Archive for the 'Tips' Category
The rotary saw equippedÂ with a metal cutting bladeÂ is an extremely important tool for us to have in our forcible entry cache. There are a handful ofÂ modifications and conversions that we can apply to the saw to make it preform more efficient. The outboard saw conversion is one of the simplest and most effective modifications to make the saw a more versatile forcible entry tool. The outboard saw conversion involves moving the saw blade assembly to the right (or outboard) side of the saw body.
Have you ever tried cutting hinges on a outward opening metal door? Have you ever encountered a frameless glass doorÂ with aÂ mortiseÂ lock that secures into the floor? The rotary saw is certainly a viable option for both of these situations.Â When utilizing aÂ non-modified (stock) saw, itÂ is difficult to line the saw blade perfectlyÂ perpendicular to a hinge or floor lock that is being defeated. As a result, the blade ends up cutting at an angle andÂ tends to more likely bind up.Â The outboard saw conversion puts the blade flush with the saw’s body, allowing it to cut easyÂ in tight placesÂ saving time and energy. Another situation where it may be beneficial to have an outboard saw is when cutting locks in recessed doorways.
If you have more then one metal cutting rotary saw on the rig, you should consider applying the outboard conversion to one of them. The conversion is still a viable option even if you only carry one metal cutting saw on your rig. The outboard saw gives us versatility while not compromising any other functions. TheÂ outboard saw still operates the same as a stock saw. There is however a noticeable change in how the saw “feels” to the operator since changing the location of the blade effects the gyroscopic effect on the saw. It is important to make sure everyone has operated the saw in a training setting before using it on an actual emergency run.
The photos below show the benefit when cutting a hingeÂ with an outboard saw. The first photo shows an unmodified saw, and the second shows the outboard saw. You can clearly see how the outboard saw cuts theÂ hingeÂ at a better, more perpendicular angle.
The nextÂ photos show how the outboard saw cuts the floor lock. The first photo shows an unmodified saw, and the second shows the outboard saw. Again, you can clearly see how the outboard saw cuts the lock at a better, more perpendicular angle.
The outboard conversion can be accomplished with just a fewÂ quick and easy steps. All you need is the scrench that came with your saw, or a flat-head screwdriver and ratchet. ClickÂ here to download a complete step-by-step guide to perform the outboard sawÂ conversion inÂ PDF format.8 comments
Our friend Andrew BrassardÂ from Brotherhood Instructors LLCÂ submitted this videoÂ showing the Padlock Twist. A padlocked chainÂ is anÂ 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. HoweverÂ this methodÂ is not always the most efficient because the chainÂ tends toÂ 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.No comments
Assist Chief. Dennis Baker Jr. from Baden (PA) sent in these pictures of how they set up their cribbing. He made sure to point out that Lt. Tim Firich was actually the one who should get the credit for the idea. They color-coded their cribbing based on length. The ones pictured happen to be 18â€ 6×6â€™s. As you can see in the picture below the paint color actually goes about an inch onto the side of the cribbing as well. This little addition makes it easy to visually see from a distance that the cribbing tower is square.
The handles are 1 inch webbing cut at 16 inches long and secured with a fender washer and 1 1/4″ wood screw. They overlapped the webbing and used a soldering pencil to burn the whole for the screw. This will prevent the webbing from unraveling near the screw hole.
The idea of color-coding could be implemented a few different ways: either length or lumber size. Even wedges could be coded with different color paint, or even a different color of webbing. For example if you painted your 4×4â€™s red, the 4×4 wedges could also be red, but with a different color webbing. The important thing is not of over think it. Come up with a standardized marking system that works for you and your agency.5 comments
In today’s fire service we continually have to do more with less. As firefighters we have the mindset to improvise, adapt, and overcome problems we encounter. Unfortunately, we are now forced to accomplish this with fewer personnel on scene. To overcome this we need to look for clever ways to accomplish certain routine tasks. WeÂ often find ourselves having to throw ladders on concrete or similar slick surfaces and work off of them. How many videos have you seen where the ladder slips out from under a firefighter as they climb? Has it even happen to you? We all know no one wants to be the guy butting a ladder during a fire, and we certainly can’t afford to take someone away from performing more important tasks on the fireground. How about using the doormat found at the front door of a home? Yes the one that says “Welcome”! The doormat can be placed under the butt of your ladder allowing the ladder to grip the concrete better. These mats are commonlyÂ found at most doors leading into a home or commercial properties. Look for anything that may add some friction between the butts and the concrete. With less personnel on scene we need to be on the look out for things that will make us more efficient and finding a way to butt your own ladder is justÂ one of them.
The nice thing about these types of options is that they still allow the ladder to be moved in a hurry when needed. There would be nothing worse then to see a brother or sisterÂ in trouble at a window and to be delayed by untying the ladder. Anything that can get the ladder raised quicker or moved quicker is a good thing!7 comments
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!
