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
Joe Barr from Pine Hill (NJ) sent in these photos of something they ran into on a recent run. The cages are not visible at all from the outside due to the window covering and the setback of the jamb. They are starting to notice these more throughout the area. The resident claimed that she is supposed to open the cages for the fire department if there were ever a fire. Some of the cages are locked by a master lock, and this one, blocked from opening by furniture. This makes opening them not a quick and easy task for the resident to accomplish. Whenever we are operating in a structure with blocked egress windows like this, some immediate attention should be given to their removal. Leaving something like this in place while crews are operating inside could put us behind the call if we needed to remove a victim, or even worse, one of us. Fortunately, these can be removed easily from the inside with a set of irons, the trick is identifying them, and prioritizing their removal.7 comments
Jimm Walsh, owner and webmaster here at vententersearch.com will be presenting From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat on Thursday October 6th in Cincinnati, OH. The class is part of a two day seminar being hosted by Forest Park & Sycamore Professional Firefighters IAFF Locals 3024 & 3907. This extremely motivational and informative class will focus on much more than basic leadership principles. While there are some basics of leadership that are applicable for any rank, this class will cover some specific principles for each rank from the bottom to the top. Click here to download the class flier.3 comments
Sometimes we are not even sure what to say about some of the videos that get sent in to us. This video was sent in by an anonymous friend. It seems like a good follow up to our most recent post discussing The Lost Art of the Fire Service. The real fun begins at 1:55, be sure to put it in full screen mode so you can truly appreciate the madness.http://www.vententersearch.com/videos/flv/garageentry.flv
Actually, we take that back, this isn’t an issue about not understanding the Art, this is an issue about losing focus on what our objective is. It’s one thing for the first guy to do what he did (even though he should have known better), but the second guy should have been able to see the bigger picture. He was remote enough from the lunacy he should have realized what was happening. We cannot ever lose focus… We need to remember to work smarter, not harder on the fireground. You almost can’t go wrong grabbing the rotary saw when there is fire in a garage…
By the way, nice touch by the IC at about 1:29, it almost got away from ya there…
One last thought… Just because you know how to start the saw does not mean you know how to use it!53 comments
For the more than five years that VentEnterSearch.com has been around, it has always had the tag line “The Lost Art of the Fire Service.” While most of you understand exactly what we are trying to get across with that tag line, we realize we have never addressed it directly. So here goes, below are a few of our thoughts on exactly what The Lost Art of the Fire Service means to us…
Truck company functions have quickly become the lost art of the fire service. Many firefighters are being trained how to perform tasks, but not why. This is preventing them from truly understanding the art behind many truck company functions. Truck company functions have become a lost art for a number of different reasons. One of the main reasons is a result of the decreasing level of actual fire ground experience among personnel. Unfortunately this is creating less situational awareness on the fire ground. While education can never replace actual experience, a firm understanding of why we perform each task is essential. Furthermore, truck functions need to be performed at every fire regardless if a truck company is present or not! Changes in building construction have had a significant effect on how we operate on the fire ground, and have made the need for effective truck functions more important than ever. The energy efficiency or tightness of modern buildings coupled with the increased fuel load make ventilation a necessary and critical time sensitive operation. In addition, the execution of effective and efficient search techniques is going to increase survivability of both firefighters and occupants! It is essential that everyone
on the fire ground in the fire service understand the importance and the art of effective truck company functions.
Firefighter Dan Rinaldi from Providence (RI) Fire Department sent in pictures of a door from a triple deck structure. The door leads into a convenience store on the first floor. Apparently the store has had numerous break ins. As a result, the store owner did some homebrew modifications to the door. The existing door has been skinned both inside and out with 1/8” steel. The steel covers the entire door and is secured with multiple carriage bolts. The 1/8” steel would make gapping the door a bit more challenging than a traditional metal door. The door is still in a wood frame, so use of hydra ram will just destroy the stop. On the inside, you can see that the two supplemental bars slide in from the side instead of dropping in from the top. Of course since this is an inward swinging door, the supplemental bar brackets attach to the building, not the door leaving the telltale carriage bolts alerting us to its presence.
Interestingly, if you look at the first picture you can see a piece of plywood to the left of the door. This plywood is covering the hole that was apparently made during the most recent break in, that prompted the upgrade shown here. The thieves knocked a hole into the wall, and were able to real the single drop bar that had previously secured the door. This is apparently why the new supplemental lock was intentionally made with two slide-in bars, versus the single drop bar.17 comments
Hidden access stairs can certainly cause some confusion on the fireground. They allow for unobstructed smoke and fire travel, and can make finding additional floors frustrating.
The first example was sent in by Derek Porter and the Engine 3 crew from Morgantown (WV.) In this example, a spiral staircase leading to the occupied basement is concealed behind a bi-fold closet door. The staircase was added by the homeowner once the basement was “finished” to prevent having to go outside to access the basement. The spiral staircase fit just perfectly into the existing closet, while maintaining the bi-fold doors.
The next example is from Ronny Findeisen from Stuttgart Fire Department in Germany and proves this is not just a problem found in the United States. In this situation you can see a set of sliding closet doors that is concealing two hidden stairs leading to both a floor above and below.
Neither of these situations are going to ruin our day, they are just going to make the primary search a bit more complicated and time consuming.
Nick Bailey sent in this photo taken by Will Price quite some time ago. Prince Georges County Squad 1 found this children’s bedroom hidden in a knee wall during a working fire in Montgomery County. This makeshift bedroom was concealed by curtains and a book shelf. The photo reminds us of the importance of good primary search, and an even more through secondary. Effective search techniques are not something that can be learned on a book, or even a website. Crews must train regularly on search techniques and always be ready for the un-expected. Would you and your crew have found this? Photos like this serve as a great conversation piece with the crew over a cup of coffee. Searching is one of the primary functions of the truck company, and need to be completed on every fire whether a truck company is present or not.14 comments