1. #1
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    Default Hand tools Which are Good & Bad?

    Ok, We are "revamping" the tools on our truck....Its a 85ft 1990 Seagrave Snorkel...We cover a mostly Residential commercial area We run about 300-400 calls a year with about 6 actually working structure fires a year...but many other types of incidents...So anyways....Right now we have a few normal Pike poles just different lengths...and your normal forcible entry tools...Couple Sets of Irons, CLoset Hook, A-Tool, K-Tool, etc...I'm helping out my brother whos the LT pick out some different types of tools to buy....We were looking at the New York Hook ,Boston Hook, All Purpose hook, Dry wall hook, all these different types of tools that do different jobs which we have been using regular Pike poles to do them with all this while...so is it better to just go with what we've been using all along....OR go out and spend money on different types of hooks? Either way we are replacing the old wooden Handle Pike Poles with fiberglass ones..Just wondering if we should mix it up a little which tools are best to purchase?
    Last edited by Engine58; 01-02-2004 at 10:14 PM.
    Andrew
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    We operate a 1992 E-One 110' aerial. The way our previos Chief(he retired last month) set it up was so that the same tools were available on either side (it has one long, and one short compartment on the high side, tools are stored in racks flat)

    Long tools -

    2 6' Boston rakes 1 6' plaster hook 1 6' haligan hook

    Short tools -

    2 4' Boston rakes w/ d handle 1 4' haligan hook 1 4' Providence hook(similar to "standard" pike pole.

    Mounted at the read step are 2 6, 8 and 12' Boston rakes.

    All tools with fiberglass handles.

    Also have set of irons on each side, as well as pic head ax. Plus sledge hammers etc etc.

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    I'm a big fan of the NY hook, the drywall hook works well also.
    Throw out the closet hooks, their is nothing a closet hook can do that a halligan can't do 10 times better. If the district is mostly residential make sure you have plenty 6' hooks. With 8' ceilings a 6' hook works just fine and are better for getting around in a home.

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    Engine58,

    My compliments for actually looking at your tools and their effectiveness.

    My former depts usually bought those Sh***y "pike poles. The yellow fiberglass shafts with the blunt hooks were not that good. The only reason they bought them was they were the cheapest.

    -I would look at the New York hook with a wooden shaft as a good all purpose hook. it has a tapered edge and point that makes it easier to punch through plaster than those blunt cheaper models.

    -The NY roof hook is also another excellent hook, With the aluminum shaft it is a very sturdy and reliable hook. you can get a chissel or a notch for shutting off gas petcocks on the other end.

    -For Halligans their is no subsititute for the ProBar. It is based on the originall Halligan. It is single piece forged and is far supperior to those knockoffs.

    For grips on all the above, wrap nasal canula tubing around the shaft (on the wooden hook only on the lower 1/3rd or 1/4th) with about 2 inches between wraps and then cover in baseball bat, hockey stick grip tape.

    For Axes if you don't get wooden handles, get the axes with the plastic shafts that are shaped like the wooden ones. The thin rectangular shafts and rubber grips(they are terrible) are worthless. Also use only 8 lbs axes. 6 lb axes should be chromed and presented as awards only.

    Spend the extra for the good stuff. Your muscles will thank you later.

    FTM-PTB

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    Even though we don't have any in my current FD I love the TNT tool for truck work. Its a jack of all trades tool, hook, chisel, sledge, and axe all in one. Paired up with a halligen there is not much that you can't go through. I particlarly liked its use as a heavy hook, you have enough mass in it to drive the hook/chisle end w/o needing a second tool to hammer it. I once went through an oak floor from the floor below while pulling ceilings (we didn't know the attic had been finished). It took a few swings but when I pulled the hook down and saw chunks of oak I told my Capt we had another floor above us and showed him the wood.
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    When I'm working on the rescue I prefer the Denver/TNT tool. It's great for all purpose work, whether that be cutting, pulling, or my favorite, smashing. If I'm on the engine I'll always pull the ahlligan and flathead axe.

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    haha not to disagree, 304, but heck i disagree. hehe

    I used the TNT tool in couple of evolutions in a class and came away hating it. It didn't seem to do any one job well, and was more of a gimmick to me than something useful. Hurt my hands like hell driving some stakes in using one also. It just feels awkward, like it's not balanced correctly or something. I'd rather have a set of irons, or just the halligan or axe.

