with the modified adz/A tool of the Maxximus Rexx halligan.

It is important to come off the rig with whatever tool(s) you are going to need to accomplish the task at hand, no one wants to run back to the rig multiple times. So we want to know, is there any unique “tool packages” you like to carry?


Take This Door And Shove It

We all know that the shove knife can be a very useful tool during non-emergent runs, like automatic fire alarms (AFA) . They are commonly used to gain entry into rooms that have an outward swinging door with a simple “slam latch”.

How many times have you responded to an AFA and found the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) locked inside a room with no key to be found? How about an elevator equipment room or an electrical room, all locked and missing keys? A majority of the time these rooms will have an outward swinging door with a “slam latch”. A perfect way to defeat this type of door, with zero damage, is the use of a shove knife. Like any tool, shove knives have their limitations and knowing ways to overcome them will set us up for success. One drawback is not being able to “shove” a door when a latch guard is present. The latch guard is installed to keep intruders from using the shove knife concept and defeating the lock. Unfortunately for us, this eliminates the potential to utilize a shove knife as well… Until now.



An easy way to shove this type of door and overcome the latch guard is the use a 24 inch piece of weed-eater cord. Start by fishing the cord down from above the guard and behind the latch. The nice thing about weed eater cord is that is maintains a bit of a “memory” when unrolled it will still have a natural arc that helps get it into place behind the latch.


Next, pull the cord out from the bottom of the guard, you should now have the cord wrapped behind the latch.


Finally, pull both top and bottom ends of the cord towards you while doing an up and down sawing motion til the door pops open. Hint: Placing a little pressure on the door with your foot makes fishing the line in place easier because it allows the latch to sit properly in its keeper.


This technique is surprisingly simple, but of course we recommend practicing on doors at the firehouse. The technique works just as well on doors without latch guards. Keep in mind that some doors are placed so tight into the frame that you may not have the room to fish the cord into place or defeat a tamper pin. Most slam latches are accompanied with a tamper pin. The tamper pin is the small semi-circle pin located adjacent to the slam latch (see photo above). The tamper pin works by staying outside the latch keeper causing it to be depressed when the door is closed. When the tamper pin is engaged it is intended to prevent the ability to manipulated the lock with items like shove knives and weed-eater cords. Confused? Find a door with a slam latch and tamper pin, open the door and press the tamper pin towards the door and you’ll find that the slam latch will not move inward. Now let the pin extend back out and notice the slam latch operates properly. When you place inward pressure on the door with your foot we are trying to push the tamper pin into the keeper (allowing it to fully extend) thus defeating the pin.

One benefit about weed-eater cord is that it’s cheap and light. It can be easily carried rolled up in your coat pocket without taking up any room or adding noticeable weight. While this technique might not work on every latch guard installation you come across, it is a simple and effective way to defeat most of them.


Homebrewed Scuttle

John Douglass sent in something he found while detailed over to DC Truck 15. This scuttle has a homebrewed method of being secured with 2×4’s. Regardless if you are opening this from the roof, or the interior, almost any hand tool should be able to defeat it. If this was a ghetto fabulous plywood skylight replacement that you were removing from the roof, it might give some unexpected resistance. But the nails or screws that are holding it together would more than likely be the weak point, and pull right through the plywood. When removing from below, a quick strike from a hook or halligan should do the trick. Even when operating on a “nothing call” like a fire alarm, it is essential to be ready for anything and be prepared with tools in hand. It would certainly be embarrassing to encounter this and have to head back out to the rig to retrieve a tool to defeat it.

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