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Home>Topics>>Roof Work Tips and Tricks

Roof Work Tips and Tricks

Tue, 12 Aug 2014|

Maplewood (NJ) Firefighter Joe Alvarez shares some tips on starting up power saws and estimating the size of roof cuts.



[MUSIC] Hi. Welcome to Fire Engineering's Training Minutes. I'm Joe Alvarez. I apologize about my appearance, but this is what you look like the day after your captain's exam. And also, it is no shave November. Today, we're gonna talk about roof operations and utilizing saws and how to estimate a cut on a roof. When we go to the roof, you should always have two tools. Okay? Mike Ciampo says it best, two hands, two tools. If I'm going up to the roof, I should have a saw and pike pole, a saw and Halligan tool. Multiple tools because we have a lot a work to do on a roof. And the engine company that's working down below us, should not be worried about if we're going to get that roof open or if we forgot something on the ground. First off we must make sure that this saw runs before we get it to the roof. So on the ground we must start this. When we go to start it, we must make sure. I'm well aware that on drill nights, we all start our saws. Right? I'm also aware that when we go to work, we also make sure the saw starts every shift. We must make sure that our saws are fully serviceable. We don't ever want to go to a fire and we go to use the saw, we have to explain to a Chief Officer why the tool didn't run. When we go and start the saw, a lot of departments or a lot of people, I should say, like to start the saw by sticking their foot inside the area to keep the saw from rolling over or to jumping out. That's okay, but you have to remember one thing. The trigger is plastic. With our firefighting shoes, with our firefighting shoes we can kick that trigger and break it. Okay, what I'm going to demonstrate here is an easy way to control the saw and not worry about breaking that trigger. I'm gonna turn so whether you're a lefty or righty. I'm gonna kneel down on the saw, it does not matter whichever leg you wanna use. I'm gonna make sure that the saw's ready to run. [NOISE] As you saw it, yes, we did start the saw to make sure it started on the first run. But,. As you saw, this saw did not trip and run over on us. Again, I'm gonna throw my knee on it, grasp the handle, holding tight. [NOISE] Had control of the saw at all times. When you're up on a roof at the three o'clock in the morning, and you're fumbling around, and you go and jam your foot in here. And you break the trigger, now you're gonna be at a lock. Now we're gonna have to go back to the conventional way of opening roofs until another saw gets there. That's if you didn't bring your second saw. Every time you go to that roof we should have a minimum of two saws up there with us. OK. Something else I want to bring up. Doesnt' matter whether you've cut 100 roofs. Whether you're on an engine and you've been detailed to a truck or a squad or a rescue company and now your function is to go to the roof and open up. I've asked guys that have been on ladder companies for a while. Show me what a 4 x 4 opening is. I've asked guys from engine companies who have never been on a roof. Show me what a 4 by 4 opening is. I usually get the same thing and it's this big, or I'm gonna walk this. Or I'm gonna take my saw and go one, two and then start my cut. That's all well and good. But I give you the conditions at 1 o'clock in the afternoon or midnight, and there's a lot of smoke and the boss tells you to cut the hole, and you cut this little teeny hole. Which, you're most likely embarrassed about after you ended up cutting it. So how do we make sure that we have a proper size opening? The books tell us a minimum of a four by four only. Depending on the size of the fire, the size of the building, how big of the opening. And we also are aware that you start with your four by four, we could expand it as Mike Champo said in the past with his roof opening classes. But there's also an easy way. Me being the senior guy, I'm gonna come up to the roof of my company and if I'm telling my guys to open a roof. Everybody better have a tool in their hand, whether their halogen's ax's, pipe poles and so on. We need to make sure that, that hole is properly opened. Well how do we do that? Very simple. I'm holding a six foot pipe pole a hook whatever you wanna call it in my hand. As the boss if i throw this six foot hook down. Everybody agrees with me these is a 4x8 sheet of plywood so this is, this is defiantly four feet. But on a flat roof, we cannot judge that. This six foot hook, if I take my saw now, and I drop this for the young guy, or even a veteran guy, and say here, I need a hole cut, this is where I want it cut, that individual now can take his saw, start And I've guaranteed now a six by. If I've shortened it up a little bit, I'm gonna get my 4 by 4 opening. Things to keep in the back of your mind. Say the pipe pole is being used to open natural, natural vent points in a room, and the only thing you have is a halogen tool. You drop your halligan tool down on the roof. And our halligan tool is what? About three feet. Knowing your saw we have a 12 inch blade. If I take that three foot. And I start prior to, and I go past it. I have now guaranteed a four by four opening for my company inside. It works like a charm. A lot of people don't realize. Use the tools that you have to your advantage. This is your measuring stick. Use the tools as a measuring stick, and you'll look like a professional every single time. You'll have companies come up there afterwards and go, somebody opened these rooms and they obviously knew what they were doing. They're not even going to know that you used your equipment to measure the hole for you. I hope everybody got a little bit out of this. It's just little techniques that I picked up. It's not saying that this is the way you have to do things. It's just another method. Thank you for watching Training Minutes. I'm Joe Alvarez.