Firehouse Ingenuity

Most of the tools used in the fire service today were developed in the firehouse based on the needs of a particular area. Many of these tools have stood up to the test of time and are currently being produced and utilized across our industry. There are many great tools and quality tool manufacturers out there, however, there are also many gimmick tools on the market. These gimmick tools lack true functionality or durability to hold up the abuse found on the fireground and end up being a waste of time and money.

This post is not to bash any company or any tool that is currently on the market, it’s simply a discussion of firehouse ingenuity and its role in our business. Simply put, making or modifying tools to fit your specific needs is a great idea. Here are two examples of what was developed at two different firehouses, to fit their specific needs.

Brian Brush from West Metro (CO) Company 10 sent the photo below of his department’s modification on the roof hook. They wanted a roof hook combined with a rubbish hook on the other end. So they removed the chisel tip from one of their roof hooks, inserted a plug, and fabricated a rubbish hook from 5/8″ round bar. They felt the rubbish hook provided a good footprint for sounding the roof and a large purchase for opening up drywall. It’s their take on a east meets west roof hook.

Robert L. Doucette from Meriden (CT) Engine 4 sent in his fabrication pictured below. He wanted a customized “heavy” rake hook with a chisel tip on the opposite end. His custom hook is fabricated entirely out of steel with forged working ends. The tool’s heavy weight helps it get through the thick plaster and lathe construction found in his area. What makes this tool’s rake end unique is the added scoring spine. The spine assists in getting the initial purchase point needed to open things up. As a final touch, a link was welded on the tool for the floor above vent technique.

These tools may not work for you, but they work for them, and that’s what it’s all about. Make your tools work for you!


47 Comments so far

  1. some dude August 17th, 2009 10:40 pm

    nicely said, some tools are useful others are gimmicks. the gimmicks are easy to spot

  2. Lad288 August 18th, 2009 1:54 am

    Will these fit in a latex glove??

  3. DMAN72 August 18th, 2009 10:59 am

    Ya’ just gotta stir the pot don’t ya? 🙂

  4. CFD HOOK August 18th, 2009 11:38 am

    Hey brother great Idea, get patent before someone else does.

  5. FF_Goodnight August 18th, 2009 7:06 pm

    as far as patents go this website will help you secure it if someone else decides to bite onto your idea (provides a date to where you had made your prototype…etc). Good work, ive seen a lot of new comination tools coming out and these tools actually could be put to use. I am still working on my patent for the “hoseless nozzle”… it should be available by 3020!

  6. Lad288 August 18th, 2009 8:07 pm

    I have to do something to keep everyone entertained…

    Let me know how that hoseless nozzle is going!

  7. brickcity1306 August 18th, 2009 9:18 pm

    Ohhhh a trash rake with a roof hook… Hummm out of room on your rig???? Please never EVER bring that bastard down to NY I would hate to see where they stick it with I might add a latex glove over the end which ever end that may be!! Kind of reminds me of a Punji stick in the nam !!! But like has been said, what works for you I guess just keep it in your house LOL …

  8. DMAN72 August 18th, 2009 9:47 pm

    You’re such a dick. But please dont change. I love it!

  9. JJ1Truck August 19th, 2009 9:05 am

    The East meets west hook is awesome, we actually called Fire Hooks unlimited about a year ago and they made one for us. We use it not only to sound the roof, but down here in the south with the roof construction today, we are able to use the hook to pull the ridge vents off and open it up. We mounted ours on the front bumper for easy access . I will try and take some pictures on how we mounted it for anybody that wants to run with the idea.

  10. 8Truck August 19th, 2009 2:33 pm

    I like the idea of combining tools, has anyone used the Talon hook (NY roof hook with a halligan type fork on the other end) what do you think of it, is the fork end more useful then it is a hindrance? I like to use the chisel end of the ny roof hook to start my hole when pulling plaster and lath.

  11. FF_Goodnight August 19th, 2009 3:46 pm

    Lad388- I wish the cordless pohone copany would help me out a little bit, if you have any connections, let meknow!

  12. Brickcity1306 August 19th, 2009 5:41 pm

    DMAN72,, I took me 27 years to get this way and two attacks on the world trade center.. Trust me I am who I am, like me or blow me I could care less!! LOL,,

    JJ1Truck my thirteen year old son could pull a ridge vent with his bare hands are you kidding me ??? Listen our rig has a trash hook and it still has the rubber tips on it, it has a water wrench on the other end that is the working end.. We have several other hooks I always think of the worst scenario you could be stuck in and this tool sucks.. Like I said, if you like it good bless I am willing to bet you are a young buck that wish you had a spreader/cutter/ram/hook/can as well but if you find one let me know LOL..

