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Thread: Personal tools

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    Default Personal tools

    I was at a second alarm the other night at a high rise residential and I was familiar with the building. I saw a firefighter from another crew who was unfamiliar with the building using a compass to orient himself to the north stair-well(there was no smoke on the floor we were on).
    Now I will get to my point. I have never seen anyone carry a compass in their gear before. It seemed like a good idea. Does anyone here carry one? Has it been useful?


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    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    I saw a firefighter from another crew who was unfamiliar with the building using a compass to orient himself to the north stair-well
    I have never seen anyone carry a compass in their gear before.
    Yes you did.


    Anyway,never trust compass in a fire situation. Heat distorts the magnetic properties of steel/iron enough to give you false reading. Even with out a fire a compass can and will be thrown off by the steel of the building or other strong magnetic fields (MRI's,large electric motors,etc.) even with out fire.



    Stay Safe

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    Originally posted by stm4710
    Anyway,never trust compass in a fire situation. Heat distorts the magnetic properties of steel/iron enough to give you false reading.
    Huh?

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    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Originally posted by stm4710


    Yes you did.


    Anyway,never trust compass in a fire situation. Heat distorts the magnetic properties of steel/iron enough to give you false reading. Even with out a fire a compass can and will be thrown off by the steel of the building or other strong magnetic fields (MRI's,large electric motors,etc.) even with out fire.



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    *shaking my head* Jesse, get a clue. He was making a statement that PRIOR to this incident he had never witnessed this tool being implemented in an interior attack.

    Prior: BEFORE
    Implemented: USED, MADE USE OF
    Interior: INSIDE OF
    Witnessed: SAW
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    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    shaking my head* Jesse, get a clue. He was making a statement that PRIOR to this incident he had never witnessed this tool being implemented in an interior attack.
    It was sarcasm,I forgot to put this in--> .

    Yes HFD heat distorts the magnetic propertys of metal and may cuase your compass point in the wrong direction.

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    Temporarily/No Longer Active July36's Avatar
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    I carry and use a compass...i carry it in my truck and use it for my IC situations and "placing" my men on scenes(ie,E2 west wall,R4 north wall,etc)and for alot of fireground coordinances and mapping.They come in very handy for that as long as you are not near the actual flames.

    Donna C
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    Bridge Canyon VFD
    http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ

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    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Originally posted by July36
    I carry and use a compass...i carry it in my truck and use it for my IC situations and "placing" my men on scenes(ie,E2 west wall,R4 north wall,etc)and for alot of fireground coordinances and mapping.They come in very handy for that as long as you are not near the actual flames.

    Donna C
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    http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ
    I hope the troops carry compasses too then, because if it isn't obvious to them where north is, it isn't helping too much.
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    Temporarily/No Longer Active July36's Avatar
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    Most do...but theres some that know thier east from thier west and thier north from thier south...just by the "feeling".Mainly I use it for my own coordinances but if its not a major incident(in our eyes) then i just walk around and point to where i want them.

    Donna C
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    Forum Member 33motor's Avatar
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    I see nothing wrong with carrying a compass. As far as getting it too close to flames, well, I don't think it's really needed at that point... and as for the heat effecting it.. even if that's true, there are plenty of other situation where it would be handy. I work in a pretty busy house, and interior firefighting is not the majority of our calls. I doubt it's the majority of anyones calls.
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    Default Very Interesting Topic

