Truck Work Challenge

Lieutenant Kenneth Pagurek from Philadelphia Squad 47/B sent in these pictures of a structure that would require some great truck work. The crew of Squad 47 came across this mess while checking out their area. Photo credit goes out to Firefighter Terry Lorson and the rest of the 47’s gang. The structure has store fronts and residential units, with all sorts of surprises: billboards mounted to the facade and the roof, roll up doors, fence, razor wire and the list goes on… We know this may not be in your area, but it’s a great time to review with the crews about prioritizing your truck work. Use this one a company drill around the dinner table. There is a lot that needs to be done and overcome on this structure. What needs to be done first? Who’s going to accomplish the task? What tools are needed?

Click here to see more pictures of the structure.


From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat

Jimm Walsh, co-founder and webmaster here at will be presenting From the Jump Seat to the Front Seat on Tuesday October 12, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. The class is being hosted by the Central Ohio FOOLS, and is being held at the Columbus Local 67 Union Hall. 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.


Set Up for Failure

A long time friend sent in these pictures of a ladder compartment that is set up for failure. This particular ladder compartment is split into two sides and stores the ladders in a vertical fashion. However, that has nothing to do with the problem, take a close look in that compartment. Shovels, water keys, hooks, and a broom all have to be removed from the compartment before the ladders can be removed. …No wonder why the ladders aren’t getting thrown. It reflects the unfortunate trend that is plaguing the fire service (not throwing enough ladders.) While we totally understand the fact that there is never enough room on the rig, we need to keep our mission in mind. Today’s fireground presents us with enough challenges; we don’t need to bring our own. The ladders will do us no good if they are still in the compartment. It comes down to a matter of company pride. Take pride in your rig, and ensure that it is set-up for success, not failure. If we don’t who will?


Triple Roof Prop

Aaron Foster from DCFD sent in these photos of three different roof props they have at the DCFD training facility. The first is flat roof, the second is a 6/12 pitch, and the third is a 12/12 pitch. The frames of the props are made with doubled up 2×10’s. The joists are made with 2×6’s (with 2×4’s on top) attached to the 2×10 frame with joist hangers. The 2×4’s are on top as sacrificial pieces that can be easily (and cheaply) replaced after someone runs the saw too deep. The props are mounted to telephone poles that are buried into the ground. The cut surfaces are simply sheets of plywood that can quickly and easily be removed and replaced after each training exercise. The painted areas of the prop show the “do not cut” areas, and ladder placement on the pitched roofs. These props are an extremely simple and effective way to teach (and perfect) saw technique. It allows for a large group of people to observe the cutting operation to maximize on the learning opportunity.

The photo below shows the entire frame without the sheeting, you can see that the sacrificial 2x4s are not yet in place.

The picture below was taken with the prop upside down on the bay floor. Its just a closeup of how the 2×6 fits in the joist hanger with the 2×4 on top (actually on bottom in this case since the prop is upside down)


Do you Really Know?

Do you really now that building in your area where you run to all of the time for fire alarms or service calls? Have you ever taken the time to do a thorough walk around to learn all of its intricacies? Do you have a pre-plan, have you ever read it, and is it even up to date? While we know that this probably isn’t in your first due area, it is in Ladder 12’s. FEO West McBride from High Point (NC) Ladder 12 sent in these pictures of a recent find the crews of Ladder 12 and Engine 26 discovered during some area familiarization.

This style of roof construction is more prevalent than you may think, primarily so the AC units can all be placed on the roof out of sight. So think about it… Do you really know your first due?


2010 FOOLS Convention

Jimm Walsh, co-founder and webmaster here at will be presenting at the upcoming 2010 FOOLS Convention on September 24th. He will be presenting: ”The Lost Art of the Truck Company.” Check out the FOOLS International website for more details.