After the Governorâ€™s Island project conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Underwriters Laboratories(UL), and FDNY, the internet seems to be flooded with great information on flow paths and the importance ofÂ confining fire. Most importantly, confining fire is â€œbuyingâ€ possible victimsâ€™ time from heat and toxic smoke, as well as reducing rapid fire spread. It is extremely important for the interior search teams to find the fire quickly and if possible, confine it. Even if no door is present, i.e. kitchens, find any interior door that can be forced off its hinges and place in the open doorway.
Closing the door while performing vent enter search (VES) operations is a key task. This confines the room being searched from fire and smoke, increasing the survivability of that room. That same tactic needs to be implemented for the fire room, locate and confine so we slow the spread of fire and smoke.
As you can see in the photos, even hollow core wooden doors willÂ hold back fire.
These photos were taken after a recent fireÂ in a single family residence. This door separatedÂ the fire room and kitchen, which then led to theÂ remainder of the house. The door was closed before fire was able to spread into the kitchen, saving the home from further fire and smokeÂ damage. The door also providedÂ interior search crewsÂ with lighter smokeÂ conditionsÂ while searchingÂ the uninvolved portion of the home.
Locating and confining fire will save lives and property!6 comments
The Water Can is one of the most useful, yet underutilized pieces of equipment on the fireground. A Water Can can put out a fair amount of fire in the hands of a well trained fireman. But before it can be effective, it actually needs to be removed from the rig.
How is the Can stored on your rig? Is is easily accessible, or is it stored behind other equipment. If is not easy to grab, is that one of the reasons it is not used more? Below is easy method to give you the ability to quickly grab the Can off the rig. Another benefit of this mounting solution is it frees up some room in a compartment, allowing for other equipment to be stored in its place.
The mount is simply a piece of 8 inch diameter PVC pipe bolted on the running board of the rig. The pipe was obtained from the local water utility company for free. They even placed a chamfer on the edge to give it a more finished look. (They use the chamfer when placing the pipe into a coupling.) A quick coat of paint and you’re good to go.
Carriage bolts are the hardware of choice since they have a low profile head. They are a little tricky to secure, but work best for this application.
One drawback to this style of mount is it doesn’t lend itself to being utilized with a Can strap. Most of the commercial Can straps would take up too much room in the pipe, and prevent the Can from fitting. The Can in the picture below has a simple strap that has both ends snapped on the the Can’s wall hanging bracket. It’s not the best way to secure a strap, but it’s better than not having a strap at all.
If it’s easier to grab, it may just get used more often…10 comments
Engineer TJ Riggs from Federal Fire San Diego (CA) Truck 11 sent in photos of his homemade strap, bundling together a Maxximus Rexx halligan, aluminum wedge, and a small sledgehammer.
Elastic secures an aluminum wedge on the pike, while allowing it to be easily removed when deploying the wedge. Two Velcro straps secure the head of the sledgehammer into a ring. There is a support rope, protected with heat shrink tubing, sewn in on each end to keep the halligan from sliding in the harness. This also holds acts as a backup in case the harness opens up accidentally.
This is well put together forcible entry package, especially for thru-the-lock. If your not familiar with the Maxximus Rexx halligan it is a newly released halligan from Fire Hooks Unlimited with some nice modifications. One being the adz has been modified into it’s own version of an “A tool” making it a great thru-the-lock halligan. The aluminum wedge works well for gaining a gap or purchase in tightly sealed doors, this wedge obviously holds up better than a conventional wooded wedge. The small sledgehammer is used as a striking tool for pulling lock cylinders with the modified adz/A tool of the Maxximus Rexx halligan.
It is important to come off the rig with whatever tool(s) you are going to need to accomplish the task at hand, no one wants to run back to the rig multiple times. So we want to know, is there any unique “tool packages” you like to carry?13 comments
We all know that the shove knife can be a very useful tool during non-emergent runs, like automatic fire alarms (AFA) . They are commonly used to gain entry into rooms that have an outward swinging door with a simple “slam latch”.
How many times have you responded to an AFA and found the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) locked inside a room with no key to be found? How about an elevator equipment room or an electrical room, all locked and missing keys? A majority of the time these rooms will have an outward swinging door with a “slam latch”. A perfect way to defeat this type of door, with zero damage, is the use of a shove knife.Â Like any tool, shove knives have their limitations and knowing ways to overcome them will set us up for success. One drawback is not being able to “shove” a door when aÂ latch guard is present. The latch guard is installed to keep intruders from using the shove knife concept and defeating the lock. Unfortunately for us, this eliminates the potential to utilize a shove knife as well… Until now.
An easy way to shove this type of door and overcome the latch guard is the use a 24 inch piece of weed-eater cord.Â Start by fishing the cord down from above the guard and behind the latch. The nice thing about weed eater cord is that is maintains a bit of a “memory” when unrolled it will still have a natural arc that helps get it into place behind the latch.
Next, pull the cord out from the bottom of the guard, you should now have the cord wrapped behind the latch.
