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Thread: Best chainsaw chain for salvage and overhaul?

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    Question Best chainsaw chain for salvage and overhaul?

    I've been assigned to research chainsaw chains that will outlast our current carbide chains through our overhaul and salvage. I've settled on the Sabretooth. What is your experience as far as chains are concerned? We use a 39cc STIHL.

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    Chainsaws are quite literally one of, if not THE most dangerous pieces of equipment carried on fire apparatus.

    They are meant for cutting trees and personally I think should be kept that way. I have never seen or heard of a need for a chainsaw in overhaul operations, certainly not salvage.


    In regards to your question, I can't really help you because we replace the blades rarely and always carry extra. But please think twice about changing your tactics in this regards. If you need to make a cut in close quarters like that for some reason, use a sawzall. It's not worth someone loosing a limb.

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    The most dangerous piece of equipment on the fireground is an untrained firefighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynBravest View Post
    Chainsaws are quite literally one of, if not THE most dangerous pieces of equipment carried on fire apparatus.

    They are meant for cutting trees and personally I think should be kept that way. I have never seen or heard of a need for a chainsaw in overhaul operations, certainly not salvage.


    In regards to your question, I can't really help you because we replace the blades rarely and always carry extra. But please think twice about changing your tactics in this regards. If you need to make a cut in close quarters like that for some reason, use a sawzall. It's not worth someone loosing a limb.
    We use chain saws on a regular basis on overhaul. Heavy charring in the end of a joist , it far simpler to slice it off and toss it outside rather than flood the place. I know we could use a cip saw, but we don't use cordless ones and most of the time its far easier to use a chain saw. And to the op, we use a carbide bullet chain on our "vent saw" and a plain old chain on our 18" husky chain saw. Just watch where you cut and if you nick a nail, touch it up with a file.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynBravest View Post
    Chainsaws are quite literally one of, if not THE most dangerous pieces of equipment carried on fire apparatus.
    I think the PPV fan is the most dangerous piece of equipment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PihnzDBQcMM That and or ill trained inexperienced firefighters. Whom use the tools. Not being argumentative, just sayin. Ive cut many a vents with a chain saw no prob. I do agree that they are dangerous, but only if you are untrained or not used properly.

    To answer OP question STIHL Fire /Rescue Saw is GREAT! Only problem with Chainsaws is if you use them like we do, the chains get dulled and are expensive to either resharpen or replace (300.00)! We just get regular chains after the really good carbide tipped ones wear out. No problems there either.
    Last edited by firedan525; 01-08-2014 at 01:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    I think the PPV fan is the most dangerous piece of equipment.

    It isn't anymore dangerous than any other tool or technique used by properly trained firefighters. The problem lies in too many times fire departments buying a fan, not getting trained in its use, and just putting the fan into service, or doing limited training such as watching a video. The biggest factor with PPV is knowing when to use it and when to leave it on the truck.

    To answer OP question STIHL Fire /Rescue Saw is GREAT! Only problem with Chainsaws is if you use them like we do, the chains get dulled and are expensive to either resharpen or replace (300.00)! We just get regular chains after the really good carbide tipped ones wear out. No problems there either.

    I agree that the Stihl Fire/Rescue Saw is a great saw. I adamantly disagree that a regular tree cutting chain will work even close to as good as a carbide tipped chain when it comes to roof venting. Nails will dull a regular chain pretty quickly.
    Different strokes I guess. Funny thing about PPV is Chicago, LA, and the FDNY all use it to some degree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Different strokes I guess. Funny thing about PPV is Chicago, LA, and the FDNY all use it to some degree.
    We use it too... Im just stating that something like a fan can be extremely deadly if used improperly. We use PPV fan all the time it just needs to be used at the right time.

    And as far as the regular chain vs carbide tip, your right the carbide hands down for longeveity but since 300.00 per shot is a little pricey we worked out a deal with our local small engine shop to sharpen our regular chains very cheap. Cutting a few vents will dull them out big time but we only pay I think 10$ to resharpen it. When we get back from call we just put on a freshly sharpened chain.
    Last edited by firedan525; 01-08-2014 at 04:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynBravest View Post
    Chainsaws are quite literally one of, if not THE most dangerous pieces of equipment carried on fire apparatus.
    The apparatus itself is the most dangerous piece of equipment. Some FF's don't even make it to the scene because of the rig, or the person operating it. It's possible that there has been a LODD because of a chainsaw, but I've never seen it.
    They are meant for cutting trees and personally I think should be kept that way. I have never seen or heard of a need for a chainsaw in overhaul operations, certainly not salvage.

