The Quick Step Anchor


The Quick Step Anchor® (QSA) is a device designed to safely speed up vertical ventilation operations by providing firefighters with a sturdy platform that works in place of a pickhead ax, a trash hook, or a halligan, which are used as footholds for today’s truckies. These procedures require a dedicated firefighter simply to hold the ax, trash hook, or halligan to stabilize the footing and ensure that the tool doesn’t come out of the roof. And, with today’s issues with reduced staffing, that member may not even be there! The QSA also eliminates the need to stop and then reposition the roof ladder to complete a roof cut; an awkward, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous procedure.
(1) Photo courtesy of Click on photo to view video.

Performing vertical ventilation operations in this manner is very dangerous; it does not provide a solid, confident foothold for the firefighter performing the procedure. The QSA frees up the firefighter who was previously dedicated to securing the ax or halligan and provides a secure and stable platform for the truckie performing the operation. The QSA is especially useful on roofs covered in ice or frost on a very low angle where you would need footing assistance. With the QSA, you will be able to operate with no problem in these hazardous conditions.

The QSA also incorporates an anchor point that allows the truckie to anchor himself with a lanyard. If he slips and falls, since he is anchored to the QSA, which is anchored to the roof, the fall will be arrested by the attached lanyard.

The anchor hooks also insert through the kerf cut of a chainsaw. The working platform is adjustable to almost any pitch roof, and the support legs lie flat on the roof, bearing 80 percent of the weight.

The QSA is a sturdy, robust roof step that will make your vertical ventilation operation procedure faster and, more importantly, safer. The QSA folds up to a thickness of just six inches when not in use. It is stored on a set of mounting hooks.

Features of the QSA include the following:

  • It is adjustable to all pitched roofs.
  • You can carry it hands-free up any ladder.
  • You can use the anchor point for rappelling or roof rescues.
  • It stores easily in any fire apparatus.
  • It is cost-effective.
  • It is easy to use and implement.
  • Training takes just minutes.
  • It is made of lightweight aluminum.
  • It is maintenance free.

I am a 19-year veteran of the Springfield (MA) Fire Department and the inventor of the QSA. As a former Marine with a methodical approach to problem solving, I realized that my design should incorporate the following three elements:

  1. Stabilize the position of the firefighter to reduce the likelihood of a fall during roof operations.
  2. Speed up ventilation operations to decrease the time spent on the roof.
  3. Stop a fall as it happens so the firefighter can self-rescue back to the step and the ladder.

After being promoted to captain of training, I spent a lot of time training firefighters on vertical ventilation and rooftop operations. I observed that the one thing most were concerned about was falling off or through roofs because of the unavailability of equipment that truly gave them a safe and sturdy footing. The enlightenment I gained from training these fine firefighters led me to think that there has to be a faster, safer and overall better way to perform vertical ventilation operations on a pitched roof!

One night, the idea came to me, so I got up and started sketching out the design concept; the following day, I made a very crude prototype to experiment with—and it worked! The past three years of my life have been dedicated to providing a tool that will allow firefighters to more safely perform these dangerous procedures on a pitched roof. I met with engineers, machinists, lawyers, and firefighters, all of whom contributed valuable information and experience in their areas of expertise. The result of all that time and effort was the invention of the QSA, which is explained as follows:

  • Quick — the device deploys in seconds and gets the firefighter on and then off the roof as fast as possible, reducing the likelihood of injury from roof collapse.
  • Step — the step instantly adjusts to the pitch of the roof to provide the firefighter with a stable, level surface on which to stand that is capable of supporting more than 1,000 pounds.
  • Anchor — if the firefighter were to slip from the step, its anchor and a short tether line will stop the fall at once.

ROBERT S. DUFFY is a 19-year veteran of and a captain with the Springfield (MA) Fire Department and the inventor of the Quick Step Anchor.

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