12-03-2009, 11:02 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
Do you drop your tool to escape a fire???
During a training exercise my partner and I where doing a primary search in a multi room burn building. We where located in a back room at the charley / delta side, at which time the emergency evacuation signal sounded. Both my partner and I began immediate evacuation, just 10 feet in front of us was a Lt., acting as operations. He saw we had a set of irons, he yelled out to us “Don’t worry about those **** tools, drop them and get the *&@ out of here!” I informed him I wasn’t doing that, I looked at my partner and told him not to drop his tool. We continued out of the building. During our critiquing he brought this up with anger, he didn’t understand why we where so concerned about these tools valued at less then $500.00? Your thoughts?...
12-03-2009, 11:22 AM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
- pen argyl pa
Face it, Filling out a report for a missing/damage tool is alot easier then filling out a LODD report. They make more tools everyday, they only make one of you.
12-03-2009, 11:36 AM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Lusby, MD
As always the answer is it depends. Depending on how far you are into the building, you may need the tools in order to exit.
Those tools and your SCBA are all that you have. If debris has fallen between you and the exit, you might need them to get through or breach a wall. A haligan can also be used to secure a line in a window on an upper floor to escape.
While I agree that the loss of the tool is minor compared to a firefighters life, I would keep them with me as long as I can. My concern is not for the value of the tools, but having them with me if needed.
Last edited by Eng34FF; 12-03-2009 at 11:37 AM. Reason: additional info
12-03-2009, 12:50 PM #4
My opinion is that if you have hand tools, do not drop them. Irons, axes, TnT or other tools may become essential to your survival should something happen while you are evacuating.
If you need to forcibly exit a building, it's a lot easier to get thru walls with these kinds of tools.
A hand line I would leave in place, but keep the tools. There is a reason why an emergency evac is being sounded, assume and prep for the worst case scenario. To me at least, that means that I may have to force my way out of the building.
Beside the point that it doesn't add any more time or effort to keep them with you.
Just my thoughts, which are very similar to 34's.
12-03-2009, 01:28 PM #5
12-03-2009, 02:54 PM #6
12-03-2009, 03:04 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
I disagree with the answer that it depends. You should always have at least 1 tool for every team of guys. Especially in this scenario when there is an evacuation signal. That usually means that collapse is more likely and if you run into this collapse you're really going to want something to get yourself out! Regardless of what anyone tells me I am always sure to grab a tool before I enter a building even if it is my 10th time in that building that day.
12-03-2009, 03:26 PM #8
Not arguing that you shouldn't have a tool with you at all times.
However if the evacuation signal is given and I am 5 feet from a window on the first floor, say bye bye Mr Tool as "till we all come home" doesn't account for you.
Depends is the correct answer. There is very little black and white in situations. If you have to travel a ways to get to an exit, take the tools. If you can see the exit and the tool will only slow you, leave the thing. Why does it always have to be black and white? Common sense and proper training do more to prepare someone for the grey area you will experience as it will teach people to think on their feet. Black and white doesn't teach that, only prepares them for that perfect situation which they will never experience.Co 11
Virginia Beach FD
Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?
'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.
12-03-2009, 03:36 PM #9
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Lusby, MD
If the tool isn't slowing me down, I'm taking it with me.
If I have to do an emergency ladder bailout, the tool can stay in the building. If I use it to tie off my escape rope, it can stay. If I have to breach a wall and the tool won't fit, it can stay behind.
I want that tool with me if possible, but if I can't take it I don't have a problem leaving it behind. Soooo...It depends.
12-03-2009, 03:49 PM #10
12-03-2009, 04:28 PM #11
In the course of having to make rapid exit from the fire building, what would have happened if you came across a locked door, or a boarded up window, etc etc etc etc............What if you needed to breach a wall to get out? What then? You can kick a hole through sheetrock, but you are not going to kick through a masonry wall. During the critique I would have (CALMLY) countered that I was not going to drop my tools under any circumstance where I could physically carry them.
His angry reaction and his preference that you drop hand tools makes me think that he is either very young, and/or very inexperienced.
Last edited by FWDbuff; 12-03-2009 at 04:52 PM."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
12-03-2009, 04:40 PM #12
12-03-2009, 11:04 PM #13
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
Of course you'd leave the tool! You can always get another rookie! Oh wait, that's not what you meant is it....?
As has already been stated...take the tools with you up to the point of them being a hinderance. New tools can be purchased (or "acquired" from another company/department). Perhaps the instructor was only thinking of that particular training evolution, and not thinking about real life situations that may come up? Not a defense of him, just wondering. If he was only seeing it as training, then he needs to remind himself of doing it right in practice increases the chance of doing it right in real time.
12-04-2009, 02:22 AM #14
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
12-04-2009, 02:43 AM #15
12-04-2009, 07:50 AM #16
That tool may be your only means to make a door. That tool might be the only thing that can help you save your life. Did that Lt happen to mention that? Did the drill require you to go back the way you went in or was the MAYDAY about teaching you to get out anyway you can?