    Uh, maybe you should read once in a while, there is a whole world outside of NYC. A proper fire service chain saw is an excellent tool for ventilation and RIT work on many firegrounds. Just like a straight tip nozzle isn't the best choice for every fire, chainsaws do have their pros and cons. But to say they're just for cutting down trees is just ignorant. They even make them to cut concrete.
    In regards to your question, I can't really help you because we replace the blades rarely and always carry extra. But please think twice about changing your tactics in this regards. If you need to make a cut in close quarters like that for some reason, use a sawzall. It's not worth someone loosing a limb.
    A properly trained FF should have no problem with a chainsaw, just like any other tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    We use chain saws on a regular basis on overhaul. Heavy charring in the end of a joist , it far simpler to slice it off and toss it outside rather than flood the place. I know we could use a cip saw, but we don't use cordless ones and most of the time its far easier to use a chain saw. And to the op, we use a carbide bullet chain on our "vent saw" and a plain old chain on our 18" husky chain saw. Just watch where you cut and if you nick a nail, touch it up with a file.
    For whatever reason, the FDNY has not embraced the use of chainsaws at structural fires. We are very comfortable with our Partner saws. I'd say they are probably more reliable in more situations than chainsaws are. Plus blades more easily changed and sharpened. Not to mention the cost of replacing around 400 Partner saws all at once (primaries, backups and spares). As brooklynbravest mentioned, trucks carry a chainsaw for emergency tree and limb removal.
    IMO, chainsaws are not much more dangerous than other saws when used by well trained and experienced users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Different strokes I guess. Funny thing about PPV is Chicago, LA, and the FDNY all use it to some degree.
    To clarify: FDNY only uses fans for "cold" smoke removal and stairwell pressurization. No Positive Pressure Attack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    I think the PPV fan is the most dangerous piece of equipment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PihnzDBQcMM That and or ill trained inexperienced firefighters. Whom use the tools. Not being argumentative, just sayin. Ive cut many a vents with a chain saw no prob. I do agree that they are dangerous, but only if you are untrained or not used properly.

    To answer OP question STIHL Fire /Rescue Saw is GREAT! Only problem with Chainsaws is if you use them like we do, the chains get dulled and are expensive to either resharpen or replace (300.00)! We just get regular chains after the really good carbide tipped ones wear out. No problems there either.
    WARNING! Thread Hijack Alert.
    This concerns the you tube video in firedan525's link. For those who use PPA, what rules of PPA (if any) were broken by the brothers in the video. (Don't know who they are; not trying to embarrass them) They clearly did not get the desired outcome. I'd love to hear input (assuming you can get enough info from the video) on this. Obviously, I have no PPA training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    To clarify: FDNY only uses fans for "cold" smoke removal and stairwell pressurization. No Positive Pressure Attack.
    Hence the "to some degree" comment.
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    captnjak,

    PPA like any other tactic works when appropriate and can be a disaster when not appropriate. i have used it successfully in training and in the real world. It is by no means an automatic tactic and has to be ordered by the officer on the line to be put into operation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    The most dangerous piece of equipment on the fireground is an untrained firefighter.
    Naw, four chiefs trump one lousy wanna be firefighter every day of the week for truly dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Hence the "to some degree" comment.
    To clarify my clarification: That was not aimed at you, but at others who might be confused on the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    captnjak,

    PPA like any other tactic works when appropriate and can be a disaster when not appropriate. i have used it successfully in training and in the real world. It is by no means an automatic tactic and has to be ordered by the officer on the line to be put into operation.
    10-4. Any thoughts on that particular video?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    10-4. Any thoughts on that particular video?
    I am assuming that the guy on the porch in orange fired up a PPV fan and that is when the fire flashed over. I have to make that assumption because I can't see that clearly on my comp.

    Absolutely the wrong place for PPV. The fire was self vented in multiple places, was quite advanced, and in my humble opinion, based on my assumptions from what I believe I am seeing, this was absolutely the wrong place for PPV or to attempt a PPA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I am assuming that the guy on the porch in orange fired up a PPV fan and that is when the fire flashed over. I have to make that assumption because I can't see that clearly on my comp.

