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    Lightbulb The "Burden" of Saving Lives-FDNY Gear

    NY Times

    June 11, 2005
    The Burden of Saving Lives
    By JAMES BRONZAN

    In January, six firefighters, trapped on the fourth floor of a Bronx building by a flare-up in the fire they were fighting, saw their options for escape evaporate. Four jumped from a window; two died. Two others used a length of rope to lower themselves part of the way, but with nothing to slow their descent, they too tumbled to the ground and were seriously injured.

    The calamity prompted calls for the Fire Department to resume issuing individual safety ropes, which it had stopped doing in 2000, citing complaints about the added weight.

    Last week, the department announced plans to outfit fire-fighters with a new state-of-the-art escape system, including steel hooks, Kevlar ropes and a modified rock-climbing device to slow firefighters' descent.

    The kit weighs about six pounds, including a harness that wraps around the hips and legs, and is worn at all times, since there is no time to put it on in an emergency.

    Six more pounds may seem a minor inconvenience for a lifesaving system designed to get firefighters out of a building in under 10 seconds. But the weight will be added to an already cumbersome array of protective clothing and gear that has grown heavier in recent years and is worn in extreme heat. Officials say they will affix the rope device to the harness in a pouch, with the weight balanced, but still may have to issue stronger suspenders for the pants.

    In a typical ladder company, four firefighters enter or approach a burning building to look for survivors, unlike engine companies, which respond with hoses to put out a blaze. Below, members of Rescue 1 in Manhattan show the gear usually carried by each firefighter in a ladder company.

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    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-12-2005 at 10:13 AM.

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    Lightbulb The Outside Vent Man

    The OVM
    Photo from: NY Times
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    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-12-2005 at 10:00 AM.

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    Lightbulb The "Can" Man

    The Can man
    Photo from: NY Times
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    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-12-2005 at 10:06 AM.

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    Lightbulb Irons Man

    The Irons Man
    Photo from: NY Times
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    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-12-2005 at 10:08 AM.

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    Lightbulb The Roof Man

    The Heaviest of all. The Roof Man.
    Photo from: NY Times
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    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-12-2005 at 10:08 AM.

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    Hey FFFRED, just curious. Is this acurate for normal opps? And how much H2O in the cans?
    Last edited by Dave1983; 06-12-2005 at 11:48 AM.
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    This is exactly what is carried on any fire reported in a building. Although some may carry even more. Some Roofmen will also carry a Bunny Tool to a fireproof building,(not going to the roof..going to the floor above) or some may carry more "personal" tools in their pockets. Many truck guys wear personal harnesses, and carry their own rope.....and so on. The stuff listed there is a minimum.
    The can is 2 1/2 gallons, sometimes more...sometimes less....depending on who filled it last, and you'd be suprised how much fire you can knock down with it. It is also used on the small nusience fires(rubbish in the hallway,elevator, food on the stove w/minor extension...etc...)
    Last edited by MattyJ; 06-12-2005 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Ummm...

    I just wanted to confirm the rabbit tool is the same as
    "the bunny tool"?

    -Bou

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    Basicly yeah. But the Rabbit is the older 2 piece tool, where the Bunny is the newer 1 piece tool.

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    Did that stellar bastion of journalistic ethics offer a solution? Or did they just point out a glaringly obvious problem?

    Did your bargaining unit ship a copy of the article over to Gracie? Might be a little good info for your contract problem.

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    Originally posted by MattyJ
    This is exactly what is carried on any fire reported in a building. Although some may carry even more. Some Roofmen will also carry a Bunny Tool to a fireproof building,(not going to the roof..going to the floor above) or some may carry more "personal" tools in their pockets. Many truck guys wear personal harnesses, and carry their own rope.....and so on. The stuff listed there is a minimum.
    The can is 2 1/2 gallons, sometimes more...sometimes less....depending on who filled it last, and you'd be suprised how much fire you can knock down with it. It is also used on the small nusience fires(rubbish in the hallway,elevator, food on the stove w/minor extension...etc...)
    Damn, thats alot of stuff. You guys are underpaid.

    OK, now to be serious. And not trying to start a war, just looking for some insite. Home come you overload your people like that? Do you really need 3 haligens and 3 hooks? And you CARRY the saw up the ladder?
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    Originally posted by Dave1983


    Damn, thats alot of stuff. You guys are underpaid.

    OK, now to be serious. And not trying to start a war, just looking for some insite. Home come you overload your people like that? Do you really need 3 haligens and 3 hooks? And you CARRY the saw up the ladder?
    How else do you get a saw to the roof? Especially a tall building?

