We have talked before about some of the things that must be done at the beginning of the tour or during the drill night, but this particular subject is worthy of even more discussion. I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear the words "check the tools," but I hope it is a...
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There is another task that must be conducted when each tool is handled. This applies to both power tools and hand tools. Clean them! If the company operated at a fire or emergency in the past several hours or during the last tour, the tools may be downright dirty. This means bringing the tools to the sink or hose and applying steel wool, brushes and soap. Each tool should be cleaned, dried and replaced in its compartment. Some steel tools can be lightly oiled to prevent formation of rust. Do not oil striking surfaces! Wipe them all down every time you check them.
Nothing says more about a fire company than the condition of its tools. Make your tools shine and so will you.
JOHN J. SALKA Jr., a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 28-year veteran battalion chief with FDNY, the commander of the 18th battalion in the Bronx. Salka has instructed at several FDNY training programs, including the department's Probationary Firefighters School, Captains Management Program and Battalion Chiefs Command Course. He conducts training programs at national and local conferences and has been recognized for his firefighter survival course "Get Out Alive." Salka co-authored the FDNY Engine Company Operations manual and wrote the book First In, Last Out — Leadership Lessons From the New York Fire Department. He also operates Fire Command Training (www.firecommandtraining.com), a New York-based fire service training and consulting firm.