  13. RescueIrons August 19th, 2009 10:51 pm

    The Boston Fire Dept has been adding a similar triangular piece of steel on the hook end of the Boston Rake for years. It is a little more narrow though and looks a lot like a sharks tooth. Several of the guys say “it’s always been that way”.

  14. Lad288 August 20th, 2009 12:08 am

    FF_Goodnight –

    You might want to check with the waterless hand cleaner companies. They might be able to point you in the the right direction.

  15. keep it real August 20th, 2009 3:52 pm

    brickcity, NYC would fight fire with rocks if they could figure out a way. Dont knock people, or young bucks for making the fire service job more efficient. I understand that your an old salty jake…blah blah blah but come on, I’m sure that in 27 years you came across a situation that you wished you had a spreader/cutter/ram/hook/can and didn’t!

    As for the firefighters who came up with these ideas to merge tools, good for you and PLEASE DON’T KEEP IT IN YOUR HOUSE. SHARE IT WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD BECAUSE YOUR IDEA COULD SAVE A LIFE! 🙂

  16. DMAN72 August 20th, 2009 9:02 pm

    Boy there is a lot of new guys chiming in this time, eh, brickcity? Amazing how the insecurity just oozes from the screen. Grow up guys, it’s all in good fun.

  17. brickcity1306 August 20th, 2009 9:58 pm

    Haaaa,,, that’s ok DMAN it is the pussafacation of the American male,, metro sexual lame ass kids LOL.. It will be ok, they just need a manicure and their eyebrows waxed and they will be good to go…

  18. brickcity1306 August 20th, 2009 10:02 pm

    At least there will not be a shortage of youth to tie that webbing to and donkey kick to get that meter off. The only bad thing is some are soooo tight a$$ed you could never remove the webbing when needed!!

  19. brickcity1306 August 20th, 2009 10:25 pm

    Oh and just to prove I am not just a total DI%K, I like the scoring spine/pinch bar combo, just curious what is the length and weight. It sure does look like it is made to handle business with no problem..

  20. OKFF August 21st, 2009 12:00 am

    The modified boston rake looks like a heck of a tool, heavy, stout, and functional. What type of steel was used? As for the combo rake/ roof hook, I’d have to try it first. Ive used both types to good effect, so…

  21. keepitreal August 21st, 2009 7:18 am

    Aww, brickcity had an insecure moment of his own? Felt the need to prove he wasnt a total di*k? ZZz….zzz….zzz You wanna be “cowboy” firefighters bore me. Those days are over get with the program.

  22. DMAN72 August 21st, 2009 9:13 am

    Is this guy serious? What’s a cowboy firefighter? If the NBPFSQ has that cert, IM TAKIN’ IT! Yippeekiaaa mother@#$%er!!!!!!

  23. DMAN72 August 21st, 2009 9:14 am

    PS, Im heading down to NFA today, Im gonna look in to that!

  24. brickcity1306 August 21st, 2009 9:24 am

    Hint # 1 the name, keepitreal… I have no idea what a “cowboy firefighter” is?? Maybe he is a country bumpkin hat rides a horse instead of on a rig…

  25. me August 21st, 2009 11:08 am

    We have a little box at the front door, It reads “Check your Feelings”

    If ya can’t take the heat, get out the kitchen.

    Pull out your tampon, or shove it in further. I’ve learned more by being kicked in the nuts than I ever will by some one holding my hand…

    BRB, gotta get my brazilian wax.

  26. Truck75 August 21st, 2009 11:51 am

    8Truck,we just got a talon hook for our rig and it works great. Its heavier than any of our other hooks but its worth its weight.

  27. FF_Goodnight August 21st, 2009 12:56 pm

    “Pussifacation of the American Male” HAHAHAHAHA!!!! F%$#@ng awesome! Brickcity has a definate point, if it wasnt for all the firefighters of today turning into safteyhazzardhardhatwearinpussified”cowboy???”firefighters, we could actually do our job, where have all the knuckle draggin mouth breating donkey punchin/kickin firemen out there gone? you know, The ones who just got the damn job done with the tools they had? “imporovise, adapt, overcome”? Then they went back to the firehouse and developed a new tool or plan of action for the next alarm? The halligan was invented, was it not? Come on fellas, cant take an old jake poppin off at you, maybey you should go work for Google as a “feelings analist”… Keep up the game brickcity, instead of these guys gettin their panties up in a bunch, what they should be doing is working on getting that darn roll of webbing out of thier A$$! Get off of your high horse’s cowboy’s, all men are created equal, and then some become firemen! No need to change a good thing right??? but dont knock it till ya try it… we were all virgins once, right?… and by reading some of the posts above, I think some of you still are!

  28. Robby O August 21st, 2009 3:11 pm

    “where have all the knuckle draggin mouth breating donkey punchin/kickin firemen out there gone? you know, The ones who just got the damn job done with the tools they had?”

