Thread: initial attack

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    Default initial attack

    you're responding to a structure fire. before you begin pulling hose, atleast the way i learned it, was to grab a tool. grab an axe and put it in the belt of the scba or whatever tool it may be, then proceed to get the proper lines pulled. which is your favorite tool to grab and why?

    i usually ride the jump seat so i'll grab the fireman's axe because it's right in front of me and it allows me to get the lines pulled faster plus it's proved useful to me on many calls.
    Last edited by MEBRVCDF; 11-22-2003 at 04:46 PM.

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    Well when I WAS in an engine company I never took a tool. I don't know if this is bad or good, but my concentration was always on how many lengths I'm gonna need to pull, or what size line, etc. Now that I am in a truck company I would have to say my favorite tool is certainly the Halligan...(irons).The halligan is such a versatile tool, you can do so many tasks with it. Force, pry, pull, break, anchor point, use it as a little step 3ft step, the list is endless.

    I like the "can" as well.

    Roof is always an interesting position, I don't always get that job because relative to some of the guys around me I am usually a junior guy.
    Last edited by firefiftyfive; 11-22-2003 at 02:43 PM.

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    In my career FD no matter what rig you respond in on you better have a minimum of an axe when you get off the rig. Depending on the assignment that pick head axe may be replaced with the irons (flat head axe mated to thr Halligan).

    On my volly FD the guys in the jump seat have with in their immediate vacinity the irons, a flat head axe, a pick head axe, a Boston rake, and a closet hook. The assignment determines the tool.

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    Last edited by FyredUp; 11-22-2003 at 04:27 PM.

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    I see alot of people bringing the irons or flathead axe. In my ladder company the jumpseat FF is to bring the thermal imaging camera as well as the irons. The officer brings a 6' hook and the D/O handles outside vent (6' hook) and utilities. If it is a commercial building, I like to to also bring the hydra-ram and K-tool.

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    We wait for the OIC's initial size up, then grab what he tells us and obey the order "Get to work."
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    Interesting topic. Early in my career I worked in Depts that didn't care if you brought one or not. Some did some didn't. Sometimes I did...other times I didn't. There was no rhyme or reason.

    I found if I was stretching the line and responsible for the advance of the initial line then I didn't take a tool. My focus was on the handline. The 2nd Due or other guys would bring tools. I tried taking an axe in a belt many times but it would get in the way. My mobility was negatively affected.

    Especially when moving in double-wides and cluttered homes having an axe in the belt doesn't make anything easier.


    Although I prefer to have pre-assigned tools and duties for maximum effeciency there are times when taking a tool with the handline would be good:

    -Limited staffing. Take the irons to the door of a PD or Apartment and leave them there if needed. You really can't advance a hose and cary tools effectively at the same time. But if needed they are near you.

    -Fire escape stretch. If you are going to advance a 3rd line into a building from the floor below via the fire escape take a halligan to force the window and any gates encountered.

    -Hi-Rise Elevator operations. If you are taking an elevator to an upper floor in a hi-rise an no other truckies are comming with you, take a set of irons in case you need to force your way out of a malfunctioning elevator car.

    -Truck Co. is signifigantly delayed.

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    Last edited by FFFRED; 11-22-2003 at 05:58 PM.

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    most of the homes out here are single story and by the time we get the call are going pretty good.

    if we're first due, some guys grab something and other guys don't... it's mostly the engines that arrive later whose guys grab tools.

    thanks for the replies. it's interesting to see how different departments operate.

    keep 'em coming

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    My Engine Co. does not carry tools into a structure. We pretty much make it our buisness to get the line in there and get the fire out.

    I think every Co. would be better off with at least some tool. That way in the event something went bad, they stand a better chance of being able to self extricate. Lately me and the rookie that rides on the back with me have been kicking around some ideas. I'd like to get a small halogen or quick bar and mount it to my SCBA frame at the beginning of the shift. That way one of us would have a tool, without having it in the way while we are advancing hose. We have tinkered with the other having a small hatchet, or maybe even a good shop hammer to use for striking. Granted these ar not the typical "irons" we are accustome to, but they are better than nothing, and will help in a pinch. The main idea is that they are small enough that they are not longer than the SCBA frame, so that they can be wired on... or afixed some other way.

    When we do Dept. training we usually carry some tools... but pretty much never when we are at a real job. It has been my experience that most (if not all) Engine Co's in my Dept do not carry tools into a fire. With the amount of burglar bars in my stations district it sometimes seems that it's not "IF" the day come that we need them, but "WHEN". So, this is one reason we are willing to try most anything.
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    I too like preassigned tools. Anything that can be preplanned helps.
    If your on the nozzle you have a tool, the nozzle. Your tool selection should depend on the construction.
    What good is an axe in a fire resistive structure? Why not grab the sledge. A halligan is almost always a good choice. Make sure the hook you take is the best length for what your doing.
    Don't grab tools just because you have to think about the job your going to do first.