Finally, pull both top and bottom ends of the cord towards you while doing an up and down sawing motion til the door pops open. Hint:Â Placing a little pressure on the door with your foot makes fishing the line in place easier because it allows the latch to sit properly in its keeper.
This technique is surprisingly simple, but of course we recommend practicing on doors at the firehouse. The technique works just as well on doors without latch guards. Keep in mind that some doors are placed so tight into the frame that you may not have the room to fish the cord into place or defeat a tamper pin. Most slam latches are accompanied with a tamper pin. The tamper pin is the small semi-circle pin located adjacent to the slam latch (see photo above). The tamper pin works by staying outside the latch keeper causing it to be depressed when the door is closed. When the tamper pin is engaged it is intended to prevent the ability to manipulated the lock with items like shove knives and weed-eater cords. Confused? Find a door with a slam latch and tamper pin, open the door and press the tamper pin towards the door andÂ you’ll find that the slam latch will not move inward. Now let the pin extend back out and notice the slam latch operates properly. When you place inward pressure on the door with your foot we are trying to push the tamper pin into the keeper (allowing it to fully extend) thus defeating the pin.
One benefit about weed-eater cord is that it’s cheap and light. It can be easily carried rolled up in your coat pocket without taking up any room or adding noticeable weight. While this technique might not work on every latch guard installation you come across, it is a simple and effective way to defeat most of them.15 comments
Every truck company should be prepared to handle those obscure rescues like: machinery entrapments (fingers, hands, arms) Child stuck in a swing seat, and even simple ring removals. These calls can easily be handled by a well-trained and properly equipped crew and a little ingenuity. Included below are some photos and inventory list of the Man in Machine (MIM) Kit carried on Winter Park (FL) Truck 61. The kit is carried in a Pelican Box with shelves made from Â½â€ HDPE plastic, and tools are secured in place with Velcro straps. The box is a little on the heavy side, but meets the need. Weâ€™ll point out a few of the more oddball items included in the kit with a quick explanation of how itâ€™s utilized.
Many of the newer style of wedding rings are made from more exotic materials than previously found like tungsten carbide and titanium. These modern ring materials are to strong for the traditional ring removal tools often found in medical bags. This kit contains a ring cracker specifically made for tungsten carbide rings and a dremel tool and spoon handles for cutting titanium rings. The spoon handle is placed under the ring in between the ring and patients finger so the dremel blade does not come in contact with skin.
The snap ring pliers is a great tool to carry since many machine components like rollers are held in place by snap rings on the ends. The snap rings are present to allow of the machine to be taken apart for maintenance. When dealing with a MIM type rescue, sometimes the simplest way to remove the entrapment is to take the effected portion of the machine apart instead of just trying to pry or defeat it in a destructive and often more time consuming method.
Having simple lubricants handy like soapy water and vegetable oil work well in instances when less traumatic injuries are present and the effected body part is simply â€œstuck.â€ The water can be used as a cooling agent when any of the grinding tools are being utilized. Simply poking a few holes in the cap of the water bottle allows for the water to be squeezed out or dripped into the area of need.
This kit is by no means the best kit out there; it has been assembled to handle the most common types of MIM incidents Truck 61 has encountered. Depending on the type of entrapment other items found on the truck are also utilized such as simple mechanics tools.
(2) SNAP RING PLIERS
(1) RING CRACKER w/ (2) SPOON HANDLES
(1) WIRE CUTTERS and (1) HEAVY DUTY END NIPPER
(1) SMALL HACK SAW w/ SPARE BLADES
(1) TIN SNIP
(1) SMALL FLAT HEAD SCREW DRIVER and (1) MULTI-HEAD SCREW DRIVER
(1) 9â€ PRY BAR and (1) 11â€ PRY BAR
(1) LONG REACH NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS and (1) LONG REACH 90 degree NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS
(3) COMPOSITE GRIND WHEELS
(1) 2â€ PUTTY KNIFE
(1) 3â€ PUTTY KNIFE
(1) 4â€ PUTTY KNIFE
(1) PLASTIC MOLDING REMOVER
(1) 18â€œ PRY BAR
(1) LARGE HACK SAW (stored on back side of tray)
(1) STEEL WEDGE
(1) ANGLE GRINDER w/ DIAMOND BLADE
(1) DREMEL TOOL
(1) 2.5lb DEAD BLOW HAMMER
(2) DREMEL TOOL ACCESSORY KITS
(1) 1000ml VEGETABLE OIL
(1) 1000ml WATER
(1) 1000ml SOAPY WATER
(1) LARGE HACK SAW BLADE PACK
There are some tremendous resources available to learn more about MIM type Rescues, the guys over at www.plvulcanfiretrainingconcepts.com have some great resources. Also www.countyfiretactics.com has been featuring a bunch of MIM props that Andrew Brassard from www.brotherhoodinstructors.com has been submitting. It doesnâ€™t take much to assemble a kit to increase your capabilities for the often challenging calls. So what other items have you found a need for in your MIM kit?19 comments