    We have one Probar in our department... the rest are the pinned-halligan type. The Probar just feels like a better tool. While we haven't had any problems with the pinned-halligans, I've read about them separating.

    We have a plaster hook floating around our station that we used to carry.

    My "Christmas list" includes some more Probars.

    Recommended book to browse through: "Tools of the Trade: Firefighting Hand Tools and their Use" by Richard Fritz

    http://www.fire-police-ems.com/books/bt4875.shtml

    Lots of good info on things like history, use, care, etc.
    Last edited by Resq14; 01-04-2004 at 12:58 AM.
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    Originally posted by FFFRED


    -For Halligans their is no subsititute for the ProBar. It is based on the original Halligan. It is single piece forged and is far supperior to those knockoffs.
    I'll second that!

    We have one Pro Bar from Firemark and two "hooligans" from Paratech.

    Everybody fights over the Pro Bar. Lighter, stronger and better balanced.

    I think somebody bought the Paratech junkers back in the day because they're shiny & chrome plated

    Stick with the Pro Bar.

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    Originally posted by Resq14
    haha not to disagree, 304, but heck i disagree. hehe
    Why doesn't that surprise me?

    I used the TNT tool in couple of evolutions... Hurt my hands like hell... feels awkward
    Girly-men need not apply.

    Admittedly it is not a tool for everyone, it is heavy but that's part of the function of the tool. I also like crawling with it, like the halligan it keeps your knuckles off the ground. When we got a couple in my old FD there was always a rush to grab it off the one engine that carried a pair. Shortly there after all the trucks got some. Like engine1321 I would not grab the TNT if I was pulling hose, nor would I take it on the roof, its just too heavy, but for forcable entry, search, or overhaul work it kicks butt.


    We have one Probar in our department... the rest are the pinned-halligan type.
    Look closely at that bar and you'll see its one of the orriginals, signed by Halligan!
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    Do you have a rabbit tool? a good circular saw? a good vent saw?
    I don't know what all you have or dont have but I would invest in those three before i look into spending money on different styles of hooks. One style hook is basically the same as another hook, its the person holding the tool that makes the diff. I would first put money into getting saws and a rabbit tool.

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    What about Personal Hand tools, how many of you carry these, how do you carry them (special belt, scba strap, etc.) I am thinking about buying the 16" or 20" Pro-Bar, but I am not sure.
    -Kris

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    Default Re: Hand tools Which are Good & Bad?

    Originally posted by Engine58
    Ok, We are "revamping" the tools on our truck....Its a 85ft 1990 Seagrave Snorkel...We cover a mostly Residential commercial area We run about 300-400 calls a year with about 6 actually working structure fires a year...but many other types of incidents...So anyways....Right now we have a few normal Pike poles just different lengths...and your normal forcible entry tools...Couple Sets of Irons, CLoset Hook, A-Tool, K-Tool, etc...I'm helping out my brother whos the LT pick out some different types of tools to buy....We were looking at the New York Hook ,Boston Hook, All Purpose hook, Dry wall hook, all these different types of tools that do different jobs which we have been using regular Pike poles to do them with all this while...so is it better to just go with what we've been using all along....OR go out and spend money on different types of hooks? Either way we are replacing the old wooden Handle Pike Poles with fiberglass ones..Just wondering if we should mix it up a little which tools are best to purchase?
    Maybe a thermal imager?
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    On my career job we have very little to say about the tools purchased for the rigs.

    We carry 6, 8, 10, 12 foot pikes on the ladders, a plaster hook, set of irons, 4 or 5 pick head axes, a Hux bar(biggest piece of S##T known to man), that standard 4 foot long pry bar, 3 saws, a chain saw for tree clearing, a roof vent chain saw and a K12, we also carry a tool box and a portapower for popping hoods during car fires. Our ladder company also carries cribbing.

