By ALLIN CRAWFORD
To some people, tools only make small jobs easier. But to firefighters, tools are essential and can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Firefighters must be able to carry everything they may need to a scene, so their tools must be compact and lightweight without compromising strength. Brute Force Designs, LLC’s Single Diamond (photo 1) and Double Diamond (photo 2) Door Chocks are two new firefighting products that are designed for the rigors that firefighting operations demand.
|Photos courtesy of Brute Force Designs, LLC.|
The motivation that led to the creating of the chocks was the desire to help firefighters. Sometimes, something as simple as a tool that they carry can save their lives. The chocks are designed to easily secure doorways while also serving as a solid attachment point for tag or search lines. For firefighters and emergency services personnel, this is a tool that can fit in their pockets and help them find a way out if something goes wrong.
Most fire service tools originate with a real-world need and real-world testing, and these are no exception. Typical solutions such as wooden chocks can get kicked out, spanner wrenches often get knocked off, plastic door chocks melt, and axes are frequently left wedged in the hinge. What good is that if you need your ax at the next door? The chocks were created not only to hold a door open but also to maintain your means of egress with tag or search lines as well as provide accountability for teams.
The Single Diamond Door Chock is designed to work with almost all residential and traditionally hinged doors. Weighing little more than five ounces, it is easy to carry on a carabiner attached to your ladder belt, in a helmet band, or in your pocket. It is easy to deploy and hooks over the hinge of almost any open door. The chock prevents the door from closing by occupying the door hinge’s required rotational space and ensures that the door cannot close. Additionally, the open diamond design provides a secure location to attach a search or tag line.
The Double Diamond Door Chock is designed to work with hydraulic or pneumatic “pin hinge”-style doors that only have hinges at their top and bottom. These chocks are designed to be used when the hinge thickness prevents placement of a Single Diamond Door Chock on the door hinge. The chock is rotated 90°, inserted into the door jamb, and then rotated back and rested on the bottom hinge. It works well on any type of industrial or residential door and will perform whether a pneumatic arm is present or not. It also has the same open diamond design of the Single Diamond, providing a secure location for a search or tag line.
Both types of chocks will effectively prevent a door from closing even if significant pressures are applied on the door. In extreme cases, the door will be ripped from the door frame before it can shut. The Diamond Door Chocks offer a feature that allows users to attach a tag line directly to the door frame and maintain contact with a means of egress.
You can easily attach tag lines to the chocks by hooking a carabiner into the open-faced loop on the chock. Several fire departments now use the door chocks for accountability during fires. Each firefighter places a chock on the door hinge when he enters a room, indicating that someone has been assigned to the room. When he exits, he removes the chock and advances to the next room. This helps the last remaining member to efficiently maintain accountability and exit the building faster. If everyone has exited the building but accountability has not been met, the unremoved door chock serves as a marker for the unaccounted-for individual and will indicate a starting point for the rapid intervention team for search and rescue operations. The chocks assist in maintaining an efficient airway by holding open a door for routine ventilation and allowing positive pressure to vacate smoke from a structure fire. Likewise, the chocks can be used in water removal.
High-rise buildings are notorious for having auto-locking doors for security purposes. Both chocks prevent this situation from becoming an issue by ensuring the door stays open.
The Diamond Door Chocks are simple but effective tools and can be used for many purposes. Both chocks are designed to ensure that the operator is safe, even under the most extreme circumstances.
ALLIN CRAWFORD is the head of Brute Force Designs (BFD) special projects and a firefighter in Little Rock, Arkansas. He specializes in BFD’s emergency management field of research and development.
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