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  • Where Has My Axe Gone?

    Recently I have been paying attention to the fact that the always faithful side kick of ours is spending a lot less time in use than before. I am speaking of the traditional fire axe. With the advent of the roof saws, halligan bars, TNT tools, K tools, Hydrarams, rabbit tools, etc. I am afraid that the trusty axe will no longer find an empty bracket on the engine or truck. I recently had a vision of telling a troop to open the roof with the fire axe and getting the deer in the headlight look in return. Is this a vision of the future? Is the axe going to be a collectors item soon? Grab them up while you still can!! How can this be happening to us? Please give me a reason to keep it on my apparatus!!

    Cliff Montgomery
    Fire Chief
    Blue Grass Army Depot
    Fire & Emergency Services

  • #2
    Keep the fire axe on your truck at all costs. What if the saw fails?, cheap insurance, plus if it doesn't have one can you really call it a fire truck? I personally like the fire axe it's my favorite tool, but there are many tools available now that can do the same thing more effiently, and that can't be denied. There are some traditions whose time have passed due to safety reasons (ie riding the tailboard, metal helmets, etc) but there are some traditons that I think should not die!

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    • #3
      Well, the flat head axe should always be mounted w/ the halligan, so that's still there. As for the other applications, I still feel there's nothing better for breeching a wall or forcing an interior, residential door. So, it definitely still has its place.

      Stay Safe

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      • #4
        Granted, you don't see to many roofs being vented with an axe anymore, but for interior operations a set of irons will never go out of style. They're compact, easy to carry, and will force entry on almost anything. First two guys in on the hoseline always grab a halligan and a flathead. (I can't picture grabbing a k-12 or a cutters edge!)
        The axe is not a tradition, it is a powerful, useful tool. For anything from forcible entry, to SAR (how much reach will you get with a K tool!) ****as a matter of fact, what do you usually hit a K tool with....A FLATHEAD AXE!*** To using as a doorstop if needed. There is no and never will be a reason to get rid of the axe.

        Good enough?
        Long live the axe!!!!

        [This message has been edited by ntvilleff (edited 06-26-2001).]

        [This message has been edited by ntvilleff (edited 06-26-2001).]

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ntvilleff:

          Long live the ax!!!!
          Enough said!!!!!!!!!!

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          • #6
            I'm sorry to say so, chief, but I too, have seen the same look you have described. It seems that with all the automatic/power tools available to the firefighting forces, the simple, basic and non-failing standards, such as the pick-head axe, are falling to the wayside.

            It's a sad thing to see, and something I struggle to try and ensure isn't going to happen in my department.

            Stay safe!

            Tom Gruber
            Captain, Porter VFD

            Comment


            • #7
              We didn't have any 8 pounders on any of the engines in my dept. So, I went and got one for myself, and it makes a perfect mate to the haligan bar.



              ------------------
              AAD
              Eng. Co. 9
              RFD

              "In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."

              "In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."

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              • #8
                I don't care what people say...the fire axe is here to stay!

                The best reason for having, maintaining and training with the fire axe can be taken from Murphy's Laws of Firefighting...

                Power saws always start on the ground.

                Power saws never start on the roof.

                Fire axes never need starting!




                ------------------
                Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
                Captain Gonzo

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                • #9
                  Exactly!!! I recently held a ventilation training class for the firefighters assigned to me and they looked at me like I was crazy when I told them to open the "roof" (plywood sheet) with an axe. Just goes to show that FD's are NOT PRACTICING THE BASICS! You can't build a strong house on a weak foundation...

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                  • #10
                    lumpy, I thought it then I read your words. we don't train 'em how to open with an axe anyway.

                    Flat head's gotta stay w/halligan.

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                    • #11
                      I'm a captain on a fairly busy ladder. When I come off the truck four things come with me: The Can (2 1/2 gallon pressurized water extinguisher, with AFFF); a light, my portable, and an axe. Very few things are easier to use to open a wall or force an interior door than the axe. Held by the head its great for checking under beds and in closets. Opens walls and windows. And on a bet at a drill I climbed the ladder and opened the roof quicker with my old fashioned, manually operated, air cooled, roof vent tool (axe) than one of my young pups did with the K12. Of course I'm in better shape than any of my young pups.

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                      • #12
                        The Luft from 229 borrowed it.
                        Had some nozzles that needed pistol grips removed.
                        IACOJ Canine Officer
                        20/50

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                        • #13
                          Chief, There will always be a need for "hand tools" just as there will always be a need for good firefighters who know how to use them. Sure, some of mechanized tools can do a particular job faster, but with hand tools you can do the job with finesse. The use of hand tools also encourages the members to THINK about what they are going to do. And, what happens when the power tools are out of service? You "gotta" have hand tools, don't ever let them be taken off the trucks.
                          Take care.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here in Northern Kentucky, the ax remains an indespensible tool. As proof, this mornings Cincinnati Enquirer showed a picture of a Covington Fire Lt. on a ladder with an ax taking out the eaves of a house. The saw might be great on the roof, but when it comes time to open the eaves, nothin works better than an old fashioned ax.

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