If you were to take a walk around a fire truck you would see many tools that look familiar and many that you probably have never seen before. This week we are going to look at some of these tools and their uses.

If you were to take a walk around a fire truck you would see many tools that look familiar and many that you probably have never seen before. This week we are going to look at some of these tools and their uses. One of the most common tools firefighters are known for carrying is the Axe. Most trucks carry both a pick head axe and a flat head axe. The uses for these tools are wide and varied and are one of the most versatile tools in our arsenal. These axes can be used for forcible entry, breaking windows, opening walls, and sounding roofs. When a fire burns in an attic it does not take long for the structural members to be compromised, therefore before we put a firefighter on the roof to vent, we sound the roof to make sure it is not “spongy” indicating that the structure has potential to collapse under the weight of a firefighter.

Everyone knows that on a firetruck there are ladders, but do you know what types? We carry extension ladders, roof ladders, attic ladders on most truck. Your Ladder Companies may carry even more types than the engine. As discussed in the previous paragraph we have to be careful sending personnel onto a roof of a building involved in fire. After sounding the roof the firefighter will utilize what is known as a roof ladder to help distribute his weight while offering a platform to work off of. This ladder looks like any other straight ladder but at the tip it has two folding hooks, these hooks are placed over the peak giving the ladder some stability.

One of the more modern and more popular tools on the fire truck is known has the Halligan Bar. This is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for pushing, prying, puncturing, forcible entry, forcible exit and so much more. Crews have taken an old tool, the flat headed axe, and this new tool and combined them for use together. This is now known as a Married Pair or Irons, many firefighters will not leave the truck without having their irons with them. See attached pictures for the single and married pair.

Have you ever heard of a Pike Pole? You will find several of these on every tuck in varying lengths, generally from 3’-16’. Pike poles are designed to gain access both in areas easily reached and those hard to reach when doing overhaul on a structure.

Generally overhaul happens when the fire is under control and crews are looking for “hidden” fires. Pike poles will take drywall off ceilings and walls revealing areas where fires could still be smoldering.

While there are many more interesting tools on a truck, these are some of the more common and popular. Stop by your local firehouse one day and ask for a tour of the truck and see everything we carry.