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    Oh one other thing the can is very useful even in a structure with a working fire.

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    Default hose line, usually no tools

    The crew with the line has enough to do pulling the hose and gettng ready to make the attack. If the engine has a full crew (5 + driver) the officer will make a size up, 2 will get the line and 2 will take tools and force entry if necessary, then search if anyone is still inside, or get started on ventilation.

    33motor-a sheetrock hammer might be a good choice for the other tool to mount on your SCBA frame, hatchet on one side, hammer on the other. If you guys use Scott SCBA you might be able to use a carabiner as a place hang either tool you mentioned or a sheetrock hammer. that or there is a spot on the waist band where you could slip it through the strap.
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    Our first-in team must have a tool. It is usually their choice of either the wood handled axe, or the collapsible crash axe. Most guys like the crash axe since it fits in the belt easier, and will still open an interior door with ease. The high rise pack has a wood handled axe inside, so they don't have a choice there.

    We only have one Haligan, so we generally reserve it for RIT and forced entry on the heavy exterior doors.
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    It is always nice to have a tool with you but just remember your job alot of guys take tools in with the pipe but forget they are on a engine a try to take work away from the truck but it always helps to have something just in case the poo hits the fan being in a big city dept. most guys on the engines dont carry tools
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    I was always taught to never come off the truck unless you have a tool in hand, whether that be a set of irons, a pickhead, pike pole, whatever.

    Don't let anyone scoff at your choice of tools either. I took a pike into an SCBA trailer and a career guy looked at me and stated something to effect of "you think you can manuver that thing around in there?" They then preceeded to throw their heads back and laugh mockingly.

    I made that thing fit and I helped my struggling partner up a very slippery ramp. At the end of the course it was I who was laughing.

    Pick and pick wisely, it could save your life or your partner's life.

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    Our small rural county a little behind on training, Fifefighter Safety and Survival Course only here last 2-3 years, and just had our 1st F.A.S.T. course 4 wks ago. I will never go 'in' without something (tool) in case something goes wrong, usually an axe, but I also picked up a small rescue axe I have on a belt, with my escape rope, caribeaners etc.. Also 8" linesmans pliers in my pocket, course said most cases of getting caught (other than building collapse) is just on normal elec wires. Can't remember name of hand axe or company, but company motto was something like 'bad tools for bad boys', tool called 'my fire buddy' or something similiar I think, will check and add to this later, right now 2 brothers and I gotta go find bambi.
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    Originally posted by t10wsff
    ...just remember your job, a lot of guys take tools in with the pipe but forget they are on a engine a try to take work away from the truck...
    UNIONS!!!

    That is great for the city, but we've got one truck, one crew. We do it all.
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    When I am the assigned nozzleman, the nozzle is my tool. I have a handlight and some door wedges in my pocket, other than that I leave the rest of the tool carrying to my officer the others.
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    It is pretty much up to the individual in my VFD to take a tool, the nozzle guy usualy doesnt grab anyting, but most every body else does.

    I like a sawed off shotgun as a breaching tool...



    Just kiding. We do use a modified sledge hammer a lot in my area. Cheap, hard to break, and they can do a lot of interesting things.

    What I have been doing is makeing a sawed off sledge hammer for use in tight spaces and for slipping in the belt for the engine guys.

    We have experimented with all sizes of hammer, but now most are 8 pounders. Seems to be a happy medium. But, try some out, they are relatively cheap, get the size that you feel is the best.

    This is from memory, so the handle lenghts may be off, but you get the idea anyway. We take the handles, IIRC they are 36+ inches normaly, and shorten them to what feels good for tight spaces, between 20-30 inches. Wire wrap is added below the hammer head, about 4-5 inches down, about 3-4 layers of wire. Just plian old bailing wire. Then we get out some friction tape or electrical tape and some small diameter rope, maybe 1/4 inch. We start at the wire wrap with the tape and start wrapping the handle fairly thick. Then below the wire start we do a wrap with the rope which is to give grip. We spiral the rope around the handle leaveing 4 or so inches between the strands, just enough for a hand to fit snugly. The tape is wraped over the rope and eventualy covers the entire handle. We use a lot of tape here to keep things in place, more then a roll, probly 2 per handle. On the sawed off end of the handle we put a metal cap, usualy a thread protector from some oil field pipe which is every where around my area. The metal cap is also covered with the tape to be held in place, sometimes a short screw is also used from the end to secure it, drill a pilot hole first.