Given the scenario, alot of things must be considered. You were in a back room. Since it may not be known where the closest exterior door is located, and it may not be known what you will encounter along your way, take the tool as long as it does not impeded your escape.
You don't tell us if you're a volunteer or FT. It doesn't matter to me. The mission is the same, so the training and the commitment to training must be the same.
We are talking about escape...
For the interior guys the firefight is over, now it is about fighting for survival.
If we are going to teach our guys how to survive, then we must teach them to breach a wall, go out a window, tie off their rope and bail out... etc.
Many of these MAYDAY exercises are conducted only to heighten awareness, and do not utilize the correct props. We sell our guys short by telling them to go back to the door, follow the hose, listen to the sounds. If they don't train it for real, they will be forced to improvise upon demand, and some will just fail.
If we want guys to understand how to survive, let them take out the wall with the tool. Teach them to remove their packs and push it through in front of them. Have them use any means at their disposal to escape. Don't limit their chances by taking their tools away or by not giving them license to solve the problem. Our job is to train firefighters that can "think".
During a MAYDAY drill or in the real deal, I expect firefighters to exit the most expediant way, not necessarily the same way they went in. The question and given mission is subjective and will depend on too many variables to be solved here. But if we don't give these guys the right skill set, the "After Action Investigation" will shred everything from the IC down to the training.... Will it not?
About Instructors: I've been instructing firefighters for about 20 years, career and volunteers. It has never been about me or what I think. These people depend on me delivering a message that changes their life. If I harrass, embarrass, belittle or insult them, I didn't do my job; I have failed as an instructor. I must tell them the truth... this job and the things we ask you to do can cause you injury and it might even kill you. My job is to give you the knowledge, skillset and tools so you do not become a statistic. I have to teach you to trust your team, equipment and mostly in yourself.
When we push guys through the skills, there is always confusion; orders yelled, radio traffic, people humping. The time for raising their blood pressure and forcing results is during the drill. We push guys past their limits, make them better than they thought they were. We have to do that as safe as possible but still make it as real as possible.
But there is no reason to tear a guy apart after the drill. If he failed, do it again. Provide encouragement. If we drive him off, sure, we can say, "he can't cut it", and we can feel like we did him a favor. Really?
I never made it my job to decide who is going to pass my class. Depending upon the departments level of standards, many will not make the cut. But if we drive them out using bully-tactics, we are failing. Most that cannot do it, know it, and most of the time they take themselves out.
How many of you were the guy that puked in the facepiece the first time during blackout? How many of you were the guy that got caught up on the ladder carrying Randy? How many of you tripped and caused the team to fall during a hose drill? Did anyone let you give up on yourself. None of us are or were the perfect firefighter. We pushed it down and worked it out. And we are better for it.
This job isn't about second chances when you're in the fight.
Training is about learning to overcome.
Training is about correcting weakness or issues.
Training is about building a team and confidence.
An instructor who feels the need to yell and beat his chest has made it about him; his power, his domain, his little world...
Keep the tool until you must drop it. You'll know when it is time, trust me.
I respectfully yield the rest of my time to the gentlemen to my left.
Last edited by PaladinKnight; 12-05-2009 at 06:56 AM.
12-04-2009, 09:06 AM #17
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
The only reason I would drop my tool would be if it hinders my escape and survival. If it doesn't slow me down then there is no reason to leave it behind.
I'm not worried about saving a $250 tool, I'm worried about that $250 tool saving me."They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
12-04-2009, 12:20 PM #18
The way I see it, would you leave a fellow brother !?!? What if that tool is the very reason you get out alive, maybe you have to breach a wall, maybe you need an anchor for a quick bail out, what if possibly you need it to get those burglar bars off the window you were in a hurry to get too.
You must never, but never leave or drop a tool. Somewhere down the line you will need it.
12-04-2009, 05:02 PM #19
Welcome to the Forums. That was a good, sensible question for your first post.
I agree with keeping the tools if possible. All the above reasons are very valid. If you're in a back room, as in your training scenario, and you need to get into a front apartment to get to a ladder and the entrance door is locked you're stuck in the hall. Now, fire below takes off or there's a stairway collapse ... you're in a lousy situation.
I wonder how much real search experience the acting operations LT has.
12-04-2009, 05:29 PM #20I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.
"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."
"When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."
12-04-2009, 05:40 PM #21
Playing Devils advocate here...I think the handline is a "it depends" answer. Are you holding back fire as you escape or not.
12-04-2009, 06:03 PM #22
12-05-2009, 06:01 AM #23
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
Emergency Evacuation and your tools
First of all, your Lt. needs to understand that the hand tools that we carry are designed to get us into spaces , but more importantly, they are also designed to get us out of them too. The cost of replacing the tools is irrelevant. When you are evacuating a building, you may need your tools again to facilitiate forcing your way out if your primary and/or secondary means of egress become blocked or are now nonexistent. Depending on how deep we are into the building, we may need our tools to fight our way back to our primary or secondary point of ingress/egress. Also, once the building is evacuated, we still have a fire to fight and we may still need our tools for exterior ops.
12-05-2009, 02:16 PM #24
12-05-2009, 07:57 PM #25
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