    They all died becuase they were uneducated mouth breathing, donkey punching, fireman.

    I applaud anyone for trying to figure out a new and inventive way to do something…while it may not work for me or my FD someone out there might love it.

    Anyone who submits things are gonna get ridiculed thats how it is on every fire service website….we like to talk a big game about the brotherhood but we are the first ones to diss a brother when they are trying to improve something, or trying to get his college degree, etc.

    For those of you that submit stuff keep doing it and let the haters keep hating its always the sharpest at the tip of the spear but the ones who hate are usually at the other end were it is safe and there own warts will never be exposed….I dare any of you who have commented negatively to try and come up with just one thing to make our job better and try to implement it….maybe then you will see the other side of things.

  29. keepitreal August 21st, 2009 5:31 pm

    brickcity, you ever get to meet John O’Rourke? If you’ve been around the city for 27 years the name should ring a bell. Let me know.

  30. brickcity1306 August 21st, 2009 9:38 pm

    LOL ,,ohh so now let the name throwing start Patty Barr, Warren Forsite, how about Batt Chief Patrick Ginty.. I never said I worked for FDNY I scored too high on their test and was not a chick or a minority.. (sorry it that offends my brothers and sisters but many know where I am coming from)

    I rilly rilly hope you know what you are talking about when you bring up brothers names that died, I suggest you tread very very lightly!!

    If you want to impress people might I suggest a less famous fire fighter then John, if you don’t know him I suggest doing some leg work, he was a inspiration to a lot of people in the fire service today..

    Stay low, Jimmy

  31. brickcity1306 August 21st, 2009 10:02 pm

    Ahhhh it’s Friday night so I will make it easy here is a link…

  32. heviresq August 21st, 2009 10:32 pm

    Enough with the pissing contest. Anyone without respect for those who have been there more times in a year than some in 10 is an arrogant fool. Those who have been there for so long they have lost sight of innovation, that is just what happens after a while. Innovation has spawned great advances for us, and has created silly/ dangerous expiriments. The NY roof, Boston, an San Fran hooks have found happy homes in many places, while the standard pike is losing its grip, so to speak. Even though most expirimental tools wind up with the paratech halligan and the TNT tool (collecting dust in a basement closet with other pieces of s$#t), some actually work. It is our job on this site to review, revise, and anylize innovation, not to kill it. As for donkey kicks, pulling meters, and flying elbows, some may never understand the true knuckle dragging essence of the truckie. F- ’em. If they are smart they will shut up, watch, and learn something when we do what we do. Then get a better idea. Otherwise they will be beating their sorry little 6 lb. sledges against their’ hard-hatted, well protected, nervous little heads and wondering why their’ super tool isn’t working.

  33. keepitreal August 22nd, 2009 12:49 am

    I appreciate the link since I did not know that exsisted however I know my Uncle was all of those things. If you dont believe me I’ll be happy to email you a copy of his invitation he sent to my family to see him be sworn in. And I most certainly did not want to make it sound as though I was name dropping (even though thats basically what it was) but to make the point that he invited innovation and safety.

    I know as well as any other, that a good firefighter can do 99% of his/her job with a NY roof hook married with a halligan bar or just a plain set of irons. However times will change and new things will come along. As for the cowboy statement, around where I am in Virginia we refer to the individuals who cannot accept safety policies like wearing your SCBA while cutting a vent hole, wearing a seat belt, things of that nature. DMAN – you can come to VA and get your cowboy cert, I know a handful of individuals who have the TTT. LOL.

    I remember the check your feelings at the door rule 9 years ago when I first walked into my firehouse. I just get a little pissed off when people slam things that may work better elsewhere rather than in thier home department. After all it’s just an idea, no one said you had to use it. 🙂

  34. 27truck August 22nd, 2009 1:56 am

    to who ever asked about the ny roof hook and halligen it works great we made one and its on the front bumper of our engine..not the truck i would put it on but our chief thought other wise..saddle up cowboys..ha

  35. Steve August 22nd, 2009 8:46 am

    Being somewhat older and someone that thinks the fire service has gotten a bit soft I will say….to my yournger Brothers… lighten up…if the older guys are busting your balls…let it go…its part of the BROTHERHOOD…if you dont like it…well then maybe you arent one that understands the BROTHERHOOD…. besides…those old Jakes have earned the right to bust balls…believe me…they have had theirs busted as have I by FIREMEN that didnt put up with guys that got their feelings hurt…
    With that said…the roof hook with the rake…seems a bit dangerous to me….I myself wouldnt want the forks of the rake stabbing me if I was using the hook end (Farrell Hook)…. I do appreciate the thought and effort that went into the making of the tool… it just goes to show that firemen are innovative…. some of the best tools have come about from trial and error. BUT!!!! I am not a big fan of the one tool for all occasions…Anyways keep on TRUCKIN…..