    Absolutely the wrong place for PPV. The fire was self vented in multiple places, was quite advanced, and in my humble opinion, based on my assumptions from what I believe I am seeing, this was absolutely the wrong place for PPV or to attempt a PPA.
    I agree video wasn't all that clear. Is your objection based on the extent of fire and possible involvement of structural members? Is it more suited to contents fires?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    For whatever reason, the FDNY has not embraced the use of chainsaws at structural fires. We are very comfortable with our Partner saws. I'd say they are probably more reliable in more situations than chainsaws are. Plus blades more easily changed and sharpened. Not to mention the cost of replacing around 400 Partner saws all at once (primaries, backups and spares). As brooklynbravest mentioned, trucks carry a chainsaw for emergency tree and limb removal.
    IMO, chainsaws are not much more dangerous than other saws when used by well trained and experienced users.
    I should say both my POC and fulltime depts also use K-12's or Stihl rotary saws along with chainsaws. What saw gets used depends on the structure. I can see how NYC have a large amount of masonry buildings would not use chainsaws much. but they work awesome on most wood framestructures, especially newer lightweight construction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I agree video wasn't all that clear. Is your objection based on the extent of fire and possible involvement of structural members? Is it more suited to contents fires?
    Yes. In my experience PPV works best with limited, or controlled exit points. By controlled I mean vent a room, or area, and then close the door to that area when venting of that area is completed.

    In my opinion, what I believe happened in the fire in that video is with it already free venting in multiple places all the fan did was supply a pressurized sourse of fresh air to feed the fire.

    In my experience it works best in room and contents fires. Charged line in place, fan started but not blowing into the building yet, pop the window of the fire room, enter with the hoseline and if the officer on the line calls for it move the fan into position to pressurize the building. Other times the fan might not be used until after the fire is extinguished to remove smoke during overhaul.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    WARNING! Thread Hijack Alert.
    This concerns the you tube video in firedan525's link. For those who use PPA, what rules of PPA (if any) were broken by the brothers in the video. (Don't know who they are; not trying to embarrass them) They clearly did not get the desired outcome. I'd love to hear input (assuming you can get enough info from the video) on this. Obviously, I have no PPA training.
    First, I don't think they were going for a PPA. I think that some chucklehead in sweats and a red hoodie was trying to make visibility better without considering the flow path and smoke conditions. We do not use PPA, to be honest, I've never even heard of it. I have had a fan turned on and got cut off from our egress in the past. Conditions were not half what they were in that video. I hope those brothers got out of there unscathed, and beat the crap out of Captain Sweatpants.
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    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Yes. In my experience PPV works best with limited, or controlled exit points. By controlled I mean vent a room, or area, and then close the door to that area when venting of that area is completed.

    In my opinion, what I believe happened in the fire in that video is with it already free venting in multiple places all the fan did was supply a pressurized sourse of fresh air to feed the fire.

    In my experience it works best in room and contents fires. Charged line in place, fan started but not blowing into the building yet, pop the window of the fire room, enter with the hoseline and if the officer on the line calls for it move the fan into position to pressurize the building. Other times the fan might not be used until after the fire is extinguished to remove smoke during overhaul.
    Thanks for the response. That lines up with the little I do know about it. And I agree about feeding the fire in that video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    First, I don't think they were going for a PPA. I think that some chucklehead in sweats and a red hoodie was trying to make visibility better without considering the flow path and smoke conditions. We do not use PPA, to be honest, I've never even heard of it. I have had a fan turned on and got cut off from our egress in the past. Conditions were not half what they were in that video. I hope those brothers got out of there unscathed, and beat the crap out of Captain Sweatpants.
    It hadn't occurred to me that he was only going for visibility. Whatever he did, a bunch of guys stood there and let him to do it. It only takes one guy willing to speak up sometimes to get the train back on the tracks.

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    From an economic stand point I prefer standard chains. I can buy an entire spool of chain (15-20 chains) for the price of one bullet chain, so we just ran regular chains and threw them away after venting a roof. We had some bullet chains but they were one hit wonders being pretty well trashed after cutting a couple vent holes, so not much better than a regular chain.

    Bullet chains are almost worthless outside of their use in structure fires, where the regular chains work very well clearing storm debris or clearing brush on a wildland fire / extension from a structure into surrounding yard vegetation.

    My experience was a department that rarely did vertical ventilation (horizontal and PPV was the preference of the chief and training officer) so the saws were usually used to strip away wall siding, cutting studs during fire attack / overhaul or more traditional chainsaw work involving trees and bushes (lots of storm and snow related work).

    As far as brand Stihl makes a solid saw as does Husqvarna.

    Most of the "fire" saws are simply big chainsaws with short bars, a cool sticker and a much higher price. I don't see any significant difference between Stihl's 461 and their 461 Rescue other than offering a depth guide (which most firefighters don't seem to like anyway).

    The Cutter Edge is nothing more than a suped up Husqvarna 372.
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    Also a 39cc chainsaw? That is a light weight of a saw meant for casual use like a homeowner who trims the trees in their yard once a year. If you are going to spend the money for fancy chains you should look at something a bit more serious that won't burn up after a few hard uses. The MS362 is a solid mid size saw (59cc), I wouldn't even consider something smaller for firefighting.
    Last edited by Here and there; 01-10-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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