Another Fixed Blade Option

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.


29 Comments so far

  1. Chris November 15th, 2011 10:23 am

    I use the exact same set up. A lot of people in my department use a similar set up by attaching them to their radio straps. It is all well and good when you actually wear it into a fire, but I think it looks pretty ridiculous when you just put your radio strap on when going to the grocery store, or some other non-emergency situation. Plus when going on EMS calls, it poses a potential safety issue if someone tries to grab the knife.

    By mounting it on your lantern strap, you will normally only have it on when you are in full gear and on a fire call. That is really the only time you need may find yourself in need of a knife.

  2. DaveH November 15th, 2011 4:49 pm

    Does something hold the box light in position (similar to the anti-sway shorties on radio straps)? Otherwise I can see situations where the knife could get knocked out of position.

  3. Ryan November 15th, 2011 5:57 pm

    @Dave. If you put the the light on before you put on your scba, the waist strap should hold it in place.

  4. Tim PFD November 15th, 2011 11:04 pm

    No there is nothing to hold the flashlight in place. It just does its thing, and you want it to because you need to be able to move it around your body as needed. The trick with these knives is that they’re made to stay in place during activities and though its true that something may cause it to be pulled out, that is simply a reality you have to live with. They’re designed to be worn on a white-water life jacket, so they’re meant to be under a great deal of stress without falling out. Could you loose your knife? Sure, but its a few bucks I’m willing to bet on.

  5. DMAN72 November 16th, 2011 11:08 am
  6. 19Piper November 16th, 2011 12:57 pm

    Nice. Always count on DMAN72 for enlightenment. It looks like that knife mounted like that would withstand a donkey kick.

  7. RSFDNY November 19th, 2011 11:58 am

    Handlight MUST go on before the SCBA Ryan. If Emergency Procedure is being performed there is no way to complete the “Quick Release” with it on without having to remove it first. That eats time and air, neither of which we have the option of losing. Personally, I opted for the Paramedic sheers instead of a knife on my handlight strap. Knife is a folding style and kept in my pocket.

  8. JON November 23rd, 2011 1:20 pm

    Does anyone have a link for a dependable knife that they use?

  9. Jon November 23rd, 2011 5:56 pm

    Buy a knife you can afford to lose. I buy the ones for .97 cents at walmart, use them once or twice and throw them away if need be. They are sharp and affordable. I see guys with 200 dollar Benchmades and all I can think is that this guy is going to be upset when he drops it or it falls out of his pocket. EMS Shears are great and they can cut anything you would need to, even a penny if you had to. I stopped carrying the big box light cause it was just too much of a pain in the neck (literally), I switched to a LED Survivor light and couldn’t be happier. One less bulky thing to carry or have knocking in the rungs of an aerial on a climb. Helmet lights are good too, but still pricey and only good for a secondary light. I would spend more on the light then the knife.

  10. Tim PFD November 24th, 2011 2:15 pm

    I believe this is the link to Gerber’s new version of the knife in this post. I don’t think they make the one in photo anymore.

  11. Jay November 30th, 2011 1:10 pm


    I agree with buying a knife you can afford to loose. I carry a good knife in the pocket of my work pants. But in my turn outs I carry three knives as well as a pair of trauma sheers. I carry one knife in each coat pocket and one knife in my radio pocket. I figure with having three of them I should be able to get to one of them when I need them.

    Also look into buying knives on ebay or from your local police department when they sell old evidence. You can usually get them in “bulk” and you can’t beat the price per blade.

  12. Chris November 30th, 2011 8:15 pm

    If you can find out where your local airport disposes of confiscated knives, you can get extraordinary deals on high quality but “disposable” cutting tools to carry in your gear.

    TSA from our airport sends all their contraband to the state surplus property program store, where you can buy fixed blade diving knives for about $5, like-new Leatherman tools for about $10, etc.

    I’ve actually wondered why none of the SCBA manufacturers haven’t integrated a fixed blade sheath onto the shoulder strap as an add-on option. Could be a money-maker for them.

  13. Loosecannon December 2nd, 2011 5:00 pm

    I have used a set up like that for about 6 years. Very handy. One thing I added, is a rubber band around the base of the knife handle to keep it close to the strap. If I don’t ,stuff gets caught under the handle between the strap and handle when it flexes. I use a silicone rubber band. They’re made for cooking, so they are very high temp, plus they never dry rot like regular rubber.

    I carry these

    in a small tool pouch in my coat pocket. I blunt the tips with a Dremel tool. These will cut EMS shears in half…

  14. Jon December 4th, 2011 11:11 am

    I was once a subscriber to you can never have enough, elevator keys, three screwdrivers, dikes, cable cutters, all that. Now I carry just a screwdriver, a walmart knife, shove tool, and in my right pocket cause its basically useless with the PSS bag, a flashlight for backup, 30ft of 3/8ths rope with two aluminum biners and a pair of firefighting gloves, work gloves are my first choice unless I know its ‘on’. Wearing all that nonsense on every run kills your body, every once you don’t carry is that much less damage you are doing to your body.

