Induction Loop Trick

There are a number of different methods to gain access to a closed gate. There are a few commercial products that property owners may have installed to make sure the fire department can easily access the property without damaging the gate. These products include: siren activation, emergency light activation, and even radio activation. However, each of these have to be installed properly and maintained regularly in order to remain operational. We have to have other options available to us to open the gates quickly when the commercial options are not present, or out of service.

Fortunately for us, there is another option that works on a majority of gates. Have you ever noticed that most gates open to let you out of the gated area simply by driving up to it? Have you ever wondered how that works? It’s called an induction loop, it is an insulated electrically conducting loop that is installed in the pavement. It can been seen as the lines cut into the ground in the area of the gate. The automatic gate opener monitors the inductance in the wire, and when it senses a change of the inductance, it opens the gate. We have the ability to easily trick the gate into thinking there is a car present, resulting in the gate opening. Any large metal object that can be placed on the inside and outside the loop at the same time will activate the gate. Typically there will be two induction loops installed near the gate. the first (or furthest from the gate) is to let the gate know that a car needs the gate opened. The second (closer to the gate) is to let the gate know that the car has cleared the gate, and the gate can close.

As seen above, the ground pad from the Truck can be slid under the gate with a hook. Once the ground pad is slid into position, the gate will open. As mentioned earlier, it has to go over the induction loop that is the furthest away from the gate.

Just so we don’t make the guys on the engine feel left out, the photo below shows a 14 foot ladder being used to accomplish the same thing.

One tip to keep in mind, is that once the gate is activated the hook or ladder need to be removed from the path of the opening gate. Quickly removing the hook (once the pad is in place) or pushing the ladder all the way under the gate takes care of the issue.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to keep the gate open for the remainder of the units responding to the alarm? A slick idea is to keep a piece of metal in place over the induction loop. Since we probably don’t want to leave the ground pad behind, or the ladder where it will get run over, we can simply use another object. A small piece of aluminum (like an old parking sign) can be placed on the rig for this exact purpose. It is much lighter and easier to put in place than the outrigger pad, and no-one will get pissed when its lost or run over.


Four Cut Roll Up

Chris Johnson from Concord (NH) sent in this writeup on using the four cut method for opening roll up doors. There are a number of different methods that can be utilized to defeat roll up doors, and each have there pros and cons. This particular method creates a large opening while maintaining the ability to control the door. Click here to see the full write up on this technique. We made the write-up into a downloadable pdf so you can print it out for a kitchen table discussion, or for some OJT (On the John Training.)



It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Today is VES’s Birthday! Six years ago this website was created as a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that Truck Company functions are an art, and have become The Lost Art of The Fire Service. It is imperative that we protect this art for generations to come. The fire service is changing right before our eyes, we need to take it back! The avenue to a safer fire service is by being proactive rather than reactive in both our training and our tactics. We need to bring back the aggressive yet safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through sharing the knowledge and educating each other.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. This website was started with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

Since VES started, there have been so many other sites that have come and gone, but we are still here! Thank you for the contined support, you all rock!


From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat

Jimm Walsh, owner and webmaster here at will be presenting From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat on Saturday, April 28th 2012 in Greenville, NC. The class is being sponsored by Pitt Community College. 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.


FDIC 2012

VentEnterSearch’s own Jimm Walsh will be presenting a class titled Garden Apartment Fire Challenges at FDIC 2012. The class will on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 10:30 AM-12:15 in room 109-110.

Here is a short description of the class:

The focus is on the necessary command fireground functions and the roles of company officers and firefighters in mitigating a fire in a garden apartment structure. Discussions cover the unique challenges garden apartments present in a fire, apparatus placement, accessing the complex, understanding the construction type, ventilation possibilities, hoseline stretches, personnel needs, search priorities, and selecting the proper tactics.

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Door Hardening

Jason Dauta from St. Petersburg (FL) sent in these photos of a door-hardening product that is available at most home improvement stores. The product is a simple set of stamped steel plates secured with long screws. The kit involves three main components: door shields, jamb shields, and hinge shields. Each of these components is intended to help prevent the wood from splitting in the area of the door and jamb it is protecting. These devices are cheap (less than $75 for the set) and easy to install, so they may become more commonly found. These shields will keep the wood of the jamb from splitting from a kick-in style of forcible entry, but will pose minimal problems to a well-placed set of irons. The wood jamb, and wood door will still crush and deform as expected during the force. Simply Identify and Visualize, and these doors shields will be of little consequence.

The photo below shows the door shield installed. It goes over the latch faceplate and is also attached with long screws. Notice in the picture that the door is actually already split due to poor installation of the device.

The photo below shows the jamb shield installed. It replaces the normal strike plate and is attached with longer screws. It disperses the force and is intended to be more difficult to defeat than a traditional strike plate.

The photo below shows the hinge shield installed, it goes over the existing hinges.


Smaller Class Sizes

Steven Cunningham from Stafford County (VA) Quint 12 sent in these photos of something they found during a recent walk though of an elementary school. They saw a storage room that also had a sign for the sprinkler room, so obviously they wanted to check it out. When they opened the door, they were quite surprised at what they found.

Not only that the room was much larger then was expected, but more importantly, that the storage room had been converted into a small classroom. The sprinkler room is actually one room off of the former storage room (the door can be seen in the left side of the photo above.) Things like this could be happening more often due to the combination of school overcrowding and budget cuts. So they most important question is: would you have checked this room on a primary? What about the secondary? What if it didn’t have the sprinkler sign? It is also worth pointing out that this room has no windows or secondary means of egress.

We will never know of all of these instances that happen in our response areas, but we can do the best to prepare ourselves for them. We need to get out into our response areas, and walk through buildings on a regular basis, and always expect the unexpected. …We don’t think this is what the teachers had in mind when they said they wanted smaller class sizes.


Bucket O’ Chain

Andy Golz from Duluth (MN) Rescue 1 sent in this idea for simple chain storage. They were not happy with their previous set-up using old O2 bags for the chains, so they set out to find a better solution. They found a few empty foam containers and cut the tops off with a reciprocating saw. Once the top was removed a few holes were drilled about two inches from the top of the container. A few out-of-service prussik cords were used to form the handle secured to the container with a barrel or scaffold knot. Before securing the second side of either prussik, the cord was run through a five inch section of garden hose to complete the handle. Hanging the hooks on the top edge of the container makes them easy to find, and prevents the chain from getting tangled.


Better Find Another Way

Jason Hardin from Charlotte (NC) Ladder 26 send in these photos of a door he found while at a local hunting store. From the outside the door is made to look like an ordinary residential door. Once opened, it becomes quite apparent that this is not a normal door, its a safe door! The door is called a Pro Steel Ultra Security Door, and is made by the same company that makes Browning gun safes.

From the outside the only obvious indication of this being a non traditional door is the absence of hinges. Once opened you can see that this door is designed not to be forced open. The door is opened by an electric keypad that can be mounted up to 7 feet away.

Trying to defeat this door would more than likely prove to be waste of time on the fireground. Finding another less protected opening may be the best option. Another door, a window, or maybe even a wall breach may be less time consuming depending on the building construction. One of the most important things to keep in mind when faced with this door would be identifying it early, before precious time is wasted trying to defeat it.


Tool Wrap

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.


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