    How have we gone all this time without this topic coming up. I wear a wristwatch which has a compass built in. It's made by a company called Suunto and they primarily cater to adventure sports "people". Ya know, if you have the "gift" of innate direction, you probably won't be reading this forum posting, but if you're a typical guy like me, you are absolutely lost at direction especially at night in the middle of the woods. How does this relate to our profession? We had a plane crash out in the middle of nowhere a few weeks ago. The only communication with the pilot of the downed aircraft was with a Coast Gaurd dauphin helicopter circling overhead. In turn, the helo crew gave us directions only with compass position and the watch proved invaluable due to terrain. If your company has any type of rescue responsibility other than interior firefighting, the value of at least a cheap five dollar wrist compass is obvious. I've used it at other times when I worked for a rural EMS system where "out in the country", it would've been difficult to gain bearing without one. Yeah, the Indian tricks work well when the sun it up, but at night (when the freaks come out and accidents increase) a compass can be a very useful tool in our trickbag!
    Brian Rowe
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    Colleton County Fire/Rescue

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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I am not geting into a dispute with stm but c'mon...........you know how hot it would have to be to distort the steel ? If thats the case then you may have bigger problems on your hands !
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    Default Re: Personal tools

    Originally posted by Scoop422
    I saw a firefighter from another crew who was unfamiliar with the building using a compass to orient himself to the north stair-well(there was no smoke on the floor we were on).
    My only thoughts on this would be that what would happen when you arrived on a floor with smoke and you were no longer able to see your compass. I agree there may be places where having a compass may be beneficial, but I could also see some bad things happening if you relied on it and then were unable to use it. Isn't the reason we are training to do our own size up, so that we will have an idea of the type and layout of the structure, so that when we are operating on the inside we can remember where windows, doors etc are. We can remember how many floors we traveled. We can remember that if the wall was on our left shoulder on the way in, it needs to be on our right shoulder on the way out.

    As far as a compass for sides of the building, I thought the whole point of ICS was to have us use common terminology to refer to the sides of the building, so that on every call the sides were the same. If you start assigning duties by compass direction, I could see a whole lot of confusion...."er hey Capt, which freakin was is North anyway"

    I am not saying don't use one, just that I can see some pitfalls for using it in certain situations. It also reminds of the statement that Leo Stapleton made about compasses and how we can't use em in New England, "'cause the face will be frosted over with ice".

    Be safe,

    Dave

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    Kinda like a Staples commercial. I have a compass and a thermometer on a keychain in my gear bag that holds all my Tech. Rescue Team stuff. Never needed it yet, but when I do, it's there. Stay Safe....
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    I have never heard of "heat" distorting the magnetic properties of metal. Either a metal is magnetic - mean it has ferrous iron containied within it - to the point that it will allow a magnet to stick to it - or it doesn't - and the magnet will not stick.

    What I think you might be referring to is the fact that standing in a building of unknown construction might affect the compass (READ:Magnet) that you are using to find the earth's magnetic field.

    I would say use GPS to alleviate this - but you need an unobstructed view of the horizon for GPS to work - and that is hard to find inside a structure.

    I think it sounds like a great tool for orienting yourself on the fireground - but the person using the compass must know to check their surroundings for items that produce a 'false north'.

    I remember my time in the Marines - sounds dopey - but they drilled in into you to hand your rifle off to someone else if you were doing land nav with a magnetic compass - and to be well away from the weapons when taking a magnetic reading, for exactly that reason - the north arrow would seek out your rifle barrel.
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    Temporarily/No Longer Active July36's Avatar
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    Actually,Ive had no problems as of yet using a compass for my IC Ops...when...and if I ever needed or need to use it.

    Donna C
    Fire Chief
    Bridge Canyon VFD
    http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ

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    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    question? i've seen on some compasses where there are radioactive material inside of it. does anybody know how much there is and/or how dangerous this could be at a fire? i don't think it's nearly as much as a pager or cell phone but just wondering.

    for some reason i can see two teams of firefighters at a radioactive material call where they are following each other in a circle. one group with a compass the other group with a gieger counter.
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    I have never used a compass on a structure fire personaly, but hey, why not.

    I have used a compass for SCUBA orientation, wildland use, etc....

    I just use my super keen sence of direction for structure fire nav...

    I would be a bit skeptical to the acuracy of the readings, lots of metal and EM stuff in a building.

    Best to leave bread crums behind...
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