Archive for the 'Throwback Thursday' Category

Padlock Twist

Throwback Thursday post: Original posting date August 20th, 2014.

Our friend Andrew Brassard submitted this video showing the Padlock Twist. A padlocked chain is an extremely common forcible entry situation we may come across. One popular method of defeating this set-up is to try and drive the padlock off the chain by inserting the pike of the halligan into the shackle of the lock, and striking with another tool. However this method is not always the most efficient because the chain tends to act as a shock absorber and absorbs most of the force you are generating into the lock. Another and perhaps more common method is to simply use a saw or bolt cutters to cut the lock… but what if you don’t have a saw on your rig? Or you find yourself operating a long distance from the rig and don’t want to waste time going back to grab a tool?

As you can see in the video, you begin by simply twisting the chain to remove the slack. Once the slack is taken out, you place the forks of the halligan on the shackle of the padlock and keep twisting until the lock fails. The method in the video works really well for both low and medium security padlocks, which are typically the most common we come across due to their low price. The most beneficial part of this method is that it is a single person technique. One common use may be when the outside vent firefighter encounters a chain and padlock when accessing the rear yard at a private dwelling and may only have a hook and halligan to work with.

Knowing how to utilize your tools in a variety of different ways is an essential fireground skill. Simply knowing how to apply the maximum amount of mechanical advantage in different situations will make us more efficient and effective on the fireground.

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Heavy Irons

Throwback Thursday post: Original posting date January 21st, 2008.

Sometimes the axe and halligan just won’t do. The time may come that you need a bigger hammer. One of the issues with carrying a sledge with a halligian is the fact that they don’t marry as well as the traditional irons. Here are two similar approaches to fixing the issue. The first one was sent in by Firefighter Angus Burns from Lexington Fire EC-3. The second one was sent in by Driver/Operator Chad Berg from Snohomish County, Washington Ladder Co. 72.

Angus points out that the Lexington creation was a group effort. Firefighter Jack Trautwein wanted the ability to carry the sledge/halligan combo, Angus found the material at a local fire apparatus shop, and Firefighter David Gumm did the machining and welding. This particular method has the added feature that allows the set of heavy irons to stand upright without falling over.

Chad took the more familiar approach. He used a more traditional loop welded onto the top of the sledge. He points out he likes to carry the heavy irons when working in concrete tilt up and re-enforced masonry structures that normally offer little flex when forcing. The heavier sledge allows for a bigger punch when setting the halligan. Since the welder was already out and warmed up, they added a little company pride to the tool.

It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Be careful to watch the temperature of the sledge head while making these modifications, you could weaken the epoxy bonding the handle and head, and we would not want to be around the first time you figure it out. Check out the Tips from the Bucket Page for additional photos on this, and many other great tips.

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Controlling Utilities

Throwback Thursday post: Original posting date June 12th, 2006.

Controlling utilities is an important outside truck function. Regardless if your department uses inside/outside truck teams or not,(or dare I say no truck company at all) outside functions need to happen at every fire. This first picture was from a call my truck company recently ran on. It was in another department’s first due so the arrival of the truck company was delayed. En-route we hear an engine company announce “utilities secure.” Once my truck got on scene we went to work: first job 360 the structure (which should always be done!) and verify utilities. During the 360, it was noticed that the utilities were still operational! It was pretty easy to notice, most of the lights were still on. Moral of the story: When multiple breakers/shunts/switches or what ever are present… Shut them all off!

Apparently this building owner wants his structure to burn down. Try getting these utilities when the dumpsters are full and heavy. -Jimm-

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Fortified Rear Door

Lieutenant Rich Taylor and the Crew from Winter Park (FL) Truck 61 found this door while out doing some area familiarization. From the outside this particular door shows no sign of supplemental locks. At one point there was a traditional handle, but that has since been removed and replaced with a blank. The latch is also being “protected” from a simple latch guard. It appears that a simple force with the irons would make quick work of this. This particular occupancy was a bakery, so not exactly a high profile target, or occupancy that you would expect to be highly protected. However, as you can see from the inside, nice little surprise awaits you.


How well do you know your first due? Before this occupancy was a bakery, what was it? Perhaps some of the long time readers of the site recognize this exact door it was featured in a previous post back in November 2006 click here to check it out. However, it was a check-cashing store back then. Certainly an occupancy with that amount of cash on hand would certainly warrant having a fortified rear door.


There is something very different about the door from the original post though… Take a look, have you figured it out? The answer will be in the first comment below so we don’t spoil it here.


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!





Artistc Board Up Revisited

Lieutenant Joseph Minehan from Boston Engine 28 sent in some recent photos of an artistic board up project in Boston. We first posted about Artistic Board Up (click here for the post) projects found in New York back in August of 2009, and followed up with photos from a fire involving and Artistic Board Up building in Baltimore City (click here for the post).

We wanted to re-post information about these so everyone stays on their toes about them. As you can see in the ones Lt. Minehan sent in, they are getting a bit more creative with the artwork.

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