Firefighters rely upon a wide variety of tools, clothing, equipment and other gear in the performance of their duties. Many are very specialized and can be used in a variety of ways.We’ve included a representative variety of clothing, tools and equipment on this page to help explain how they are used by firefighters as they perform the many tasks they might be assigned.
If there is a tool or piece of equipment you would like to know more about, please send us an email describing it and we’ll do our best to explain how it’s used by our firefighters.
- An externally mounted air filtration system, which enables these saws to run longer than conventional chain saws in the hot, smoky fire ground environment.
- A tool-less guard/depth gauge, which provides maximum operator protection by covering the cutting chain, but allows depth-of-cut adjustments, from zero to eight inches deep to prevent cutting rafters and supports. These adjustments can be made easily with gloves on.
- A Carbide Tipped Bullet Chain. Designed to file through a variety of materials instead of cutting or slicing through.
Although the Bullet Chain is specifically designed to cut wood and other typical building materials it has been proven to cut through numerous other materials in rescue situations which include: Roofing nails, joist hangers, nailing plates, flashing, light gauge sheet metal, and some lightweight concretes. It is also capable of cutting automotive sheet metal, automotive glass, hurricane glass, bulletproof glass, plastics, fiberglass, and many other composite materials. It can also cut aircraft skin, cockpit and aircraft windows, and some aircraft structural materials.Cutters Edge Multi-Cut Fire Rescue Saws are available in a number of models based on bar lengths of 12”, 16” or 20”. The approximate weight of each saw is 20 lbs.
Submitted by Firefighter Justin Carson
Most firefighting boots are rubber with a felt liner, however there are leather boots that have laces and/or zipper closures. The leather boots provide good stability and protection however they are about double the cost of the traditional rubber boots.
There are several styles of gloves: the most familiar five-fingered style, a mitt style, and an interesting 3 fingered style. The gloves are resistant to tears and cuts and provide insulation for the skin.
A Halligan tool can be joined together with an axe or TNT tool to form what is known as “a set of IRONS”.
Specifications: Manufactured of heat treated high alloy steel for maximum strength. The Halligan is available in numerous lengths ranging from 24” to 42” and weights from 8 lbs. to 12 lbs.
Submitted by: Firefighter Justin Carson
Reference: Essentials of Firefighting, 4th Edition
Mounted on the front of the helmet is a ‘passport’, which identifies the department and has a Velcro panel on which the firefighter attaches a tag indicating the vehicle to which he/she is assigned. When they are off duty, the Velcro patch on the helmet is one that displays the firefighter’s name for quick identification of the helmet.
The interior of the helmet is lined with either felt or suede over a plastic suspension system to provide insulating and protective air space between the top of the wearer’s head and the helmet shell. The plastic suspension system is adjustable by a rachet system either made larger or smaller by turning a knob at the back of the helmet.
Windsor firefighters have a storm collar attached to the helmet liner by Velcro. The storm collar adds an additional layer of protection over and above that provided by the balaclava. It also provides warmth during long hours at a winter fire or accident scene.
The downfall to being so protected is the condition of heat stress, which is the imbalance of heat gain to heat loss within the human body. This problem plagues every fire department and is a serious concern in the summer months. That is why rehabilitation (“Rehab”) on the fire scene is becoming more of a factor in firefighter health and safety.
“Rehabilitation is a post work or rest period management of the individuals environment, activity, condition, and clothing to limit the effects of heat accumulation from work in hot environments.”
Windsor Fire & Rescue Services has added a piece of equipment to its arsenal to increase firefighter health and safety. This is the KORE KOOLER REHAB CHAIR made by Morning Pride Manufacturing, who is also a leading manufacturer of firefighter protective ensembles.
The rehab chair uses the practice of “passive cooling” (removal of SCBA, coat, helmet and gloves) for fire ground rehab but goes one step further and introduces forearm cooling. The chair relies on direct contact of the skin with a large volume of water through immersion. Heat is transferred from the hotter arms of the firefighter to the cooler water in the troughs and the cooled blood flows back to the body core picking up additional core heat for subsequent removal.
- Construction: The chair is essentially a modified folding chair with arm reservoirs that contain plastic bags filled with ambient temperature water. Features wide rail design to accommodate the bulk of bunker gear
- Seat Height: 16 inches
- Chair Weight: 11 lbs
- Chair Weight Capacity: rated at 300 lbs
- Color: Blue, (special order colors: Black, Lime, or Green)
- Accessories: optional Sun Shade that attaches to the chair
The general public may not see the Kore Kooler Rehab Chair as a piece of safety equipment due to the perception that the firefighters on the scene are sitting down and are not actively engaged in firefighting activities but the reality is that the rehab chair has proven beneficial in increasing firefighter safety and allows the firefighters to be more productive on the fire scene.
It is a general practice within the Windsor Fire & Rescue Services that the Rehab chairs be used at any working structure fire or any other emergency incident when feasible.
Submitted by: Firefighter Justin Carson
Reference: Information and photo referenced from www.morningpride.com
The Leak Seal Kit contains a variety of items such as plugs, patches, bags, straps, screws, etc. which are used to seal leaks in drums, barrels, containers, railway cars, gas tanks, etc.
These tools are used in situations where non-sparking leak-stop equipment is required.
The photo to the left displays all of the items found in the Leak Seal Kit.
