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3 Ways To Access The Roof Quickly – Part 2 | FireFighterToolBox


In my previous section of this article we discussed using adjoin buildings to get to the roof. Now we will concentrate on the next best way to get to the roof.


Ladders are the second best way to access the roof. The use of aerial ladders, either a platform or a straight stick laddered to the roof will get you topside quicker than throwing an extension ladder to the roof. There are a few key items that need to be looked for when placing ladders to the roof.


Over head obstructions, most importantly power lines as well as phone and cables lines must be avoided at all costs. Contact with these lines at the least will cause you issues. The most severe issue is electrocution. Power lines have been known to arc and they follow the path of least resistance to the ground. Contact with wires by an aerial ladder or ground ladder will at least cause damage or injury and the worst case scenario is death of a firefighter or crew.


Place the ladder so it will not come into contact of with fire venting from the building especially if your task is to operate on the roof. Flame impingement on a ladder will weaken the ladder and potentially cause it to fail when a load is placed on it, for example climbing or descending the ladder. Set the ladder so the rungs extend 3 to 5 feet above the wall so it makes it easier to get on and off the ladder. While on the roof the extended rungs above the roof line provides a good reference point when operating.


When climbing any ladder we must remember to always maintain 3 points of contact at all times. This safety feature is essential to maintaining proper balance and control. When carrying tools to the roof its imperative to be conscious of any potential shift of weigh by the tool so that you can be prepared for it. So it does not cause us to slip and potentially fall.

Before exiting onto the roof; do a visual size-up and be sure to sound the roof. Sounding the roof gives you an indication if the roof is sturdy enough to operate on. Never jump onto the roof from the ladder. Jumping onto the roof from the ladder or platform will create a localized impact load in the place you land. If the roof was weak you may compromise that area and the rest of the roof. Almost nothing is scarier than hearing that a firefighter has fallen through the roof into the burning building. Be proactive and keep yourself and your crew safe.


When there is inclement weather always take extra caution when climbing on and off the ladder on the roof. If there is ice and snow, perform a risk / benefit analysis before setting foot on a roof top skating rink. The first step onto an icy roof may be your last.

Ladders both aerial and ground are great tools to get on the roof. Use of caution for both types is essential. Keep watching for Part 3 of the Series of Getting to the Roof Quickly, and Stay Safe.

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Speaking Event - 4/10/2022

Speaking Event  - 4/10/2022
We will be presenting "Commanding, the 1st 30 Minutes & Beyond" at the Jefferson Fire Co. # 2 on Sunday 4/10/22 from 0830-1130 hours.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for tickets & info.
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3 Ways To Access The Roof Quickly – Part 1 | FireFighterToolBox

3 Ways To Access The Roof Quickly – Part 1 | FireFighterToolBox
How many options do we have to get to the roof of a Type 3 (ordinary construction) building? For most of us the answer is to the take the ladder or aerial device.
The true answer is ALF.
Adjoining Buildings / Ladders / Fire Escapes We will discuss 3 ways to access the roof, ranging from easiest to the most difficult and dangerous. #1 – Adjoining Buildings Firefighters can gain access to the roof top of the fire building from an adjoining building. By climbing the attached building’s interior stairs, we are provided a safe and quick means to access the roof. Upwind If Possible - One trick of the trade is to select the building that is on the upwind side of the fire building to gain access to the roof. The stairway in the upwind attached building usually will be free of smoke and will allow rapid ascension to the roof usually through a bulk head door. If your only option is to take the downwind building’s stairs, be prepared for lots of smoke and heat. Once on the roof, ensure that the bulkhead door that you just exited from does not close and lock behind you; this may be your primary means of egress if things go bad. If you encounter a heavy smoke condition and visibility is low, get down and crawl your way to the fire building. Use a tool to probe and sweep ahead to prevent yourself and your crew from falling into any air or light shafts. If you are approaching from the upwind side, visibility should usually be pretty clear.

Victims - The Bulkhead Door: As you approach the fire building, begin to assess the fire and roof conditions. After sounding the roof for its stability, immediately locate the bulkhead door on the roof of the fire building and open it. Search inside the stairs for any victims that may have mistakenly taken the stairs to try and escape the smoke and heat from the fire below them. If you have victims, remove them and notify command for assistance in getting them to the street. Use the same stairs that you did to facilitate the safe removal of the victims. Be sure to remove the bulkhead door completely or disable it from closing. Removal of the bulkhead door will allow for smoke and super-heated gases to escape the fire building and help to improve conditions for members operating inside the fire building. UPDATE: Removal of the Door - MUST BE COORDINATED with the suppression teams. Improper timing can potentially cause rapid fire spread.

Size-Up & CAN Report: Perform a 360 of the fire building from the roof. Look for any trapped victims on fire escapes or in windows, or victims that may have jumped prior to your arrival. Remember buildings can be deceiving from the A side, look so be the eyes of the incident commander. Give a quick size-up and CAN (Conditions/Actions/Needs) report to the IC.

