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Thread: Fireground Tricks of the Trade.....

  1. #1
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Default Fireground Tricks of the Trade.....

    Ok.....what are your tricks of the trade.....FIREGROUND only......I could care less about EMS...which includes MVAs, unless its something REALLY GOOOD.....I want to hear about fireground tricks....

    Here's two of mine....

    1) The 2.5" line.....advancing......w/ 4 members....1 Nozzleman....1 Back up, 1 doorman, 1 control man......stretch 4 lengths minimum for a fire in a taxpayer......make a LOOP in the line, inline w/ the nozzle team....making sure that the lead length is on top of the "pile".......2 MEN will be able to advance this line into a compartment w/o a problem. The weight of the line is inline w/ the advance......the 2 FIREMEN will be able to advance an operating line a good distance.......the same 2 MEN will be able to advance the line by themselves.......

    2) The 2.5" again.....the scenerio is that you HAVE to make a very quick push to help effect rescue of trapped members.......anyone who has actually operated a 2.5" in real fire knows how much of a BIT*H it is.....(especially basements, cellars, and subcellars ).....anyway..back on track,,,,,,
    What we do is....operate the line...crack it down, stand up to a crouch, grab the bail, and PUSH IN by RUNNING A few feet....get back into the crouch, operate, and repeat the advance......until you make the objective. If you get burned...(and you probably will.....but you got the water), no matter, it means you did what was neccessary to make sure your brothers go home ot kiss thier sweethearts that night.......this is a TRYED and TRUE tactic.....and basically...its the JOB....

    PS....I love this Sh*t....
    Last edited by VinnieB; 10-04-2005 at 11:34 PM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member Skwerl530's Avatar
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    Default Need to overhaul a trailer?

    Uh I mean manufactured house. Use the hook on a drywall hook to rip the siding then tear it back with said hook. If there is paneling on the inside push it in with the blunt bit of an axe. Don't try to cut it with the blade, it will take forever. Just "jab" it with the head of the axe where the paneling is nailed to the wall.

    For those that don't know, this is a drywall hook:
    http://www.emc4rescue.com/catalogs/e...d/it010028.htm

    No I don't sell them this was just the 1st picture I found.
    Last edited by Skwerl530; 10-04-2005 at 10:19 PM.
    We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering.

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    Good tips Vinnie. Gotta love them women firefighters . Anyway, got any tips for the good ol Halligan? My tool of choice, great for overhualing and obviously forcible entry. For lath and plaster walls I like to drive the pike into the wall, tilt up, and pull the lath and plaster off the studs when intitially opening up.

    As for 2 1/2s, if only two guys available, have the second guy pin the line to the ground if static, beats having the 2nd guy holding the line and trying to put his weight into it.

    When advancing a line, don't get yourself between the turn and the hoseline.

  4. #4
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    When sitting on a 2.5 at a large and prolonged job...find an old tire and 3 cinder blocks. Place the 1 block on the ground and the tire on top of the block...loop the line and place the nozzle on top of the tire with approx 2 feet hanging over the tire...place the other two blocks on each side of the line ( together) a few of feet back from the tire this will allow you a dry place to sit while you play the line. Make sure the loop is on top of and in front of the blocks. ...Work smarter not harder
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  5. #5
    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Default Engine Tips & Tricks

    Nice thread Vinnie. This should be good!

    I can go on all day on stuff like this!

    - When operating any line as a nozzle FF keep the nozzle out in front of you at least 3 feet. It should be just in reach so you can operate the bale of the nozzle. This makes it easier to operate the line. It is easier to bend the nozzle around a corner to hit fire or if there is fire over your head you don't have to do a triple lindy backflip to hit it. Just point and aim and it goes out.

    - Do yourself and your company a favor and saw off the pistol grip so you don't get stuck with the nozzle in your chest and unable to operate it without wrestling the line and overworking yourself.

    - When adding a length to a short-stretch or preconnect (remember preconnects can't hit everything) ALWAYS add it from the supply (engine or stand-pipe) side. It is much faster and easier to add it when done this way. It is usually the Engine Chauffeur that is adding it anyway, and that is his position.

    - ALWAYS FLUSH THE HYDRANT OR STAND-PIPE. THIS ISN'T A TIP, IT'S A MUST, BUT YET FFs STILL DON'T DO IT! Why hook up if you don't know if it is going to work?

    - If operating with no backup FF. Situate yourself on a wall before you open the line. Let the nozzle reaction be absorbed by the wall.

    - If operating with no backup FF. Put a knee on the hose line about 5 feet back from the nozzle before you open the nozzle. The nozzle reaction should be transmitted to the floor.