  15. Steve December 14th, 2011 5:46 pm

    I carry the same knife but on the clip by my radio pocket. I found that the strap of a light or radio can be moved out of place to easily. The chest pocket of my PPE is always in the same place.

  16. Rob December 22nd, 2011 8:14 pm

    We carry blades to get ourselves out of hairy situations like being snagged or entangled? I am always against more “bandoleer” type straps, it can snag on things and if you’re down and your brothers have to come get you it is one or two more things for them to navigate when they are trying to package you up.
    I am all for a tool to get you out, I have two types of cutters in my pockets, but even without the messy strap knives fall out of their sheathes fairly easily. Just my opinions…

  17. Lt. Rob February 15th, 2012 2:59 pm

    I am a huge fan of having a knife handy like this but unfortunately I come from a not so aggressive fire department and got made fun of by every single senior man, so i took it off.
    Just a side note, guys that carry leatherman style tools as a primary cutter, think about trying to open that with gloves on, lights out.

    Lt. Rob

  18. DMAN72 February 15th, 2012 3:39 pm

    You’ve gotta be shittin me, Pyle!!!!!!!!!!! Who gives a shit what anybody thinks????? The hell with those guys, do your thing brother.

  19. Joe Mac February 29th, 2012 4:12 am

    Might also think about putting electric tape around the zip tips to further protect them from breaking, hold it tighter, or getting cut from the ends of them.

  20. Joe Mac February 29th, 2012 4:13 am

    Sorry zip ties..

  21. Rich February 29th, 2012 2:46 pm

    I carry a great knife from Kershaw, the Responder 1078. Very sharp, with a locking sheath, and its right about 30-40 bucks.

  22. PolarFire March 26th, 2012 6:44 am

    I’ve thought about a knife in/for my turnouts. I normally carry a Gerber Hinderer in duty uniform w/ toolkit. Having the tool set that comes with the hinderer has come in handy both around the firehouse for maintenance as well as on-scene when equipment needed adjustment.

    If you want to have a “real blade” vs the blunt pry-capable tip of the regular hinderer, they make a black Hinderer CLS as well.

    Turnouts have large EMT shears, a Channellock Rescue tool, and a TFT res-q-rench. If the TFT tool won’t cut it, and the EMT shears can’t, the channellock will. If I need an actual blade, the Hinderer is still easy to reach on my belt under my turnouts (if the environment allows me access)

    Personally, I’d go more for the Survivor light mounted knife option than on a box light. Reason being, in my dept you respond to the nearest station, not always your primarily assigned one. If I mount a knife on a box light, chances are I’ll actually end up wearing that light w/ knife once on-scene in a year.

    Stay safe.

  23. fire guy 247 April 4th, 2012 12:24 am

    I just did this with my box light, love the idea. I used a different knife though. I used a Mcnett Saturna. It has a blunt tip and locks in it’s hard plastic sheath real tight but comes out with one good pull. One side of the blade is serrated and has a sort of hook blade and the other side of the blade is not serrated.

  24. Dave April 4th, 2012 7:08 am

    Carry a utility knife. Cheap. Works. Always sharp. Cuts almost everything.

  25. Brad December 13th, 2012 6:34 pm

    and the McNett Knife has a thing u can use for motor vehicle accidents for seat belts

  26. James July 26th, 2014 3:22 pm

    I was shown today a option I had never thought before. If you use a backboard strap with the push release, and make like a radio strap you can attach your box light,TPass,Knife etc.. If you get tangled up and panic you can push the release and the strap will fall off. Limiting the equipment strapped to your SCBA the better. You have everything you need close and at seconds notice it can be left behind. I recommend the McNett Saturna blunt nose dive knife with a sheath.

  27. Jim November 3rd, 2017 11:52 pm

    When working EMS, I had a Strider ELB-T rigged behind my blow out kit on my bat belt. Always EMT shears, but there are things only a knife can do. With a job shirt, it hid well enough, and did everything I ever asked of it. Now I have an ESEE 5 on my bunker pants belt, behind my EMS pouch. It is a beast, but I can’t think of anything that would break it (neither firemen nor marines ;)). It slices, dices, chops, and pries, it will even break auto glass. I keep a folder (Spiderco Harpy) in my pocket, but there is no comparison between them.

    Regards, Jim

  28. Jim November 4th, 2017 3:16 pm

    Fireman took a 1 story fall onto cement, in full turnouts and SCBA (working fire-winter/icy-ladder not footed, slipped).

    R/O head, neck, spine, pelvis, extremeties

    Turnouts are a pain in the ass to cut off quickly. Knives work better then scissors.

  29. Jim November 23rd, 2017 12:51 pm

    ETA: Please do not stick the patient. Same technique hunters use when gutting a deer, don’t want to nick the guts.

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