    Now you have a short handle sledge with a wraped handle for grip. They are great for all sorts of things, not many doors can stand up to these, even with the short handle. Just let the weight of the head do the work. Also, with the metal cap on the handle, you can poke holes in sheet rock and such pretty easily.

    The nice thing about these hammers is that they dont get in the way, with the short handle you can stick them in your SCBA belt strap and not have to much trouble. They are a bit heavy, but if you go with the 8 pounders they dont seem to be a hassel. I much prefer one of these shorties to a full lenght sledge. I have been thinking about useing a maglight holder, one of the metal ring ones that go on the belt, but I dont know if they are strong enough. The belt works ok in the mean time, but a more secure holder would be nice.

    33Motor, you might look into this as your SCBA mount backup tool. If you mounted it head down you would keep the weight low and off your sholders. You could cut the handle to whatever lenght you wanted to match up with your SCBA. 8 pounds might be to much, but I have seen some 6 pounders that could so a lot of damge as well. It would also be a relatively cheap experiment.
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    Has anybody tried a TNT tool yet? It is a 5 in one comby took that would be a nice compliment to a haligan.



    TNT Multi-Purpose Tool
    ALSO KNOWN AS THE DENVER TOOL!!!

    The TNT Tool is an extremely durable multi-purpose tool, aiding firefighters and law enforcement officers worldwide. Force entry into homes, buildings, autos, businesses, and assist people in emergency and non-emergency situations. The TNT Tool gives you the use of FIVE tools in one: an axe, sledge hammer, pry tool, ram, and D-Handle pull tool. No other large hand tool gives you the versatility as the TNT Tool to chop, pry, pull, strike, beat, and reach. The TNT Tool will open 95% of doors. The TNT Tool is completely made in the U.S.A. Cast with high carbon head treated steel and finished with a baked on powder coat paint and a solid fiberglass handle.

    FIVE SIZES TO CHOOSE FROM

    TN840- 8.5 lb head, 40" long, 13.5 lbs total weight

    TN835- 8.5 lb head, 35" long, 13 lbs total weight

    TN640- 6.5 lb head, 40" long, 12 lbs total weight

    TN635- 6.5 lb head, 35" long, 11.5 lbs total weight

    TN630- 6.5 lb head, 30" long, 11 lbs total weight

    The TNT tool comes with a lifetime warranty. TNT Tools, Inc will fix your tool if broken under normal use.


    Only problem is 180$! Some Haligans run this high, but if you shop you can buy 2 haligans for this price. I know I sound like a cheap guy, but the VFDs I am associated with have tight budgets.

    33Motor, here is a link to the firestore.com that has some short tools, like the mini bar, that are not to pricy. Maybe that would work for you SCBA idea, but I would worry about getting stabed by the spike in the event of a wipeout!

    http://www.thefirestore.com/store/category.cfm?cID=2058

    Here is another neat little tool that I have been wondering about, the truckman personal Axe.

    http://www.thefirestore.com/store/product.cfm?pID=752



    Under 3 pounds and about the size of a large framing hammer. Seems to small to do much good but who knows. 50$, or 75 with a scabbard.

    You can still make a sawed off sledge cheaper, just go to a pawn shop, but a cheap 8 or 6 pound sledge (bargan him down of course) that has a good handle and that is not lose. You can put one together for <10$ I am willing to bet.
    Last edited by SamsonFCDES; 11-24-2003 at 05:11 PM.
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    Samson,

    Yeah, I like the grip idea. We are still kicking ideas around right now...

    As for the TNT, all SAFD truck co's carry them. My Engine has one also. I like for FE, but if I was going to cut a hole in a roof with an axe, I'd choose a standard axe for it. The TNT does pack a pretty good punch though. I think a reg axe is a little more nimble.
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    As for the Halligan bars, don't waste your money on the rip off bars, such as knock offs made by Paratech. They are total junk, especially the ones that are pined together. Go with a one piece forged steel, such as the Pro Bar, or even the Quick bar. The problem with the knock offs is that the fork end is too big and bulky, the adze isn't usually beveled properly, etc.

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    My department has a policy that everybody but the nozzleman must have a tool. We don't have a ladder so the truck work gets split up among the engine and squad crews. First out engine goes with 6 so there's usually 2 or 3 on the hoseline and 2 to do a primary search/open up.

    If I don't have the knob (or can't steal it), I like to take the "Denver Irons" - TNT tool & Halligan or a 6' All Purpose Hook (we call it a New York Hook)& water can.
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    we usually have everyone grab a tool.......no matter what one they choose .......we have Halligans, axes, TNT Tools, Hux Bars, mini bars......we can do lots of distruction !
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    what tool for just an exterior attack?

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    Ladder pipes are good for exterior ops if you are talking hand tools it really depends on the situation long hooks for reach.
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