    - When washing down. Whoever is overhaulling, have them pull ALL of the ceilings and ALL of the walls that need to be pulled. Then have them LEAVE the room. Move to one corner of the room and operate the line soaking all of the area that needs to be covered. Shut down the line, and move to the opposite corner and do the same thing. Move on to the next room and do the same until overhaul is complete. This doesn't allow any part of the opened up area to not be touched by water.

    - In hallways, to avoid cluttering make large loops of hose on the wall (about 5'-6' high) right outside the fire apartment on the opposite wall. Gravity will allow the hose to feed to the nozzle team. When the loops start to go away, feed more hose to the loop or make another one.

    - If you are operating with a solid stream (smooth-bore) line and need to perform hydraulic ventilation. Spin off the outside tip (AND PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET), move to a window and crack the nozzle 1/2 way. It is not as effecient as a fog nozzle for hydraulic ventilation but it works great. You can also leave the tip on and crack the nozzle 1/2 way and that works too. I personally don't like fog nozzles for interior fire attack, and most advocates of fog nozzles use the "well I can't vent with a solid stream nozzle!" Throw this at them and see what they say. Like I said, it takes a little longer, but we are in a slow-down situation at that point. There is no need to "hurry up and get the smoke out of here" once you have it knocked down.

    - If operating as the back-up FF. Get right on the nozzle FFs back. There should be NO space between you and the nozzle FF. When the line is open there should be constant pressure on the nozzle FF so that the only thing that they are doing is pointing the stream. I have seen a backup FF up to 5' behind the nozzle FF. You are doing no good to anyone there. The back-up FF should also be giving the nozzle FF positive encouragement. Phrases like "keep going", "good job", "keep moving in" do A TON for a new or even the experienced firefighter in a fire. Remember, you are there to back them up physically and mentally!

    I'll throw more down later!
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  6. #6
    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Default Truck Tips

    Someone requested Halligans?

    - Use a small diameter rope and friction tape to create a grip for one hand when you are using the tool as a striking tool. Start up the handle about 9" from the forks and make 9" of friction tape and cord wrap. When you are using the halligan as a striking tool, one hand should be just above the fork and the other on the cord & tape wrap. This will stop you from slipping off/down the tool

    - Weld a steel ring or loop from the fork to the handle on the fork side opposite the adz end. This is for venting top floor windows from the roof. Use your utility rope with a snap hook. Attach the snap hook to the ring. Lower the halligan to the top pane of the window to measure it. At that point wrap the rope around your hand once, raise the halligan to the roof and throw it off. The halligan will swing back into the building and break the window.

    - If you have your own halligan weld your name on it so it doesn't get mixed up. We had crap halligans on my former department so I bought my own. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

    - When taking doors and all you have is a halligan and the halligan hook you can put the halligan hook head on the floor. Hold the halligan in 1 hand where you want it. Then step on the 90 degree side of the halligan hook for stability and slam the steel handle into the halligan tool to force entry. It will work for some doors but not all.

    - Speaking of Halligan hooks: The 90 degree angle is for pulling ceiling, the 45 degree angle is for pulling roof boards. If you have a gas shut-off end, that end is great for banging up boards of finished attics when you need to gain access.

    - If you cut peaked roofs by SOP, bring at least a 10' hook to the roof to push down the ceiling. With a 6' hook you are going to take a beating trying to push down a ceiling. A 10' hook will let you work like a gentleman and still reach the ceiling.

    - With the Halligan As Erics99 says: Drive the pike into the wall and pull up for your initial hole. then slide the tool fork first into the wall and pull out. It will open up huge sections of the wall with minimal effort.

    - The same tactic can be done with the 6' hook. just be careful to not over-work the 6' wood hook. Only pull what is sensible. IT WILL BREAK, trust me! If you only pull two feet of material at a time you are still moving faster than if you were using the hook to pull the wall.

    - You can also use the same tactic on the ceiling with the hook or the halligan if you have a floor boards from the floor above. You will have to find something to stand on if you are using the halligan. Open up a small area, slide the hook behind the ceiling and pull down. Large sections of ceiling will come down with it. This won't work if there is nothing behind the ceiling (i.e. unfinished attic).

    - Anything less than an 8lb axe or maul (slege) is a waste of time. 6lb axes should be chromed, engraved, given to a great guy and hung on a wall. I always take the 10-12lb sledge when I have the irons.

