1. #1
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    Default Chainsaw vs. K-12

    I really need some help! My chief has told us that we will no longer use chainsaws for vertical ventilation, but K-12's only. I have no issue w/ the saw being used for certain aspects of vertical vent such as flat or metal roofs, after all the saw was designed to cut metal & concrete. My problem is that the K-12 may not be the proper tool for vertical vent every time. You guys know as well as I that no 2 fires are the same & we can't use the same techniques on every fire. I feel that the chainsaw is a safer choice for peeked roof vent but I would really like to bring my department some research to back me up. Does anyone know where I can get some case studies or recommendations from accredited agencies about which saw is better for peaked roof vent?

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    I am unaware of any studies that would help you, but have you considered a drill session? Obtain a building with a peaked roof that is slated to be demolished, and get the members out to train with both saws. See which one they prefer, and which is safer to operate with while on a peaked roof. I understand that this may be easier said than done, if your chief officers are unwilling to accept feedback or can not swallow their pride. Good luck.

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    Seriously? Your chief dictates which saws you use? Sounds like another case of absurd micro-management. Are your company officers totally alienated by this?

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    This has never happened in the past. We've always chosen the saw for the job (i.e chainsaw for wood & k-12 for metal), i think our chief has gotten some "tainted" info. Our officers, at least the officers on my shift, fought this one, but their opinion wouldnt be heard. This is gonna be a tough one I think.

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    They won't fight each other, they're friends.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Our "rule of thumb" is if you can't walk on the roof use the chainsaw, if the pitch is slight enough to walk, the K12.

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    To help with your research, maybe you should find out why this decision was made.

    As far as comparing saws: A K-12 is bigger, harder to handle, gyrates and runs at a lower RPM (around 9,000) than a vent saw. As you have stated, K-12 is primarily designed to cut metal and concrete. Since we encounter metal objects more often than concrete, most companies run with a metal blade on the saw. If you were sent to the roof to ventilate a wood frame structure, you would need to change blades before conducting your operation. If you ran a carbide tip blade on your K-12 and encountered a metal object (door, security bars, chain), then you would have to change blades (all of which takes valuable time on the fireground).

    The vent saw {such as Cutters Edge (although a great saw, I am not a vendor endorsing a product)} was designed for fire service use. It is lighter, more compact, does not gyrate, and runs at a higher RPM (around 14,000). The carbide tip bullet chain (combined with the high RPM) will cut wood, light metal, asphalt shingles and tar paper with ease. Plus, the vent saw gives a better "feel" when you encounter a truss and need to roll the blade and not cut through it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FSJerome View Post
    Does anyone know where I can get some case studies or recommendations from accredited agencies about which saw is better for peaked roof vent?
    I don't know if you will find "studies or recommendations from accredited agencies" but you will certainly find feedback on here from enough guys who have experience with busy departments to be able to provide feedback.

    I have to wonder why your chief is dictating this silly mandate? Could it have anything to do with the cost of fire service style carbide-tipped chains? If so, that tells me that you are using the wrong (too slow!) chainsaw and are throwing teeth. We had the same problem for years, and I don't know how many chains we bought (at about a hundred bucks a pop) for our saw. Later after doing some research, we figured out we were using the wrong saw- was not powerful enough to make the chain spin efficiently (fast) enough. We switched to a different unit, and lo and behold, no more thrown teeth.

    As far as the chainsaw vs. circular saw, I have to saw in my own experience (19 years in both career and volunteer departments) that chainsaws are far better for residential (peaked) or wooden commercial applications. I feel that they perform more efficiently and discharge debris better. Circular saws will also do a good job on wood decked roofs, if they have the right blade (I wouldn't use anything but a WARTHOG) blade, but again, IMO, a chainsaw is the way to go.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    What was the reason he gave? Was there a safety incident that involved a chainsaw, something in another department of the city or something? I know it's hard to believe but even Chief's have a boss . Maybe a city manager or insurance issue prevents the use of one. I say ask him and see what he say's. I'm sure he will give you a reason or you could request an explanation through the chain of command safety or training department. Knowing why the directive was given will certainly help in your attempt to getting it changed.

    That said, I prefer chainsaws myself on most applications but have no problem using the K-12 either. Depends on what your trying to achieve and the level of risk your willing to take. A chainsaw is more risk than a K-12 (in my opinion) to the operator. I don't know of any studies involving rescue but I do recall a few incidents through OSHA that I can see if I can find. It wouldn't help your case though and it's not comparing apples to apples.

    Be safe, R2

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    it depends on how your members go about cutting a peaked roof. I'd much rather use a K12, but I dont think many people take the same approach I do.

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    Either/or.We got a NEW K12 960 with a 'hog and a Bullet saw to go with it. I've cut a lot of stuff with the Bullet and the only thing I don't like about it is the blade guard,gets gummed up too easy. We will have two and two on the Platform plus a utility saw so choice will be up to the Truckie that has to cut the hole. T.C.

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    I really appreciate all the info guys. We weren't given a reason why this decision was made, it was pretty much just "this is the way it will be". Again I have no prob. w/ either saw but I feel that one saw is not perfect for every application. Our chainsaws are your standard Husky's w/ regular everyday chains. Personally, I haven't had much prob w/ the regular chain as long as they are changed after ever use. There have been no safety issues w/ the using the chainsaws that I'm aware of, & if your dept is anything like mine, that is def. something we would hear about. Please keep the comments coming.

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    We had a job today. Ranch house, asphalt shingles, roofing paper, and 3/4 inch roof boards. I cut 2 vent holes, both over 4 by 4 foot.

    I used a Cutter's Edge chain saw with no depth gauge. I actually prefer the saw without the gauge. I am very familiar with chain saws having cut firewood for years. I like the no torque turn of a chain saw over a K12 style saw. I can easily feel when I hit a rafter or truss with the chain and I can lift up and not cut through them.

    Personal choice I guess really. Whatever your FD says to use. We do carry K12 saws for metal roofs or concrete. We train on them and I am quite comfortable in their use. I just prefer the chain saw for the above type situations.

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    And yet another item we agree on.The CE is a greaat saw if you get rid of that GD guard. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    And yet another item we agree on.The CE is a greaat saw if you get rid of that GD guard. T.C.
    We have actually had circumstances where roofs with multiple layers have been too thick for the saw to get through with the depth gauge in place. Makes for a lot of chopping!!

    Being comfortable with the saw and trained in its use makes the gauge unnecessary anyways.

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