Category Archives: Tools

TOOLS – Custom Made

El Dorado Firefighters are a pretty skilled  group of individuals.  This fact proves true on a regular basis.

a tools2Recently, it was two firefighters with two ideas.

The first idea was a custom wild land firefighting rake.  Lieutenant Shane McCoy made two of these tools for the grassland rigs.  A one inch round piece of steel was threaded into a t-coupling.  Then the t-coupling was welded to a flat plate.  On the plate were bolted on cutter blades.

a tools

The next idea was a safety bar mounted on the back of a grass rig.  Until now firefighters were not safety belted.  Firefighter Scott VanPatten manufactured this safety bar.  The uniqueness of this equipment piece is that it was made from 2″ steel pipe turned 180 degrees by a special tool.

Scott also recently made some custom hydrant wrenches.

Great job Shane and Scott – and thank you.

Custom Hydrant Wrenches

FullSizeRender (21)EFD Firefighter Scott Van Patten designed and built some custom fire hydrant wrenches. A Maltese Cross is the design on the one end.

The EFD will be the fortunate one to have these custom wrenches unless Scott decides to market his product. Then we will just have the prestige of having the first ones.

Be sure and check them out firsthand. And thank Scott if you get a chance.

Football Players, Firefighter Players, & Bose

Head set this oneThey assemble in groups to do battle on Sundays. A fine tuned operation that has established moves, but moves only when the leader barks the signal. Any movement before the signal is a violation. Some of the best athletes in the world. Football players.

They assemble in groups to do battle when beckoned. A fine tuned operation that has established moves, but moves only when the leader barks the signal. Any movement before the signal is a violation. Some of the best athletes in the world. Firefighters.

The game of football and the game of firefighting has similarities. But, then there are the differences.

Football is a game that brings in millions upon millions of dollars revenue. Firefighting is a game that has operational costs, yet doesn’t generate revenue. Football is a game that when over the loser simply feels bad. Firefighting is a game that when over the loser might have missed saving a life.

The success of both games depends upon clear communications. Likewise, both games have difficulties with communications. Seventy thousand people screaming are the problem for football players. Tools screaming, breathing air packs, and raging fire is the problem for firefighters.

*Photo by Chad Wittenberg cwittenberg@smugmug.com
*Photo by Chad Wittenberg cwittenberg@smugmug.com
The question is how do both game players overcome the problem with communications?

Football teamed up with a company named Bose. A wireless Bose headset is donned by the sideline coach. The quarterback has a wireless speaker system.

I spoke today with a Bose representative and asked if it would be possible for a fire department to purchase the system they provide the NFL. The answer was “No”. The NFL has an exclusive contract.

The representative said he would pass along my request.

Hopefully, when they look at the importance of our game they will make an exception.

*If we do ever get to buy the Bose system please don’t treat it like this coach.

Cam Video ~ “NEW” Fire Department Tool

*Photo by Chad Wittenberg
*Photo by Chad Wittenberg
Trying to recall exactly how a fire appeared upon arrival is somewhat difficult. There are a hundred different things going on when firefighters arrive and a hundred different tasks to be performed.

photo (21)A couple new pieces of equipment will help with this problem. They are called “Helmet Cams.” A small camera attached to a firefighter’s helmet.

In our case we bought two cameras. They were placed on helmets with a special shield ~ EL DORADO FIRE – FIRECAM.

One helmet/cam has been placed on each of the engines – one for each of the first-in crews.

photo (40)These news tools will help us with:
– Fire investigation
– Public education/prevention
– Training
– Pre-planning

Check out this recent video of a multi-structure fire to see how it works.

First, the footage was looked at from a fire investigation standpoint. We can help identify the area of the fire with the greatest intensity. Where and how the structures are burning. Is there anything notable that we can see that might have later been consumed by the fire?

Second, how can this video be used to educate the public. An earlier story identified there were 7 career paid and 11 reserve/resident unpaid on scene. What wasn’t told was there were just 3 firefighters initially on scene – for a number of minutes. The additional firefighters came in their personal vehicles – arriving later.

With just three firefighters – We “Assumed Command, Stretched a 5″ hydrant line/hooked and charged it, Pumped the water from the truck, Stretched a 2 1/2″ hand line with nozzle, Stretched a 1 3/4″ hand line with nozzle, Stopped the progress of the fire to the home that was lived in, Stopped the progress of the fire to the uninhabited home, Stopped the progress of the fire in double-car garage with two cars, and more.

And, how about those holes the firefighters cut in the roof? Well, watch the video because that was where the incoming firefighters came into the mix – as well as the initial firefighters continuing onward. The video shows extensive fire in the attic. What even the video doesn’t show is there are walls in the attic that keep firefighters from simply cutting one hole and completely extinguishing the entire fire. Old insulation, wooden shingle leftovers, dried-out 1 x 6” horizontal decking, are just some of the attic unseens.

Third, the video will help us to examine what we did and how we did it. This will afford all El Dorado firefighters with real-life examples of what we can and do accomplish. We can also add in variables that weren’t part of the real life incident.

Fourth, we can plan for the future. Live video is just one more method used to improve our operation. Continuous improvement.

Larger fire departments with practically unlimited staff would say that “it can’t be done.” El Dorado Firefighters prove that it can be done – but not easily and not without limitations of how much can be done until others arrive.

Chair“Carry Your Own Chair.”