Categories: 4. Ventilation
Categories: 1. Forcible Entry
Tags: halligan, Halligan Modification, ny hook, outside vent man, roof hook modification
You are cordially invited to make your outside vent tools more user friendly and efficient. The Halligan and 6′ hook has long been the baseline set of tools for the outside vent position. In my fire department the OV position is the “ladders firefighter” (FF sitting behind the driver). This position has a large amount of duties to accomplish when arriving as a first due truck. The driver is the other part of this two person team but we routinely operate by ourselves around the outside of the building performing similar duties. The only time we strictly operate together is during vertical ventilation or during vent enter search. The ladders firefighter will be laddering above grade windows, removing window bars, forcing the c-side door for egress, and performing a horizontal vent when needed.
This gives you a general idea of how that seat works for us and why this position carries a certain tool compliment. When I am riding Ladders I carry a Pig in my belt, with a 6’hook married to a Halligan. The tool in my belt along with the Halligan married to the 6′ hook allows for maximum efficiency because I still have a free hand to bring ladders to the building each time I walk to the truck. I think it is poor practice as an outside vent firefighter to only carry a hook and then have to return to the truck for a Halligan to force the c-side door or remove stubborn window bars. Both which are critical duties that should be accomplished in the first few minutes of our members operating interior.
Here’s the solution for us, and by no means did I invent this. Companies all over the country have been utilizing chain links to marry their hook and Halligan long before I was even in the fire service. I get a lot of questions and emails about this concept and hope I can make a few peoples jobs a little easier.
It’s a simple fix and we have used it on several hooks for many years. By welding a chain link at the appropriate height on the hook it allows you to put the forks of the Halligan over the chain link, then squeeze the tools and slam the base of the hook on the ground. It will cause the forks to bite into the chain link and creates a very tight bond with the tools.
This creates a very easy one hand carry of the tools and reduces hand fatigue. If you currently don’t have these tools married you know that you have to keep a tight grip on them and it is not uncommon for the tools to separate half way to your target. This will be eliminated with the chain link. The bond is tight enough that once you get to your location you very rarely can pull them apart by hand. If I am on concrete or asphalt I will just throw the tools on the ground while I throw my ladder. The impact on the ground will separate them. The other option is to flip them upside down like the photo below and bump the head of the roof hook on hard ground or against the foundation of the house, etc. This will also easily separate them.
There is no set measurement for the chain link that I can give you. This article is obviously on a Pro Bar, but it is going to vary by the brand of Halligan. There are Halligans out there that this will not work with. If you are using a Pro Bar there is some variances on this measurement based on the age of the Pro Bar. I like to make this chain so that all of them will marry up regardless of age.
To get your spacing right, marry up the Halligan with the hook in one hand and slide your chain link in between the forks with the other hand. If the Halligan is pulled down flush to the hook now is the time to give it some space. Your goal is to leave some space between the bottom of the adze where it will touch the top of the hook. The picture below is taken with the Halligan just lightly sitting on the top of the chain. If you leave about a 1/2 inch where that dirty fat finger is, you will end up with enough room to give a nice solid bite on the chain link when you slam the base on the ground.
If you don’t leave enough space the Halligan will bounce off the top of the hook before you ever get a bite. If you are unsure of this, lean towards a little too much space rather than too little. Too much space will still marry the tools together when you bite the chain, even if there is a left over space between the tools. Too little will cause the Halligan to bounce off the hook before it sets properly.
The picture above is after the tool has been slammed on the ground and the Halligan bites the chain. You can see the nice tight fit between the tool heads. Once you find the spacing for your Halligan, make a mark on the chain link and a mark on the roof hook.
Once you have your mark, just use a small tack weld to hold the link to the hook, now put the Halligan back on and just dry fit your mark. Don’t slam the tool down, but see if you like your spacing. If it looks good, run a bead and call it good. I have never had one of these links fail or cause the hook to weaken or bend in any way, shape or form.
Now you have yourself a set of combat ready outside vent tools. I slide mine in the slot at the bottom left of this ladder compartment, they’re married together and pull out very clean and quick. I pull my tools, then select my ladder and I am ready to move within seconds (no extra fumbling around or assembly required!)
Categories: 4. Ventilation
This is one of the best pre arrival videos I have seen showing fire and smoke conditions. It is a great one to watch at the kitchen table and discuss tactics. Lots of good points to talk about here and what you might do with your own departments response and tactics.
First line? Second line?
Vertical vent? If so what location? If you wouldn’t vertical this how would you vent it?
Search opportunity and where’s the survivable space?
Tags: primary search, search, search for opportunity, VEIS, VES
By Ryan Royal
This article is not intended as a hoorah, get in there at all costs motivational speech. This is simply taking some of my experiences and trying to pass on the good and bad. Because of my rank and our Truck Co seat assignments, primary search has just happened to be the most common fire ground function I have been apart of. It has evolved a great deal for me over the years and I have had many great fire officers that I searched with. All of this put together has really changed the way I look at a fire building and how I search it. Our Truck Co’s are privileged with our response and staffing allowing us to be dedicated to search without compromising the Engine getting the first hose line put in place. Although this is a search based article, it still revolves around the first hose line doing good work.