Here is a short write-up about the program:

The Lost Art of the Truck Company: Truck company functions have quickly become the lost art of the fire service. Many common fire ground tasks are done simply because that’s what people were trained to do. Many firefighters do not truly understand “why” they are performing certain tasks on the fire ground. Learn some of the most important reasons why truck company functions need to be performed efficiently and effectively at every single fire.


Double Decker Crib

We recently received an email from Chris Johnson, the Vice President of the Fire Instructors & Officers Association of New Hampshire with information for this extremely interesting product. The pictures speak for themselves:

While these cribs were originally intended to be used in day care centers, it would not be unreasonable to find one in a residential setting for a family with twins. In fact, there are a number of websites geared toward marketing these cribs specifically to parents of twins. One of the available options for these cribs is an acrylic gate as shown below. The acrylic gate is a special concern because in a low visibility environments, the crib could certainly be mistaken for a bookcase, dresser, or some other piece of furniture. Another interesting situation created by these cribs is that unlike a common crib were the child can simply be lifted out, these have to be “un-latched” to remove the child. Some of them have some intricate latching systems, obviously we could get it open in no time, it’s just another thing that we’d have to deal with. This once again proves the point that we never know what we may come across out there.


Closet Roll-Up

Here is another interesting place to find a roll-up door. Lieutenant Brice Reynolds from Augusta (GA) Aerial Truck 1 sent in this picture (taken by Sergeant Bobby Fleming) of something they ran into during a smoke removal operation after a cooking fire in an apartment building. This bedroom closet had a storage building style roll-up door complete with slide type padlock assembly. The occupant stated the roll-up was present when she rented the apartment, and the building owner stated that it could used to keep roommates from disturbing personal items. (Perhaps re-reevaluating your choice in roommates would be in order if you felt this was necessary…)

It’s another example of something unexpected we may come across during the primary search. The fact that this is present (and behind an outward swinging door) should be enough to justify passing it and not searching it during the primary. An announcement of its presence may be appropriate on the radio (depending on department procedures,) and special consideration of checking the area during the secondary should be in order.


Expect the Unexpected

Tim Ransom from Charlotte (NC) Engine 11 sent in this photo of another interesting door set-up. This business converted a standard roll-up door into a 36” outward swinging door. As you can see the original roll-up was left in place and concrete poured to fill the remaining opening making the new door flush with the building. This installation poses two potentially challenging situations: The first being the need to force the roll-up after forcing the outward swinging door. The limited exposed surface area of the roll-up leaves few options and will undoubtedly require some saw work. Not extremely difficult, but will require some time, and serves as another reason to always have the saw when operating in the rear of a commercial occupancy. The second issue could be conflicting reports from inside and outside crews. If a MAYDAY situation occurred, the crews on the inside might report that they are at (or near) a roll-up door on Side C, but the outside crew would only see the 36” outward swinging one. Hopefully, the outside crew would not waste much time and quickly discover the double door setup. As we have shown so many times in the past here on VES, when it comes to building construction and forcible entry, we always need to expect the unexpected.


Up Against a Fence
Engineer Brandon Roark from South Bend (IN) sent in these pictures of something they recently ran across at a local strip mall. The business was secured with a chain link fence and rolling gate, inside the store. The fence sat approximately two and a half feet inside the entrance. The fence covered the entire store (all four walls had a fence.) The rear door was also blocked by a fence, but it did not have a gate present. Now this fence would be nothing more than a slight inconvenience to anyone with a tool, but it could certainly catch you by surprise. Simply another reason not to drop your tools at the door.

Since the fence sat 2.5ft inside the front windows, it may initially go unnoticed if the store was charged with smoke. After the door is forced, and the push begins, it would become obvious. It goes to show you that in these tough economic times business owners may not be securing their occupancies in the more traditional fashions we are used to seeing (these methods may cost them money.) These “non-traditional” homebrew security devices will undoubtedly become a more common item we’ll run across. As with every forcible entry situation we are faced with: slow down! Identify and Visualize what you are trying to defeat… work smarter not harder.


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