Baltimore adds air compressor to equipment roster
—All photos courtesy Baltimore F. D.
BALTIMORE recently added an air compressor and hammer to its varied techniques of fire fighting and included training in its use at the fire school. This equipment is mounted on a closed-body truck and stationed at the department repair shop. The truck is equipped with two-way radio and responds to all third and greater alarms of fire, as well as being subject to special calls at all times.
The equipment carried includes a compressor with a capacity of 60 pounds of free air, one 60-pound air hammer, one 35-pound air hammer, one 100-foot and two 50-foot sections of 3/4-inch air hose which can be coupled together to make one 200-foot line. Various sizes of cement points and chisels, metal toe guards, safety goggles and leather gloves are included.
The air hammers are used to breach walls, cut through concrete roofs and floors for ventilation, fire fighting or rescue operations. This is a great improvement over the old cement point and maul method, taking into consideration the labor and time involved. When it was necessary to breach a wall or floor, other departments such as public utilities, equipped with pneumatic tools were called upon to perform this task if they were available.
Complementing the air unit, a portable air compressor is being used to train Baltimore firemen in the use of air hammers at the Baltimore Fire School and an extensive training program is conducted by instructors. The training includes the proper procedures used to cut holes in brick walls and concrete floors and roofs.
Training by doing
During training in the use of the air hammers, fire fighters practice on large sections of brick walls and concrete slabs, which are removed to the fire school from buildings being demolished. The training also includes the proper use of safety goggles and metal toe guards and leather gloves. To get the men accustomed to the handling of the equipment, the use of tools is taught first. In subsequent instruction periods masks are used in conjunction with the hammers. The compressor unit used for training at the fire school is also available at any time it should be needed for a city fire emergency.