    On my volly FD we run an engine as a quasi squad compnay. It carries a closet hook, 6 & 8 foot pike poles, 4 and 6 foot LA Rubbish hooks, 4 and 6 foot Boston Rakes(I personally love this tool for overhaul), a 6 foot San Francisco pike pole, a set of irons, a flat head axe, a pick head axe, a Hurst maverick tool, 30 inch ram and the attachments to make it up to a 60 inch ram, a Stihl vent saw, a PPV fan, 2 sets of tools, one for general usage and one set up for extrication, a high lift jack, cribbing, and one of those standard 4 foot pry bars.

    personally as far as tools go it is the level of proficiency of the user with the tools available as much as it is the tools available that make all the difference in the world. Practice, practice, practice....

    FyredUp

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    Default re: good and bad tools

    Brothers and Sisters...

    We are arguing semantics here.

    Tools aren't "good" or "bad" ...it's the person using them that makes the difference!

    The one tool that doesn't get enough use is our heads!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Default Re: re: good and bad tools

    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Brothers and Sisters...

    We are arguing semantics here.

    Tools aren't "good" or "bad" ...it's the person using them that makes the difference!

    The one tool that doesn't get enough use is our heads!
    I don't know Cap, I have to agree with FyredUp on this one:

    a Hux bar(biggest piece of S##T known to man)
    Nothing will **** me off quicker than a probie I sent for a Halligan bringing back this worthless thing

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    WTFD10...

    Thanks for the support on the Hux bar. Ours are such pieces of junk they have been welded and rewelded since they have been broken so many times. I just can't find a single reason to buy this morphodite tool.

    Captain Gonzo...

    Couldn't agree more with you. In fact I posted this at the end of my first post on this topic:

    >personally as far as tools go it is the level of proficiency of the user with the tools available as much as it is the tools available that make all the difference in the world. Practice, practice, practice....<

    FyredUp

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    Default 5 Tools of Choice

    Here are my top 5 hand tools for truckies!

    1. Halligan

    2. Flat Head Axe

    3. FDNY All-Purpose Hook

    4. Dry Wall Hook

    5. Sledge Hammer

    All can be found at http://www.fire-end.com/Firehooks.htm
    Chris Shields
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    I would look at the New York hook with a wooden shaft as a good all purpose hook.
    The NY roof hook is also another excellent hook
    I looked both of these up at Firehooks Unlimited and, other than the handle material, they look the same. The "outside vent hook" also looks the same.

    Pardon my ignorance, but what's the difference?
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
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    but what's the difference
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    New York Hook is the one on top:

    NY Hook

    The NY Roof Hook is this one on the bottom when you scroll down.

    FTM-PTB

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    In our truck company we basically carry the basic stuff like most of you have mentioned. The normal 6 and 8 foot hooks, a couple of 6 and 8 foot all pourpose hooks (otherwise known as the NY Roof Hook, my favorite) multiple sets of irons, Some trash hooks and sheet rock hooks,and a couple of saws. We carry 1 K-12 and 2 quick vent Cutters Edge saws. We also carry a few 10 and 12' hooks but they are USELESS!

    I think I only saw it mentioned once on here, but another great tool is the RABBIT TOOL or otherwise known as a HYDRARAM. This is a great tool for forcing commercial doors or metal doors in general.

    As for tools that I never see come off our truck== K-tool, duckbill, bolt cutters, Hux Bar (piece of SH@#$%T)

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    Originally posted by TWEJFD


    The "outside vent hook" also looks the same.

    I believe the outside vent hook is extendable and has a pin to keep it in place when extended. The all purpose and roof hooks appear to be the same, one with fiberglass or wood handle, the other steel. Am I correct New Yorker's?
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    The NY roof hook or halligan hook or OV Hook has the funny looking head. You can get it with the steel shaft or fiberglass shaft. Make sure if you get the ones with the fiberglass shaft that there is a pin to keep the head on. My old dept purchased some and the hooks poped off. The steel shaft is a very solid durable tool. I would recomend both.

    I've never used one that was adjustable.

    They are better than the cheap "national hook" which is the Wal-Mart version of a real hook. You also might want a few tin hooks for resturant fires and such.

    FTM-PTB

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    I agree that there really isn't a good or bad tool...but there are some tools that are better for specific jobs. I enjoy using the TNT tool for opening walls...it is what works for me.
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    Thanks.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
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