Axe, Bung Wrench, Pipe Wrench, Scrub Brush, Pry Bar, and Shovel
These tools are designed to be used in rescue situations in explosive atmospheres. They can be used without the fear of creating a spark which could trigger an explosion.
The pump panel is where it all begins: we have to have a starting point where the application of the water and foam is controlled as it is applied to the fire.
The panel is a mixture of gauges, inlets, outlets, lights and control handles that when operated by the pump driver is the beginning of the fire control. The fire hose is the lifeline to a firefighter, if when in a fire, the fire hose that he or she is operating fails, that firefighter is now in danger. So the job of the pump operator is very important, and the pump panel is his tool to do his job. For every fire hose that is fed by the pump, there is a gauge to tell the operator the pressure at which the hose is working, and a control handle that will turn the water supply on or off. To give the pump the water supply that is required to control the fire, there is a 5″ or 2 ½” inlet opening at the panel and also on the opposite side of the truck.
The pump panel also controls the water flow to the fire hose hand lines. It is up to the pump operator to control these hand lines at a safe operating pressure and this is done by the controls on the pump panel.
So there is a little bit about the pump panel on our fire truck, one of the many tools of our trade used to protect lives and property.
– submitted by Captain John Quennell
The red medical bag is at the side of the firefighting crew at every medical emergency.
In this bag, there is a 2200-psi oxygen tank that is controlled by a dual line regulator, which feeds our BVM (bag valve mask) and oxygen rebreather mask. The BVM comes in two sizes, infant and adult, and they are easily interchangeable. They are used to assist the breathing of a patient by squeezing the bag to enter the proper amount of air to inflate the lungs.
Also in the bag is an assortment of airways, used to assist in airflow to the lungs. These come in a variety of sizes from infant to adult. They are inserted in the mouth at a side angle and turned a quarter clockwise to enter the airway. The measurement of the distance from the side of the mouth to the ear lobe determines the size of the airways.
There is also a hand suction device called the v-vac, that assists in the removal of fluid or debris that may block the patient’s airway. Also in the red bag there is an assortment of bandages and wrappings that help in the bleeding control of a patient, a compact package containing a silver rescue blanket, oxygen tubing, and Nitril medical gloves for the firefighter to wear for both his/her protection and that of the patient.
So when you see a firefighter enter a home with the red bag at their side, you will know that person is going to get the best care possible.
– submitted by Captain John Quennell
The new style is made from a high-tech plastic/fiberglass alloy and the spanner has evolved into a multi-use tool. In addition to performing all of the tasks a regular spanner does, this device has a seat belt cutter, a center punch for breaking automotive glass, an elongated notch for shutting off meters. It folds in half and is compact enough for the firefighters to easily carry it in their bunker coat or pant’s pocket.
(reprinted from the May 2004 edition of Federal Signal’s “Hot Times” newsletter)
The most powerful light produced cannot penetrate smoke, however thermal (infrared) energy does penetrate smoke. The Thermal Imaging Camera has the ability to transfer the thermal energy (infrared waves) into a visible image. The image produced is very much like an x-ray and it takes a trained person to correctly interpret the image. In a fire where the smoke is so thick a firefighter can’t see more than a couple of inches past his/her visor, the camera allows for a more effective search and rescue operation.
While firefighters are always mindful of causing as little damage to a fire scene as possible, it is also necessary to ensure that fire has not ‘traveled’ to inaccessible areas, waiting to rekindle. The Thermal Imaging Camera allows firefighters to locate hot spots in a wall or duct where fire can hide. It also allows firefighters to minimize damage at a fire scene and to prevent rekindles which can be costly to both the property owner and the municipality, and to preserve evidence at fires, enabling the Investigator to better determine the fire origin.
Windsor Fire & Rescue Services was the beneficiary of fundraising partnerships carried out by a variety of businesses, service clubs, and private citizens. Each camera now costs approximately $17,000. It was important that each station have an imaging camera and the donations were supplemented by department funding to purchase a total of 5 cameras, so far. Recently, the Windsor Firefighters Combat Challenge Team won a thermal imaging camera at the world competitions. Scott Technologies presented the camera to the team who, in turn, presented it to the Fire Chief.
– submitted by District Chief Gary Newton
Denver Firefighters Mark Trujillo and Robert Terry took it upon themselves to develop a tool that would prevent the above situation. They called it the “T-N-T Tool”(due to their last names), or in the fire service it is also known as the “Denver Tool”.
The T-N-T Tool is designed to be five (5) tools in one. So no matter what obstacles you might face, the tool will be the right one.
The T-N-T Tool consists of the following:
- An Axe: used to cut holes, windshields, locks, and thin metals
- A Pry: used to pry trim during overhaul, open windows, and doors
- A Ram: used to force doors, breach walls, and overhaul
- D-Handle Pike pole: used to pull ceilings and walls, extra reach, and overhaul
- Sledge Hammer: used to force doors and walls.
The T-N-T Tool is available in yellow or black handles and is available in many sizes and weights. Head weights are available in 6.5 lbs or 8.5 lbs and lengths or 30”, 35” and 40”.
The T-N-T tool continues to grow in popularity. More often than not it is the tool of choice for Windsor Firefighters. The Windsor Fire & Rescue Service maintains an inventory of at least one T-N-T Tool per vehicle.