“Searching For Opportunity” is a mindset that I have tried to personally adopt when it comes to assessing and performing primary searches or VES on the fire ground. I try to look at any fire building in a very optimistic way when it comes to conditions v.s. survivable space. When I say optimistic, I mean to alway assume that one of the four sides of the fire building will have survivable space for potential victims and the only thing that will change this opportunity to search is the conditions found when we actually lay eyes on it. A one room fire makes this very easy, a well involved building changes the options a little bit. The street side view of the fire conditions is merely a first impression, I am still looking for opportunity. Where are the most threatened rooms, what still has a chance, and where are the people inside most likely to be at this point? All things I try to think about at any fire.
I don’t think it is fair to immediately rule out the chance of victims surviving in a building from the first one-sided view you get at the sidewalk. It does not tell you enough and it is the pessimistic approach to primary search. I think “searching for opportunity” is a very similar motto to “expect fire”, I am sure most of you have heard of that mentality. Expecting fire is the mental preparation and actions of always expecting a fire when we get sent out the door on a fire run. This mindset makes it much easier to tone down our pace after the on scene information and conditions confirm that we can and at the same time when it is a working fire you are not surprised, because you are the Fire Department and thats who they call for fires.
This same idealolgy applies to the search team on the fire ground. We should always be expecting victims to be inside and basing our actions off this opportunity to make a rescue. Now this is the internet, so here is where I insert the disclaimer: This is not where you assume I am saying dive through windows that are venting fire and lose all discipline. Instead I think it is a healthy mentality for us to expect that civilians are inside and search for any opportunity to effect a primary search based off of fire conditions, good size up, disciplined training and experience telling us where they most likely are. Just like expect fire, we do not change our game plan because of a screaming neighbor saying people are trapped or a police officer telling us everyone is out. That is simply fire ground information and we shouldn’t let this amp us up, or even worse deescalate our motivation for a primary search.
One specific experience that happened to me several years ago is worth passing along and directly speaks to this mindset of expecting rescues. We were sent to a house fire with reported explosions, updates were multiple burn victims in the front yard and dispatch reported twice that everyone was out of the building. This report was confirmed by the homeowner of the house “everyone is out of the building”. There was a large body of fire venting from this house along with a fully charged attic space. Inside the home we found an infant still in her crib. This is the only victim I have ever removed from a fire that was completely ok and survived, and it just happens to be from a fire scene that the homeowner confirmed everyone was out of. He had forgotten that his buddy helping him that day left his child inside the house while they worked on a car together. The trauma of everyone being burned severely caused his mind to slip outside of normal operation, this is a typical human response to tragedy and chaos. We cannot expect civilians to give us accurate and timely information, however they should be able to expect us to keep our cool and search the building to the best of our ability.
Information from homeowners, bystanders and so forth should not be treated as golden information that we base all of our actions upon. We are the professionals and should be taking actions based off the fire conditions and the potential search opportunity. The bystander information should simply be extra credit in the size up, you can take it or leave it but you can’t rely on it and be successful.
I have had fatal fires that we recieved zero information from people standing in the front yard, and then we found victims during primary search or hose line advancement. The following example is almost worse for the firefighter and his discipline. The number one most common face to face intel I have received from next door neighbors is them reporting people are trapped inside. Every single time I have had reported trapped parties on scene from neighbors, it has turned out to be untrue. This is just how the majority of society works, when fires happen they lose much of their rational thought and assume the worst. They are pessimistic about anything relating to the current situation and begin to verbally spill it out. “People are trapped”, “It is going to blow up”, “It’s going to spread to my house” “What took you guys so long”. You have all heard it and know what I am talking about, it is truly just words falling out of their mouths because the current situation is too much for them to take in and process.
Allowing bystander information to elevate the pace of our fire ground and change the way we look at searches is a time bomb waiting to go off. When this bomb is dropped by the anxious neighbor or the drunk roommate it will instantly cause anxiousness and tunnel vision in the responding firefighter if they were not expecting rescues. For the mentally prepared and disciplined firefighter it should be nothing more than a small amount of information that allows you to be that much more effective and accurate with the location of our search.
We should be the victims optimist until proven otherwise! If we stay well trained and disciplined it allows us to take decisive action and truly make a difference when the minutes really count. When we assess the full picture and decide that a search cannot be made before some type of water application, we’ll at least know that we have done our best to ensure anyone inside had their best chance of us finding them. If we search for opportunity at every fire and only let fire conditions be what rules out survivable space, then we avoid the pitfalls of bad information or making bad judgments from a one sided view. Let us be the ones that make the expert decision on when to search ahead of the line, when to search coordinated with the attack or when we simply have to wait until after the attack has commenced. That is our job and it is why we need thinking firefighters that thrive on making decisions in that environment. Expect victims and search for opportunity.
This video reviews the extremely versatile and valuable 6′ steel NY Roof Hook. This simple technique can make the difference in a large number of forcible entry situations. This is one of the most simple but effective steps you can take in many commercial forcible entry scenarios. When a door is holding on to conventional prying with the Halligan, take the extra 15 seconds and give it a good shot with this cheater bar in place.
Categories: 1. Forcible Entry
Inward swinging commercial metal doors with a variety of different drop bars behind them. Notice on inward swinging doors everything is mounted to the frame causing it to be blind from the outside. Gap Set Force.
Categories: 1. Forcible Entry
Tags: forcing doors, gapping doors, halligan work, skinning doors
This video shows a very important skill that is very difficult to describe and teach without having real metal doors. At the same time I truly believe it is one of the most important skills a firefighter needs to know during outward swinging door forcible entry. If the door skins too bad without being overcome, it can prevent you from getting in a very simple door. If you are not familiar with skinning doors, please take the time to watch this one out of all of the other videos.