    - Speaking of waste of time: Pickhead axes! Ohhhh! The Chicago guys are gonna go nuts! LOL. Throw them on a rig that does all of their running in a parade route and get a real FFs tool! The halligan is just as effective and very versitile! Don't get me wrong, there are some guys that know the pick-head up and down and can do a lot of stuff with it. I think it is just easier to do the same things with the halligan. Sorry pickhead axe guys, just my feeling, nothing personal!

    - When hitting a halligan tool on forcible entry, get on your knees and put the axe or maul perpindicular to the floor (handle straight up & down). Use short swinged, controlled hits and strike the adz end right where the handle is. This will provide you the maximum target and you shouldn't miss and break the irons FF's wrist.

    - If forcing a door in zero or limited visibility, before you strike the halligan, listen for the irons FF to call out "hit". When he calls hit, reach out and touch the halligan where you plan to hit it. Move your hand and hit it. Before you hit it again, repeat the same steps. Remember that the halligan will probably be in a different spot as you force the door. You wouldn't believe the difference it makes by touching the halligan.

    That's all I have for now! I'll throw more down later!
    ladder9volley likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDeMarse
    Someone requested Halligans?

    - If you cut peaked roofs by SOP, bring at least a 10' hook to the roof to push down the ceiling. With a 6' hook you are going to take a beating trying to push down a ceiling. A 10' hook will let you work like a gentleman and still reach the ceiling.
    And if you have to bail from one peaked roof to the next, you can drive the pick of your "waste of time axe" into the other roof on landing to give you something to hold.
    - With the Halligan As Erics99 says: Drive the pike into the wall and pull up for your initial hole. then slide the tool fork first into the wall and pull out. It will open up huge sections of the wall with minimal effort.
    We do the same with our "WOTA". Open a hole, drop the handle down the wall, grab the pick and blade and pull.

    - Anything less than an 8lb axe or maul (slege) is a waste of time. 6lb axes should be chromed, engraved, given to a great guy and hung on a wall. I always take the 10-12lb sledge when I have the irons.

    - Speaking of waste of time: Pickhead axes! Ohhhh! The Chicago guys are gonna go nuts! LOL. Throw them on a rig that does all of their running in a parade route and get a real FFs tool! The halligan is just as effective and very versitile! Don't get me wrong, there are some guys that know the pick-head up and down and can do a lot of stuff with it. I think it is just easier to do the same things with the halligan. Sorry pickhead axe guys, just my feeling, nothing personal!
    Easier to open a hardwood floor with a halligan? Easier to chop out a windshield with a halligan? Easier to vent a peaked roof with a halligan?Easier to swing a halligan and punch out a trunk lock than a pick axe? Easier to open auto hoods for the pipe with a halligan? A real FF's tool? Yeah, no one associates pickhead axes with the fire department! Old school!
    Other than that, some good stuff!

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    Another Haligan tip:
    For Outward opening doors. Hold the tool like a baseball bat at the fork end. Swing the tool as hard as you can at the door and drive the pike end into the door near the handle/lock(METAL DOOR) Then pull on the fork end to pull the door away from the frame. This works well for doors that are real tight, where you can not get an initial purchase. Once it is pulled back you will be able to get the adze end in to force the door. This also may open the door completely if there is a "push bar" on the other side because it may just knock it off.

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    Cpt. Common Sents nbfcfireman's Avatar
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    Default

    for fires in warehouses or even houses it is good to keep a a few golf balls in your pocket. If you get dissoriented through one of them ahead of you, listen for the sound. easiest in a warehouse, most have metal walls, loud bang!!if you go a while and still havent hit a wall, throw another!!

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    Forum Member nyckftbl's Avatar
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    wow we finally got some good threads going....

    As for the pick head axe/halligan debate.....
    Easier to open a hardwood floor with a halligan? Easier to chop out a windshield with a halligan? Easier to vent a peaked roof with a halligan?Easier to swing a halligan and punch out a trunk lock than a pick axe? Easier to open auto hoods for the pipe with a halligan? A real FF's tool? Yeah, no one associates pickhead axes with the fire department! Old school!
    I kinda find a saw easier for the hardwood floor....a Sawzall for the windshield, as for the peaked roof debate....Im not going there, cuz i bring a saw.....Yes, i do find the halligan MUCH easier to ues when opening a trunk lock or prying open the corner of a hood to use the nozzle. I cant imagine why a pickhead axe would be easier in either of these two situations. The point end of the halligan is just slightly smaller than the axe, and if your cant finesse your way through the lock, you already have your tool there to force open the entire trunk. Why work harder?