Do Work & Get Down once your report is complete, locate the area directly over the fire (as much as possible) and prepare for vertical ventilation. Be sure to take the natural opening first then cut the roof remembering to working with our backs to our means of egress. Once your tasks have been completed, advise command of your progress and then get off the roof. This applies regardless of how you made the roof.

Secondary Egress : The attached building’s stairs will allow for the safe movement of manpower and equipment throughout the incident. Be sure to request a secondary mean of egress be placed to the roof as an added safety precaution. The use of adjoining building’s stairs is the safest and easiest method to access the roof.

Stay safe!

Photos courtesy of James Wood, Sr. and John Hayowyk, Jr.

3 Ways To Access The Roof Quickly:
Part 1: Adjoining Buildings
Part 2: Ladders
Part 3: Fire Escapes
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New Available Classes !!!! - Schedule Them Now

New Available Classes !!!!  - Schedule Them Now
We are booking Summer and Fall classes NOW. Be sure to get the dates and classes that you want.
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THROW BACK THURSDAY: The Top 5 Truck Tools | FireFighterToolBox

THROW BACK THURSDAY: The Top 5 Truck Tools | FireFighterToolBox
When operating at a structure fire, there are several tasks that must be accomplished to make the building behave. The truck company is responsible for the following priority tasks: forcible entry, search, ventilation, and fire containment. Some of these tasks are typically performed prior to the first line being placed into service, although the truck company must work in coordination with the engine company. Each of these tasks can be associated with one or more of the top 5 truck tools. The Irons (Halligan and Ax) The “irons” — consisting of a Halligan married up with a flathead ax — will make short work of entry doors when gaining access to a structure. The Halligan and ax are used to shock the door from top to bottom, looking for secured locks on the door. The Halligan is so versatile that both the adze and the fork end can be used to open either inward or outward swinging doors. It is up to the forcible entry team to decide what will work best for that particular situation. The flat head ax is the driving force of the team. Team members coordinate when the ax will strike and drive the Halligan to create the best leverage prior to forcing through the locks and gaining entry for the search and suppression teams. The ax and Halligan are also great tools to use when performing a primary search. The Thermal Imaging Camera The Thermal Imaging Camera or TIC has made its way into being one of the most important tools within the fire service. The TIC’s ability to look through smoke, detect and differentiate heat sources as well as locate victims is invaluable. Search teams using TICs have to remember the basics as well. Have a search plan prior to entering the structure and remain oriented at all times. Remember, the TIC is a machine and can fail to operate properly. This is why it is so important to remain oriented when performing searches. The Hook The 6’ pike pole or “hook” has many jobs on the fire ground during the initial moments. The 6’ hook can be used for horizontal ventilation in coordination with the suppression team making an attack to remove the super-heated gasses and steam from the fire compartment. The hook can be used to access fire escape ladders or stairs so members can perform Vent, Enter, Isolate, and Search (VEIS) off the fire escape. Another great task the hook can accomplish is removing ceiling tiles as the search team makes entry into a structure to ensure that fire is not running the plenum space overhead — which could lead to fire dropping down behind them. The hook is a simple tool but it is a game changer in the hands of a skilled firefighter. The Can The Air Pressurized Water Extinguisher or “can” has been an underestimated tool on the fire ground. The can has the ability to knock down a large amount of fire in a compartment and keep it in check until the hose line is in place and operating to extinguish the fire. The key is proper placement of the water and being judicious with the amount of water that is applied to the compartment fire. These skills are not formed overnight. It takes a lot of knowledge and practice to be able to keep a compartment fire in check with the can. Having a knowledge of building construction, an understanding of fire behavior and a good sense of situational awareness are the keys to knowing when to use this tactic safely on the fireground. Remember tools are just tools until they are placed in the hands of a skilled and knowledgeable firefighter. Constant training on each and every tool we use is a must to remain proficient and skilled operators. Keep on training and stay safe! Photos courtesy of John Hayowyk, Jr.
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Managing Everyday Incidents Class

Managing Everyday Incidents Class
Contact us for information on this class for your department.
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Making Your Halligan More Effective | FireFighterToolBox

Making Your Halligan More Effective | FireFighterToolBox
The halligan is one of the most utilized pieces of equipment in the fire service. Since its creation, the halligan has shown itself to be the go to tool.
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A Plan for the Plan | Firehouse

jan_21_incident_command_wood_pic_4.5fc957b473155 Have a Plan for the Plan

Battalion Chief John Hayowyk, Jr., explains why it is ideal to break down an incident action plan into segments.

