We have made no secrets around here that we are not big believers in PPV, but that discussion in itself could be an entire post. This post is more about equipment, equipment readiness, and the importance of daily equipment checks. Garret Rice from Rowlett (TX) Truck 4 sent in this information of an incident that occurred while performing multi-agency, multi-company drills. During the drill another one of the agencies involved placed a PPV fan at the front door. Once the fan was in operation, the fan suffered catastrophic failure. When the fan blade disintegrated, one of the pieces of the blade broke thru the shroud and hit one of the firefighters in the arm. Fortunately, the firefighter was wearing full PPE, so he did not suffer any injuries. You can see from the photos below the pieces of blade on the bottom of the fan shroud. Upon closer investigation it appears that a bolt got loose from the handle and got sucked into the rotating fan causing the blade to come apart at full velocity. It is worth mentioning that this fan is normally stored on the outside of the rig, secured to the tailboard. Texas undergoes significant temperature swings throughout the year, so the composite blade is constantly expanding and contracting which may (or may not) have been a contributing factor.
With that being said, the importance of equipment readiness needs to be mentioned. All equipment on the rig needs to undergo a daily check, and a comprehensive weekly check at a minimum. When we are checking the equipment we should be much more concerned about the operational readiness of the equipment, then only the simple fact that the equipment is accounted for. When issues are discovered with our equipment we should take it upon ourselves to repair (or see that it gets repaired) in a timely fashion. Leaving equipment in service on the rig that is not 100% operationally ready to go can lead to disaster. Perhaps during the check, the loose bolt would have been discovered, or maybe stress cracks in the blades would have been noticed, or perhaps neither. This could have been a total fluke, or maybe it could have been prevented, we are not trying to point a finger. Either way there is a great learning opportunity here. Equipment stored outside the rig is certainly more subject to failure due to being exposed to the elements. We need to make sure that we are throughly checking all of our equipment all of the time!29 comments
Captain Tim Meister from Charleston (IL) sent in these photos of a hidden playroom they came across on an EMS run. As you can see from the photo, the entrance of the playroom is approximately 3-4 feet off the ground behind a hinged piece of paneling. The overall dimensions of the room were 8′X12′ so even though the room has a low ceiling, it is still nearly 100 square feet in size. The room did not have permanent power but did have a lamp with an extension cord that is plugged in while the kids are playing. These hidden playrooms are much more common then you would suspect, and as you can imagine, will cause us significant issues during a search. Even slight smoke conditions would make this room impossible to find, the small handle on the door, paired with the picture hanging from it would not even make us suspect the presence of the room.
Peter Lee from Maplewood (NJ) sent in these photos of a door they ran into while out conducting some district familiarization.
This style of supplemental lock is becoming increasingly poplar for rear door protection on commercial occupancies. There are a number of different manufacturers that are producing this style lock. From the outside it is obvious that this door not only has a locking mechanism on the handle side, but also some hinge side protection. Another important observation is that it appears that all of the supplemental locks are inline with the handle, none high, none low.
The purpose of the hinge side protection is to keep the uneducated burglar from opening the door from the hinge side, not the educated firefighter. Even though for the outside it looks less substantial, the hinge side is definitely the slower option on forcing this door. Traditional forcible entry technique on the lock side of the door with a property placed halligan is more than likely the quickest and most effective way to force this door.
We have shown doors like this in the past, they are not nearly as intimidating as they look. Be sure to use the website’s search function over in the right sidebar to find some similar doors, or click on the category labeled “outside functions.” The purpose of studying different style doors is so we can better identify and visualize what we are facing when confronted with challenges on the fire ground.3 comments
Captain TJ Underwood from Goldsboro (NC) Fire Department sent in these photos of a recent find on a company inspection. This supplemental lock was found on a department store located in a strip mall. Apparently the store had recently been broken into, so the store owners had a local door company fabricate and install this lock. As you can see from the photo below, the locking mechanism is simply made from galvanized pipe and is designed to pivot into place. Fortunately the presence of the supplemental lock is obvious from the outside due to the visible carriage bolts. Simply cutting into the carriage bolts will defeat the lock, allowing the door to be opened with a simple traditional force to bypass the Mickey Mouse in-handle lock. Plunging the saw straight into the door in an attempt to defeat the supplemental lock will prove to be ineffective due to the distance between the bar and the door, and the limited depth of the blade.
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
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.
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.
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