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    The halligans and hooks are going to different places.....One of each with the inside team to force doors, pull ceilings etc....one for each for the OV to take windows, breach walls, etc..and the roofman also needs them to force the bulkhead door, take top floor windows, and pull back the cut roof. And if you arent in a tower ladder company, how else is the saw getting up there?

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    Originally posted by erics99


    How else do you get a saw to the roof? Especially a tall building?
    Ummm, you hoist it We dont carry tools up ladders. Both hands on the ladder for safety. We always hoist the tools the roof. Its the only way Ive ever seen it done so I just assumed thats how everybody did it. Silly me
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    Originally posted by nyckftbl
    The halligans and hooks are going to different places.....One of each with the inside team to force doors, pull ceilings etc....one for each for the OV to take windows, breach walls, etc..and the roofman also needs them to force the bulkhead door, take top floor windows, and pull back the cut roof. And if you arent in a tower ladder company, how else is the saw getting up there?
    OK, that makes sense. I'm still not used to this whole breaking crews up thing. We do everything as a team so if one FF is on the roof, all 4 are on the roof. Its interesting to read how the "big boys" do it
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    FFRed, by the looks of that I'd say that you would have a good argument that the Ladder Co's are understaffed

    Could you post a link to the NY Times article?
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    Keep in mind that most if not all guys carry the saw on a strap thrown over their shoulder, so it just the tools in their hands. As far as hoisting the saw. Whos staying on the ground to hook the saw up to the rope?? Every guy on our job has a specific assignment to cover.So you need to be able to work independently, and over the years this has made for some pretty creative and capable guys. So although most positions (truck company outside positions especially) work alone in the early moments of a job...the 2nd due truck outside member will usually make it to their position to back up 1st due.
    I dont think alot of guys give themselves enough credit on just how much they can get done alone. I think it is a waste of manpower to send 4 guys to the roof at a standard job (obviously a fire in the cockloft of a Taxpayer would require more). Very often when 2nd due roofman gets to the roof, 1st due has already opened up everything and is basically done. My point is if you learn and train on covering these positions on your own, you'd be suprised what you can do.

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    FFFred, by the looks of that I'd say that you would have a good argument that the Ladder Co's are understaffed

    Could you post a link to the NY Times article?
    Here is the Link: NY Times Artilce

    I do believe you must have a log in name. It is free to sign up though.

    Thanks MattyJ for answering the questions that many of you had. As you can see there is a method behind our madness.

    This is what is taken by the every Truck Co. and Rescue in the job at any report of an odor of smoke, Gas leak, report of any type of fire, Class 3 Automatic alarm, Valve alarm ...etc. A Truck could have 5 phone alarms after midnight as the Truck in my house did the other night and for everyone of them they took these tools (except the saw) every time. Inside team to the reported fire floor/floor with reported smoke odor,etc. The OVM examined the rear and the Roof man made his way to the roof via the adjoining buildings. We take the tools and hose everytime..as a fireman without tools is nothing more than an educated observer getting in the way.

    You can imagine that the roof man was sick and tired of making 5 or 6 flights 5 times that night...but it still must be done.

    These photos demonstrate exactly why many guys still feel that the OVM and the Roof man don't need Bunker gear and in lieu should have the old pull up boots or steel toed work boots and dungarees with a long coat...I however digress.

    As for the hoisting of the Tools...As you can picture it doesn't make much sense, for us anyhow...you would have a roof man have to climb to the roof, via the interior stairs, an aerial or Rear Fire Escape while carrying an additional rope of at least 100 ft. Once on the roof he would have to lean over the parapet which might not be such a good idea depending on its stability and then drop the rope to an awaiting memeber(we have no one to spare to do this task) who would presumably tie up the saw and then the roof man would have to hoist it. hopefully not hitting any fire escapes or other obstructions...meanwhile if he had just placed it on a sling and took it with him, He'd already be cutting the roof. This also doesn't take in to account that if fire blows out a window the rope would burn through. Placing an entire company together on a roof in the inital stages of a fire seems a bit odd considering most FDs are complaining about staffing shortages.

    OK, now to be serious. And not trying to start a war, just looking for some insite. Home come you overload your people like that? Do you really need 3 haligens and 3 hooks? And you CARRY the saw up the ladder?
    Dave,

    As has been said. The OVM is on his own initially in the rear or in the Bucket of a TL. The Roof man is also on his own until the 2nd Due arrives and the Irons and Can Man compliment each other and bring the appropriate tools for anyone who is going to be forcing entry, searching and overhauling in the fire apartment.

