Bowring Tool Uses
I'm a Bowring owner. I've heard plenty of opinions, good and bad, but I'm getting my money's worth out of it and was curious if anyone else has come up with alternative uses to those the company's website and youtube has talked about.
I'm all for humorous posts, but would appreciate keeping the "use it to pick your nose" stuff to a minimum. I'm really interested in seeing what other users are coming up with.
So far I've found that it has a good application in self rescue through a high window (maybe like what you might encounter in an old basement). Using a hose strap, throw a girth hitch around the 1 3/4" side hook (or through the hole and then over the hook for a more secure placement) and then use the tool to take the window out. Hook the window ledge with the 2 1/2" hook and then use the hose strap as a step to get yourself up and out. Adjust the height of the loop to get maximum reach by simply tying a knot in the webbing at the highest point you can physically get your foot. We were taught the same technique using a pike pole on the ledge of the window,but I don't bring a pike pole in unless I'm overhauling. During the knockdown, I have Irons, but neither of those is useful in that type of application (although you could use the halligan as a step-stool when it's leaned up against the wall). The Bowring works nicely to fill in that gap between tool sets.
Also, although a bit more far fetched, you could use the Bowring to "shinny" up a 1 3/4" line. Place 2 1/2" hook on the toe of your boot (if it fits, which my size 11 boots do), so the 1 3/4" hook is pointing up in the air, then lock the 1 3/4" hook onto the hose (the same way you do when advancing a line). It essentially works the same way as it does when shuffling hose into a building, except you are shuffling yourself up the hose, almost like a prussik. Takes a lot of upper body work, but better than trying to straight climb up and out on a hose under your own power.
I commented on the youtube videos to see how the tool could be applied to forcible entry and Denver Drills, which they mention on their website but don't explain elsewhere. Anyone have any ideas on that? I'll try to keep posting if I find anything else worth using this thing for.
(I did use it to hook a panic bar on an outward swinging door the other night, although I think if it were any other door, with a smaller gap and not as much play, I wouldn't have been able to get the angle needed to hook the thing, so it's a pretty limited application.)
Bump. Anyone have any feedback on their experiences with the tool? I've contacted Bowring to see if they have any suggestions on uses for forcible entry beyond working as a hammer, and for the Denver drill. I'll post up when I hear back.
Can't honestly say that I have ever seen one. I know that no firefighter on any of my FDs has one and I have never seen one in the hundred or so other FDs I have been in.
Where do you store that thing? Looks kind of big for a bunker coat or pants pocket.
It fits about right in a bunker pant pocket. Smaller than some things I've kept in there in the past. =) It's a bit hefty, and I guess they could lighten it up a bit by using aluminum or something, but I like it as is. I want to be able to beat the crap out of the thing without worrying about whether I'm going to bend it up or something.
So far it excels most at advancing and handling 2 1/2" line, but I'm still playing around with it. Haven't had a chance to take out any windshields or anything.
Talking to myself, but for the 500 who have read through the post, I thought I'd add some observations I've made in using the Bowring at my most recent house fires. I stick by the 2 1/2 hose handling, but it seems like it doesn't handle the same on a 1 3/4" line. It's still nice for backing someone up, but seems a little awkward for using it while I was on the nozzle. The tool doesn't secure as nicely on the 1 3/4" line.
It's real handy for salvage and overhaul. Great for punching through & ripping down drywall (and moreso when I was the nozzleman, because I didn't have a halligan or pike pole with me, but didn't need to leave to get a tool). I used it with a carabiner & hooked a tarp up over a closet for use as a water chute until I could get something a little better rigged up. It's done plenty of work as a spanner, to make and break connections.
I also got to use it as a mattress hook; we've got actual mattress/hay hooks on the engines but I can't imagine someone going out to get one to actually pull a mattress out with. It was handy and much nicer than yanking on a spring.
I've made use of it as a prying tool, and I feel like I could jump on it without damaging it, so I'm not worried about misusing it or something.
I really want to get my hands on a windshield to see how it feels ripping glass. I tried the same technique with drywall with mixed results. Seems like it was just faster to "brass knuckle" it to death and rip out the sections.
I'd still love to hear feedback or ideas for others using them.
I don't mean to sound like a dick, but it would seem that the majority here may be just like me and never seen one. Or maybe they have and just decided they didn't like it. I don't know. The truth is if it works for you and you like it that's all that matters.
It actually looks useful for hoseline advancement. We've gotten by without it for years but it looks interesting. Not sure if you care about what others think of you, but im sure you would catch some ribbing from other firefighters for using something to assist in hoseline advancement. You know how we can be about stuff like that.
Not a bad tool for somebody of small stature who needs a bit of help moving lines though.
Just another update...
I've used the bowring again on 1 3/4" line with better results. I think the first time I used it, our TFT nozzle was set to the low pressure setting, not the standard pressure. With a little higher pressure to the nozzle, the tool was able to get a better bite on the stiffer hose. Still not necessary for 1 3/4" handlines, but it's definitely my go-to for 2 1/2" lines.
I got to use it on a couple windshields since my first posts, and it works as advertised. About as easy, maybe easier than chopping the windshield with an axe. The only disadvantage is that you lose reach, so for a taller vehicle it could be difficult to do the job unless you could stand in the wheel well or something.