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    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Easier to open auto hoods for the pipe with a halligan?
    Actually that's possibly a tie!! I am by no means anti-pickhead axe, but I use the halligan for hood access with no problems because it gives me options with one tool. I can put the point through the sheet metal and fold it back or I can use the forks through the grill to grab the cable and twist so technically I win because I can do 2 different things with my halligan (of course as a PH Axe lover you may have some more tricks than I am thinking of so let's have 'em.

  12. #12
    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Easier to open a hardwood floor with a halligan? Easier to chop out a windshield with a halligan? Easier to vent a peaked roof with a halligan?Easier to swing a halligan and punch out a trunk lock than a pick axe? Easier to open auto hoods for the pipe with a halligan? A real FF's tool? Yeah, no one associates pickhead axes with the fire department! Old school!
    Other than that, some good stuff!
    Hardwood floors are easy enough. Pike through the floor then pry backwards on the adz (it is it's own fulcrum) to rip up a board. Move to a joist and slide the pike under the floor and pull towards the adz using the joist as a fulcrum. I have never really found a need to rip up a hardwood floor at a fire. The drills that I have attended in case it was needed, the halligan works great. I have used both tools though

    Chopping a windshild can be done with the short strokes using the forked end. I guess it would be faster to do with an axe, so you might have me here. Then again, we have to get the posts cut, so we might have some time to do it with the forks or go get the windshield saw or saw-zall.

    I don't cut peaked roofs, so I am not up there to use either tool. I have used a pick-axe on a peaked roof prior to my career here, and I prefer either a maul, sledge or the back of the flathead axe to bash though. A halligan can be used, use the corner of the tool between the adz and the pike end. Opens up a larger area, but it will be more work since it is lighter.

    I do think it is easier to punch out a trunk lock with a halligan. The shorter tool allows for better accuracy if you are doing a 1 man swing. If you are not doing a 1 man operation (usually there are plenty of FFs looking for work at autos) you have a strike surface on the other side of the point so it can be driven through the lock.

    I think it is also easier to peel a auto hood back. Drive the pike into the hood and pry backwards over the adz (just like on the wood floor) and it will open up a large corner of the hood.

    However, my choice for getting under the hood at an auto fire is to break out the front grill (obviously after the main body of fire is knocked down), find the hood release cord, put the wire between the forks and twist several times to the right. This will operate the hood release just like if you pulled it from the interior. Open the hood and chock it open. After that, I have heard differing opinions, but I've always used the fork end to pry the terminals off of the battery. I have never heard of anyone being zapped, but I suppose it could happen.

    I've been arguing pickhead vs halligan for awhile brother! Don't get me wrong, I love tradition. If I had to chose 1 tool to bring in to a burning building for versatility it would definately be a halligan tool over a pickhead.

    Don't mistake my dislike of the pick-head axe as a bash on your department or tools. You guys work great with pickheads and there are several members that really know the capabilities of the tool. This has stirred quite a bit of discussion on the different tasks that can be accomplished with both tools. Nice job!
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

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    Cpt. Common Sents nbfcfireman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl
    ...a Sawzall for the windshield, as for the peaked roof debate...
    Dont agree with thing. dont car what you use but a sawsall, sawzall will put fine particulate glass into the air. Dont want to be breathing that. Personally I like a windshield hand saw.

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    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nbfcfireman
    Dont agree with thing. dont car what you use but a sawsall, sawzall will put fine particulate glass into the air. Dont want to be breathing that. Personally I like a windshield hand saw.
    You are absolutely correct! You do have to watch the fine glass dust that is created. Good call brother. The windshield saw is a great tool as an alternative.

    Stay safe brothers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFTrainer
    Actually that's possibly a tie!! I am by no means anti-pickhead axe, but I use the halligan for hood access with no problems because it gives me options with one tool. I can put the point through the sheet metal and fold it back or I can use the forks through the grill to grab the cable and twist so technically I win because I can do 2 different things with my halligan (of course as a PH Axe lover you may have some more tricks than I am thinking of so let's have 'em.
    I just put the blade in the seam of the hood and body, in between the windshield and the front, and then rotate the axe up. I personally think this is better than the halligan in the corner method because it gives you a better shot at the entire compartment and it is very fast and easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDeMarse
    Hardwood floors are easy enough. Pike through the floor then pry backwards on the adz (it is it's own fulcrum) to rip up a board. Move to a joist and slide the pike under the floor and pull towards the adz using the joist as a fulcrum. I have never really found a need to rip up a hardwood floor at a fire. The drills that I have attended in case it was needed, the halligan works great. I have used both tools though

    Chopping a windshild can be done with the short strokes using the forked end. I guess it would be faster to do with an axe, so you might have me here. Then again, we have to get the posts cut, so we might have some time to do it with the forks or go get the windshield saw or saw-zall.

