Short Cuts Gadgets
CONVENIENT “HYDRANT TOOL BAG”
To speed hydrant hookups, we carried a spare set of hose and hydrant tools secured to the harness leather straps on our soft suction hose holder. While the tools were within easy reach, they could not be readily removed. No matter how well they were tied to the hose straps, the tools scratched the sides of our truck. If the hose is in a box type holder, a much better method is to attach a three partition canvas bag to the back of the carrier. A rectangular bag roughly 19″ high, 12 1/2″ wide and 2 1/2″ thick, plus a tiedown rain flap, will hold a hydrant wrench, rubber tipped hammer and several spanner wrenches ready for instant use. For the lady seamstress the bag would be: length top to bottom 19″, width side to side 12 1/2″, back to front 2 1/2″
The bag should be equipped with two oval holed grommets; any automotive upholstery shop can furnish and install the grommets for 40 or 50 cents. We removed two of the small twist type hose cover canvas fasteners from our pumper and mounted them on the back of the suction hose holder to anchor the bag to the carrier.
CHIEF SYDNEY R. DODBS, Newtown, Conn.
NEW HOSE CLAMP AND HOSE ROLLER
A new idea in what may be called a combined hose clamp and hose roller has been developed by John E. High, P. O. Box 533, Winston-Salem, N. C. The device was shown at the North Carolina fire association at Charlotte, N. C., in September, and attracted considerable attention.
According to Mr. High, the device, which is patented, performs the dual function of the orthodox hose roller, but in addition, it clamps onto the charged hose line to hold it in position, once it is hauled over the roller part. The illustrations give some idea of the “gadget” and its essential parts.
Mr. High reports it can be attached to any window sill, ladder rung or fire escape. It can be used to hoist a line of hose, or a rope. The hose can go up, but the clamp prevents it going down. The inventor says it is simple to operate, the clamp part being automatic, as the hose passes through. It weighs about 14 1/2 lbs.
HOW AN “AERIAL FIRE” WAS FOUGHT
Many times we hear the firemen must have initiative, and proof that they have was demonstrated by the fire department at Kemano, B. C. A clearing had been made for an aerial tram up the mountain to the twenty-six-hundred foot level and a fire occurred in the slash at the fifteen hundred foot level. To get any fire fighting equipment to this area would entail hours of very difficult work. Presto! someone has a brainwave; why not take a jeep fire engine and 200-gallon trailer water tank up the mountain side by aerial tram and fight the fire from the air? This was decided upon and, with the jeep’s front mounted pump coupled to the water tank, the crew was successful in extinguishing the blaze from a comfortable position.
—(From the Fire Service News, Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office, Sept. 1952.)
HOW TO LOCATE THE REAR OF A BUILDING?
One of the fire attack problems is how to properly and quickly locate the building directly behind the structure on fire, in order to get at the fire from the rear or to cover exposures or possibly effect rescues.
Many a structure has been opened up needlessly, with consequent damage to property and contents and a serious loss in time and effort by firemen only to find that it was not located directly in the rear of the building involved by fire.
How to quickly and easily determine the area in the exact rear of the premises involved regardless of confusion over street, numbers, dark, or smoke or other handicaps was taught in some of the early handbooks published by FIRE ENGINEERING. Here is a simple rule worth reprinting:
Start from the front of the burning building, walk quickly to the nearest corner, counting the number of steps made. Turn the corner and go to the next street and walk back parallel to that in which the fire is, counting the same number of steps as on the first street. This gives you the approximate line of the burning structure. Go through the building in front of which you are standing and the chances are that you will find yourself back of the building that is on fire.
IDEAS “LIFTED” FROM W.N.Y.F.
Far and away the best publication issued by any fire department of this nation is “W.N.Y.F.”, the voice of the New York Fire Department. It is written by firemen for firemen. And over the years it has contained many practical hints for the craft. The following are samples:
Notch That Hook—Some companies have notches cut in the 6-foot hooks on the goose-neck side. This facilitates the use of the hook when conditions are too smoky for visibility. For example: When pulling a ceiling and the overhead can’t be seen, the fireman will be able to tell in which direction his hook is pointing by feeling of the notch.
MARTIN SWEENEY, Lieut. H & L 26
To Get a Line on Lath—When using a 6-foot hook, it is well to remember that the lath in a ceiling usually runs from front to rear, except on the top floor where it is crosswise.
EGMONT HUERSTEL, Fireman H 103
Lubricate That Axe—When cutting up roof in overhauling operations, it is usually found that tar adheres to the axe blade, making cutting difficult. Put lubricating oil on the blade and it will work much easier.
WM. J. COOK, Lieut. Eng. 231
Simonize wax will not only give the uniform cap visor dazzling shine; it preserves as well. At the same time it can be used to polish badges and buttons.
EDWARD P. UPTON, Fireman 35th Batt.
PRESERVE OLD FIRE WELLS
From Council Bluffs Iowa, via contributor Mortimer Hahn, comes a news story that might possibly interest some of the cognoscenti.
Not long ago, it seems, construction workmen uncovered a 100-year-old cistern while digging a narrow lateral sewer line across Broadway, that city. The top of the arched brick structure was torn away and it was filled with fine sand. A concrete slab of paving was poured over the spot.
It is disclosed that this cistern is only one of several laid down about a century ago, as part of a workable master plan for fighting fires before the era o_____ high pressure hose and handy hydrants on every corner.
The real “well” of the plan is located beneath South First street, according to Assistant Fire Chief McCord Park. It is accessible by manhole and partially filled with water at all times, he said. Firemen for practice often worked pumpers at the well but never pumped it dry, according to the Chief.
From this water source, back in the days before hydrants, the vamps with hand pumps and hose would relay water in short jumps from this cistern to others along the main street and elsewhere.
Reviewing the question of these ancient underground wells and cisterns, Fire Chief Waldo Merrill believes “it will be well to preserve them.” Such cisterns with a storage capacity of about 50,000 gallons would each prove valuable in an emergency or a major disaster, the Chief pointed out.
Speculation as to the possible danger of the old cistern caving in was ridiculed by Architect R. C. Robinson when he reviewed the latest uncovered “find.” The brick masonry and inner liner of mortar in the cistern were in excellent condition. Its arched construction provides the perfect architectural truss, Robinson said. “The heavier the pressure from above, the stronger it (the cistern) would become,” he added.
Chief Merrill said other cisterns could be easily restored to a standby use. “I think the city should attempt to locate the others as part of a disaster plan,” he declared.