    Besides each man needs tools otherwise he is nothing but a waste of space and manpower. I'm not sure what you would carry other than a hook or halligan if doing Truck work(maybe an axe). I do have to ask do all your members regardless the number carry tools? Do some not carry anything? Just asking.

    stillPSFB,

    As for the Trucks being understaffed...you are absolutely correct. We used to have Adaptive Response where the Engines had 6 men and the Trucks had 7 or 8 men or more(not counting the officer). The 7th Man was a swingman or a 2nd Roofman depending on the company

    This was when it wasn't uncommon for companies in Harlem, LES, South Bronx and in Brooklyn to be running 3 or 4 fires a tour. Most Trucks had 7 men and Most if not all Trucks were Tillers therefore one could sit 5 men and the rest would hang on. That is why on some rearmounts years ago had the Phone booth for the 7th man. Today all rearmounts and Tower Ladders can only Seat 5 men and an officer. Only the few tillers left can sit 6 and an officer today.

    I wonder what the Engine men weigh with a roll up and what the control man's bag weighs also?

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-13-2005 at 03:44 PM.

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    Another point on hoisting the saw to the roof with the intial roofmen: The first priority when reaching the roof ( aside from looking for a second means of egress ) is begining primary roof operations asap; forcing the bulkhead door, taking skylights, rooftop vents, top floor windows (top floor job) and checking rear and shafts for people at windows (and initiating roof rope resque if needed)All this is one of THE MOST important things that will effect the outcome of the job. ALL this must be done before cutting the roof at top floor job. So, by the time all this gets done, you'd have a guy standing on the street doing nothing but waiting for you to lower a rope to the saw. If this was to be done before your primary operations, it would be an enormous waste of time.

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    Thanks for another bit of insight to the FDNY!!!
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    Originally posted by MattyJ
    Another point on hoisting the saw to the roof with the intial roofmen: The first priority when reaching the roof ( aside from looking for a second means of egress ) is begining primary roof operations asap; forcing the bulkhead door, taking skylights, rooftop vents, top floor windows (top floor job) and checking rear and shafts for people at windows (and initiating roof rope resque if needed)All this is one of THE MOST important things that will effect the outcome of the job. ALL this must be done before cutting the roof at top floor job. So, by the time all this gets done, you'd have a guy standing on the street doing nothing but waiting for you to lower a rope to the saw. If this was to be done before your primary operations, it would be an enormous waste of time.
    I understand what your saying, but it doesnt really take that long to do things like we do. This is how we are trained right from fire school so we are used to it. A few steps slower then the NY Bro's for sure, but still pretty quick.

    This is some good stuff.
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    Another point that some may or may not find interesting regarding the tools carried. It is safe to say that probably 95-99% of the jobs we go to....these are the only tools we use (not counting portable ladders) What the guys carry as per their riding position, gets the job done almost always. Very seldom is there any running back to the rig for other tools. So the men that came before us really did get it right and set the standard.

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    Originally posted by MattyJ
    Another point that some may or may not find interesting regarding the tools carried. It is safe to say that probably 95-99% of the jobs we go to....these are the only tools we use (not counting portable ladders) What the guys carry as per their riding position, gets the job done almost always. Very seldom is there any running back to the rig for other tools. So the men that came before us really did get it right and set the standard.
    Does sound like you have it down to a science.

    Question, how often do the assignments change. Do you rotate per shift, or once a roof man always a roof man?
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    Each member of the company can handle any position (except for chauffer who is a member of the company, but also trained in that position at Chauffer Training School, a 2 week class) So you can have the Roof one night, the Can or Irons the next and so on. Companies have different policies on who gets what (most guys want either the Can or Irons) So the assignments may be given for that tour based on things like senority, group #(schedualed tour or working for someone) What assignment you had on the prior tour (Inside on prior tour, outside on next) or whether a probie is working (usually gets the can, so he is with the officer) and a senior guy on the Irons. Whatever the policy for that company though, you will usually get all the positions over the course of the year. Which is good, because each guy in the company will be capable and have experience in each position. There are some guys who pretty much drive every tour ( Seated Chauffer is the term ) He is usually a Senior man, and he drives unless he wants a tour on the back step, and a back-up chauffer is working.
    Did that confuse you enough???

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    Originally posted by FFFRED


    That is why on some rearmounts years ago had the Phone booth for the 7th man. Today all rearmounts and Tower Ladders can only Seat 5 men and an officer. Only the few tillers left can sit 6 and an officer today.



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