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First Due: Fires and Other Emergencies Caused by Home-Heating Equipment | Firehouse

First Due: Fires and Other Emergencies Caused by Home-Heating Equipment | Firehouse
Capt. John A. Hayowyk Jr. urges preparation for the variety of calls that will come that originate from home-heating equipment.
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Not Just a Picture: The Round Table Discussion - Fire Engineering

Not Just a Picture: The Round Table Discussion - Fire Engineering
One effective way to spend valuable training time is having firefighters read, review, and analyze fire service magazine articles, photos, and videos. The officer can have them focus on a specific fire scene item: scene size-up, life hazards, building construction, and so forth. Each member will see something different, based on his experience, that will add to the discussion. The rookie may even surprise some of the senior members. 
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Managing Everyday Incidents

Managing Everyday Incidents
This is our new class we are rolling out.
Contact us for an in-person or virtual class on these types of incidents.
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FD Thru-The-Lock Tool Bag - Tool List

Quantity / Description

1 18" Zipper Tool Bag----Husky---Home Depot
2 6-in-one Screwdrivers
1 6-piece screwdriver set
1 3lb. Sledgehammer
1 6" long Needle Nose Pliers
1 8" Slip Joint Pliers with one handle modified for the Key Tool: Use less expensive pliers only*
1 4" Vice Grip type pliers with Eye Hook Modification
1 8" Vice Grip type pliers with Eye Hook Modification
1 12" Wonder Bar
1 7.5" pry bar
1 14 - in- 1 Spackle Knife
1 Modified J Tool---use long handle paint roller
1 Safety Glasses
1 18" Pipe Wrench
1 3' long Continuous Loop of Webbing w/ Non-locking Carabiner - Used with Vice Grip Pliers for cutting locks/chain.
1 S&D Rex Bar
1 Bag of 14" Heavy Duty Zip Ties
1 KNIPEX Model 71 12 200 Comfort Grip High Leverage Bolt Cutters w/ Opening Lock and Spring.
1 K-Tool
1 6’ piece of FLAT (not tubular) piece of Webbing

* Modify one handle of the Slip Joint pliers by bending inward the end of the handle and grind to a dull point to use as a key tool.
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PURPOSE: Thru-the-Lock Forcible Entry for Doorknob Removal of Residential & Commercial Buildings

PROCEDURE: Slowly grind the fork end to create a 1 ¼” wide by 1 ¼” deep gap between the forks w/ bench grinder (Easiest)

DISCLAIMER: (Get Permission to Modify the Halligan FIRST) / Wear Proper PPE while using a Grinder

TIPS: Wire Brush the sharp edges when complete & lightly oil the fork end of the Halligan

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Spring Clamp

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Non-Contact Volt Tester

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Quick & Easy PVC Rotary Prop

Quick & Easy PVC Rotary Prop
Don't have wood or metal to cut; there is always somewhere to DRAW!
This prop will assist in teaching different cut techniques w/o the mess and noise.
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Halligan Modifications: Gapping the Forks


 One of the simplest and most advantageous modifications to a Halligan Bar is to GAP the forks.

Gapping the forks of the halligan makes a conventional forcible entry tool into a THRU-THE-LOCK tool.


Thru-the-Knob Technique:

This technique is based on using leverage to force the knob off from the knob assembly.

This is accomplished by taking the gapped fork end of the halligan and sliding it behind the door knob. The space behind the halligan and the door is taken up by another tool. There are several different tools that can be used to take up that space. Most likely, the flat head axe is available since it's usually married to the halligan as a set of irons. But, another halligan or pike pole can be used if available.

The upper shaft of the halligan bar is then pushed towards the door with force, and that will displace the door knob from the rest of the door knob assembly.

Once the knob is off, look where the keyway was and see what type of tool you will need to manipulate the spindle which will operate the deadlatch or latch assembly to unlock the door. For most residential door knobs, you will need a needle nose pliers to turn the spindle 90 degrees to unlock the door. Once the door is unlocked turn the stem with your gloved hand to engage the deadlatch to open the door.

For commercial knobs, you will need a screwdriver to turn the cylinder to activate the latch assembly. While the latch assembly is engaged, push / pull the door open. Be sure that the door does not lock behind you, physically unlock the door from the inside knob.

Physically Gapping the Fork:

Gapping the fork is a relatively easy process. This can be accomplished by either using a bench grinder or a standard handheld angle grinder. (Obviously use safety glasses and gloves when using a grinder.) Prior to doing any grinding mark out the area on the inside of the forks where the grinding is to occur. Mark the area on the halligan with a pencil or marker that's approximately an inch and 1/8 wide by an inch and 1/8 deep. This will give you plenty of room for the fork end of the halligan to slide behind the door knob of either a residential or commercial door knob.

The key is to slowly grind away the marked area, being careful not to overheat the forks of the halligan. Once the area has been ground away; use a wire wheel to remove any sharp edges or burrs.

One last note, if the halligan is not personally YOURS, be sure to get permission to make the modification before you do it.


Author: John Hayowyk Jr.

Date: May 3, 2018


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Alarm System Info

Alarm System Info
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Safety Saturday

Safety Saturday
What are your concerns with combustible storage? What tactics would you use to handle an exterior fire at this facility?
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