It’s in the Bag

In a post a few weeks ago titled “Set It Don’t Forget It” there seemed to be some misunderstandings on the capabilities of lift bags that we felt should be cleared up. We apologize in advance for the heavy use of math that is contained in this post.

Click Here for the supplemental page containing the information.


Happy 3rd Birthday to Us!

It’s that time of the year again, it’s hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Three years ago this website was created as a neutral, unbiased and un-intimidating medium were we could share ideas, methods, and techniques of this great profession. We truly believe that Truck Company functions are an art, and have become The Lost Art of The Fire Service. It is imperative that we protect this art for generations to come. The avenue to a safer fire service is by being proactive rather than reactive in both our training and our tactics. We need to bring back the aggressive yet safe attitude to the fire service, in order to continue to protect each other on the fire ground. This can only be accomplished through sharing the knowledge and educating each other.

We can honestly say this site has been much more of a success then we could have ever possibly imagined. This website was started with the intentions of sharing some information on the local level. Thanks to each of you, it quickly became so much more than that. We have gotten emails, comments, and material from people all over the world! The overwhelming success of this site would not be possible without each and every one of you. No amount of thanks could possibly be enough. It is because of you, our loyal readers, that this site is what it is!

Here are some of the statistics from first three years:
We have had 222 posts, with 4191 comments.
We have had over 950,000 visits to the site, with an average of over 3,800 per day.
We have had over 24,000,000 “hits.”
We are accessed regularly in more than 30 different countries.

We have some big things in the works for the future. Thank you for your continued support an understanding as we continue to expand the site. Stay safe, and train hard!


Column Placement

Here’s another brilliant building addition that we recently came across. This was found at the rear of a commercial strip mall style building. Apparently they added an exit for a second floor mezzanine. When they did, they placed one of the columns that support the egress stair right in front of the rear exit door for the main level of the occupancy. This makes the door impossible to open. There is only a one or two inch gap between the door and the column. Two options come to mind on how to open his door (if we absolutely had to) unfortunately both of which remove the ability to control the door after the force. One idea is to cut the hinges and hope there is enough space between the column and door to force it open from the hinge side. The other would be to make a vertical cut the full height of the door, on the left (hinge side) of the column. This would allow the remaining small section of door on the left to hinge open and the remaining right side to just fall out of the way. It’s another less than ideal situation that we may eventually find ourselves in, and need to be able to think outside the box.


Room With No View

Chief Joe Tarquinio from Wappingers Falls (NY) Fire sent in these pictures demonstrating the reason to search closets during a primary. Firefighter Tom Gallman originally found this set-up when they were evacuating the building for a natural gas leak. This closet is located in the living room (under the stairs) and has a single bi-fold closet door with custom extension cord handle. Besides the bed, the closet had a descent sized TV located at the foot of the bed. Normally we don’t post camera phone pictures, however this one seemed like a great follow up from our previous post and discussion about primary searches.


Broom Closet?

Captain David Osgood from York Beach (ME) Fire found this door in a residence in his first due. The door only measures 16 inches across and may originally appear to be a broom or linen closet. Once the door is opens it reveals the hidden secret.

The door leads down to what appears to be a child’s bedroom in the basement. This set-up brings out an important discussion. Would you have found this during a search? Would this door have been passed during the primary search due to its small size and swing direction? There are pros & cons to either answer, but it certainly makes for a good discussion around the firehouse dinner table.


Canal Access

Lieutenant Ken Ossowicz from Cape Coral Fire (FL) Truck 9 found this interesting setup during a preplan. What he found was a pretty typical lightweight multi-unit mercantile building. Not much to discuss from the front, however a view of the “C” side raised some questions.

Lt. Ossowicz thought a call to the prevention bureau was in order. They explained that the original plans called for a wooden staircase to extend from each rear door down to the ground. After approval of the plans, it was later learned that there is a water main running under the strip of grass in the rear of the building preventing them from building the stairs. Since the building occupancy is relatively low and the travel distance from rear to front is small, it did not meet the requirements for a rear egress. So the building owner was told to weld them shut. It’s obviously not an ideal situation, but its better to find this out now prior to a working incident.


Two-Man Technique

Captain Daniel Troxell from DCFD Truck Company 6 sent in this ladder carrying tip. This technique is useful for an outside vent team that needs to transport ladders and tools to a rear position that may be inaccessible for the apparatus. Each member removes a ladder from the either side of apparatus and places them side by side. The hooks are stored already attached to the ladders, similar to what was shown in a post titled DCFD Hook & Ladder a few months back. The ladders are placed on their beams, and each member gets in-between the ladders. The Halligan bar is placed as shown, with the pike end stuck in one of the rung holes on the top beam. Then the ladders are transported to the desired location. Upon arrival, the tools are then removed and laid on the ground, and the ladders are raised into position.


Set It Don’t Forget It

With all of the different settings we have to remember for different types of equipment, here is a simple way to ensure that they are never forgotten. Make up a label for each setting and place on gauges and controllers. This allow for the setting to be remembered in a pinch. Obviously we would rather be able to say that the settings are never forgotten, but we want to guarantee that they are always correct. These labels have been placed on the lift-bag controllers, pneumatic shores, air tools, and cutting torches. This tip works very well on equipment that has different setting for different uses like the pneumatic shores. It’s a simple idea to ensure that the equipment is always being used in a safe and efficient manner.


History Lesson

We received these images from some of the brothers over at Brotherhood Instructors Jamie Morelock from Toledo (OH) and Andrew Brassard from Milton, Ontario. We thought it would be neat to share a little bit of fire service history.

The articles quotes:

The most useful tool on the truck is the Halligan Tool- about 30” long- it is an “ugly bar” of forged steel- weighs only eight pounds, can be used in tight places and can do anything.

It’s nice to see that in all of the years the Halligan has been around very little has changed. There have been many attempts made to make it better, but none have really stuck. In the near future we’ll do a post comparing the Halligan Bar to some of the impostors; you may be surprised to see some of the differences. It was also interesting that the advertisements calls it the Amazing Halligian Bar, interestingly enough, we had a post here on the site a few years back with the same title.

It’s disappointing to see that Wikipedia even has some of the facts wrong. In particular, look at the pictures… That’s no Halligan! Maybe one of these days we’ll take the time to send them a write-up with the corrections.

Click here for the supplemental page with additional pictures of the Real Halligan, and even a few jet axe ones, since some new folks may not have even heard of that method of forcible entry.


Personal Escape Hook

Engineer Jason Simms from Gwinnett County (GA) sent in this tip. He bought a small crow bar at the local home improvement store and cut it off at about 5 inches. He then welded two links of a chain to create an attachment point for personal escape rope. Jason says it works great and is quite a bit cheaper than the commercially sold products. The whole set-up was less than ten bucks. There’s nothing like a little firehouse ingenuity to save a few dollars.


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