When fighting a fire, sometimes the difference between life and death—yours or the people you’re trying to save—is a matter of having the right tools. Firefighters use a unique set of tools. Some are identifiable classics; others are more modern additions. They all serve specific functions, aiding firefighters in performing their duty to save property and lives. Read on to learn about five essential tools for fighting major fires.
Fire axes have been in use since the earliest days of organized firefighting. Unlike wood and similar axes, fire axes do so much more than chopping. Fire axes are famously necessary to save people trapped behind doors, but they can also provide ingress and egress through burning walls, roofs, timber, brush, and more. They often have hooks and can serve as pry bars, allowing firefighters to pull things open.
An iconic and irreplaceable tool, fire hoses have a long and admirable history. Whether in the city fighting building fires or out in the country battling wildfires, fire hoses are a major weapon against conflagrations. There isn’t a single type of fire hose. There are many styles, each designed to deliver and direct water under high pressure, resist heat, and take a beating during the worst and hottest of times. However, a fire hose is useless without the next tool!
Fire Hose Nozzles
Fire hose nozzles are far different from, say, garden hoses. While some deliver a simple stream of water, others can emit it in various modes to better combat the type of blaze at hand. Smooth-bore nozzles deliver a straight and direct stream aimed at the base of a fire, while fog-mode nozzles spray the water in a wider pattern for maximum coverage.
Rope is one of humanity’s most ancient and useful tools. Naturally, they’re a great addition to the firefighters’ kit. Firefighters use a variety of safety ropes as guides, to support their and victims’ weights during rescues, and for securing things, lifting equipment, and more. These ropes must naturally be able to resist the tremendous heat of a fire while supporting thousands of pounds of weight.
Thermal Imaging Cameras
The last of our five essential tools for fighting major fires is a newer one. Thermal imaging cameras allow firefighters to look past the smoke and oversee the spread and danger of a fire. Before running in, they can gauge the best course to take through a structure or outside area, where the fire is burning hottest, and more. Being forewarned keeps firefighters from getting caught by surprise, allowing them to beat the blaze and save more lives.