  36. Josh Hebrew August 22nd, 2009 11:20 am

    I am loving these comments.

    These guys didnt put in twenty some years on trucks by being a bunch of pussies. Lets let them speak up (brickcity1306) and teach us all a few things.

    Innovations are great and needed but I can respect these guys making it happen with what they have.

  37. brickcity1306 August 22nd, 2009 8:10 pm

    I invite any one to speak up, show your toys. Hell I have put several of the cool tips and hints to work on our rig, and have had several drills based on things that have come up on this site. I have no idea where some of you are from and no offence but I don’t care, but dam there are some soft ass fire stations in this great land by the way some of you cannot take sarcasm and ball busting. I really doubt some of you could have made it through back in the day probation because when I was new the Fire fighters saw a weakness and busted and rode you until you snapped or overcame adapted and moved on. I thank god for those days, it is my opinion that it not only makes you a better and stronger person but a better Fire fighter. So like others have said lads have fun, pull up a chair, and have a good time that is what we are all here for after all we all love what we do..

  38. Steve August 22nd, 2009 9:55 pm

    here …here…. brickcity…I would raise my beer bottle in a toast..but I am @ the fire house tonight…so I will give you a tip of the lid.

  39. T54 Capt August 24th, 2009 9:29 am

    Pussification…LMFAO!!!!!! Amen, Brickcity.

    Dman – Cowboy firefighters are obviously the ones who wear leather chaps and cowboy hats into fires in lieu of helmets and bunkers. Duh. Do I have to teach you guys everything? First it was a lesson on right & left handed latex gloves, and now this. What’s the world coming to?

    As far as implementing a new idea – I did. See the post about wrapping webbing around a probie and donkey punching him to pull the meter. I came up with it, I implemented it, and it works. And guess what, no one dissed me for it! Imagine that.

    Obviously it’s a slow day here, hence the long winded post. I think I’ll go polish my spurs…

  40. riley August 24th, 2009 11:42 am

    S’why I love this site.

  41. FF_Goodnight August 25th, 2009 12:14 am

    Yee Haw T54! Thanks for resolving the left and right handed glove issue, now im trying to figure out what to do when i find 3 gloves left in the box???

  42. RDoucette August 28th, 2009 6:57 pm

    I just wanted to throw in some info, as some people had questions to the hook I made. First, I just want to say that this is not a Boston Rake (measurements differ, angles differ…etc). Is it similar, yes, but I made the entire tool from stem to stern. I dont want any copyright infringements or trademark problems. I made this hook after talking to a few brothers and getting ideas…from Boston all the way the coast to DC. I made a few of these so far for a few brothers, and I have heard many positive comments, and a few negative comments which I happily recieve as I am always looking for improvement. So to start off, I have made 6′ and 4′ versions of this. They are not all fabricated with the “shark fin” or pry end… only at the request of the person I am making it for. One thing I hear ALOT is “its heavy”. I personally like a heavy tool (I PERSONALLY LIKE A HEAVY TOOL), I can already picture the jokes. To me being able to clear a wood or vinyl frame window in one swoop is quick efficient and less stressful. Being able to score pierce and pull gypsum and or plaster in a few short quick manuvers is equally as such. Wood lathe is not so bad to breach, but the metal lathe is the real kicker. The “shark fin” has been very beneficial for breaching metal lathe. The 6′ fully equipped hook is roughly 20+- pounds while the 4′ fully equipped hook is about 12+- pounds. If anyone has any suggestions or criticism please reply and let me know. If anyone would like to try one, let me know as well, and i’ll see what i can do. Please be aware that I hand make these and I done have an assy line. Thank you all and be safe!!!

  43. gmac September 2nd, 2009 11:16 am

    heavy tool!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Brickcity1306 September 3rd, 2009 4:58 pm

    Better,,, HEAVY TOOL and wood in the same paragraph haaaa good times !!! YO Rdoucette I am looking for a pinch bar/probe hook with a donkey kick option, ya think you can hook a brother up???

  45. RDOUCETTE September 4th, 2009 1:42 am

    Whatever you need dude. I am happy to see that wood and heavy tool were used in the same paragraph. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy in my happy place! Seriously if you need something send me an email… Regarding a donkey kick option……I will have to kill my donkey first.

  46. Alfie6 January 1st, 2010 9:21 pm

    The old “keep it the way it’s always been” attitude and “keep it in your house”. I mean, you must not have any idea about the future of the fire dept. as far as creating tools to help and save room on the trucks. At least these guys are going above and beyond to help their fellow brothers. The brickcity1306 just must be upset about a “smaller” problem down there and will be gone soon, we always have to be looking ahead in the future. Keep these ideas up, and DONT just throw names out there in sake of arguing to make yourself actually look important, so yea i would ratehr blow ya!! Stay low brkcity.

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