    I don't cut peaked roofs, so I am not up there to use either tool. I have used a pick-axe on a peaked roof prior to my career here, and I prefer either a maul, sledge or the back of the flathead axe to bash though. A halligan can be used, use the corner of the tool between the adz and the pike end. Opens up a larger area, but it will be more work since it is lighter.

    I do think it is easier to punch out a trunk lock with a halligan. The shorter tool allows for better accuracy if you are doing a 1 man swing. If you are not doing a 1 man operation (usually there are plenty of FFs looking for work at autos) you have a strike surface on the other side of the point so it can be driven through the lock.

    I think it is also easier to peel a auto hood back. Drive the pike into the hood and pry backwards over the adz (just like on the wood floor) and it will open up a large corner of the hood.

    However, my choice for getting under the hood at an auto fire is to break out the front grill (obviously after the main body of fire is knocked down), find the hood release cord, put the wire between the forks and twist several times to the right. This will operate the hood release just like if you pulled it from the interior. Open the hood and chock it open. After that, I have heard differing opinions, but I've always used the fork end to pry the terminals off of the battery. I have never heard of anyone being zapped, but I suppose it could happen.

    I've been arguing pickhead vs halligan for awhile brother! Don't get me wrong, I love tradition. If I had to chose 1 tool to bring in to a burning building for versatility it would definately be a halligan tool over a pickhead.

    Don't mistake my dislike of the pick-head axe as a bash on your department or tools. You guys work great with pickheads and there are several members that really know the capabilities of the tool. This has stirred quite a bit of discussion on the different tasks that can be accomplished with both tools. Nice job!
    Wow, I was casually arguing a minor point in my initial response and now everyone is all over me! What the..... ? Ok, I'll try (half heartedly) to defend the axe. Number one, most important - you just look cooler carrying an axe. With that said........

    hardwood floors I would use a saw! I have never tried your method but it seems like it would be pretty tough getting a halligan through 3/4" tongue and groove flooring and the subflooring. Even with the longer, heavier axe it can be tough. At one job at an old commercial building I had to chop through 3/4" Maple flooring, subflooring, the original hardwood flooring, and another subfloor. I'm not quite sure how you manage that with a halligan. I'll have to find a vacant building and try it.

    I still think I win the windshield argument.

    I'm not a truckman so take this for what it's worth, but I still think the axe works the best on a peaked roof. Sure you could do it with a halligan, you could also do it with a butter knife if you had too, but that doesn't mean it's the right tool. As for the guy that makes peaked roofs with the roof saw - I'd like to watch that!

    Auto trunks - I just like the pick. I guess it's just what you are used to, but I've goten pretty god at hitting on the first or second swing.

    I answered the hood argument in the previous post, but I might have to give it to you because you can do the terminals and cable as well.


    And the winner is............

    PICKHEAD AXE
    Like I said, it just looks cooler

    As for me being offended at your dislike of the axe - never fear, I'm unoffendable (is that even a word?). The only thing that ticks me off is that I had to type so much in this half hearted defense!!! I'll have to think more before posting against you again! Hahaha

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    Maybe we should weld a pickhead axe head onto a halligan.

    Seriously though...when on a porch roof and ordered to take the windows of the second floor, always take the window fartherest from the ladder and work your way back to the ladder. If she blows out a window, you wont be cut off from your ladder.

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

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    ChicagoFF,
    "As for the guy that makes peaked roofs with the roof saw - I'd like to watch that!"

    We use a vent saw on peak roofs all the time here. A benefit to having a pick head on the roof is a pick head will always start, plus you can drive the pick into the roof for a support to put your foot while using your saw to cut a roof open.

    I have two quick halligan tricks that havent been mentioned.
    For inward swining doors set in woodframing if you are by yourself you can force the foor using the baseball swing. Swing and drive the pick into the door frame and then push down on the bar and that should force the door.

    Also if you are forcing a door with the irons in zero visibilty you can turn your axe or sledge head sideways in order to give yourself more surface area to hit the halligan with.

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    For additional leverage in forcing doors....

    Take two halligans, put the forked ends together. The increased length of the mated tools gives you more prying power! To release the tools, just drop them onto the floor or ground.

    If you can, carry a spare battery for your portable radio and thermal imagers. Batteries go dead at the worst possible moment....

    Carry a disposable flashlight, like the Garrity LifeLight in your turnouts, as handlights also go dead at the worst possible moment!
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  20. #20
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    Carry a disposable flashlight, like the Garrity LifeLight in your turnouts, as handlights also go dead at the worst possible moment!
    2 is 1, and 1 is none.
    God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
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