Firefighters are often faced with dangerous situations. Our “playing field” has certainly changed and we have to keep coming up with ways to do our job and yet survive. Quite frankly not surviving means that someone else down the road will not be getting the help they need.
With the ever-changing construction features and fears of collapse entanglement hazards have become even more of a reality. While we often practice the stop, swim, and go back technique sometimes that is not good enough. In my volly days I responded to a warehouse on fire that had interior offices built with HVAC duct work running through them. We were in a moderate smoke condition and pulling the ceilings in the offices when the duct work fell on us and me and my partner became entangled. This was not one of those times where the swim technique was going to work. Thankfully it was low gauge wire and my letherman multi tool was strong enough to cut the wire so we could exit the structure. I’ll be honest this should have been a Mayday activation as we were both stuck pretty good and had been working for some time on air. I remember exiting right as our low air alarm went off! A rather close one in my eyes and a lesson learned.
So what do we do when we have to go to cutting our way out and what tools do we have to get this done? I know me personally I now have added the Gerber multi tool, and Cable Cutters to my arsenal and have not found anything that they can not defeat. I also have a pair of trauma shears as they can cut some lighter gage metal and have a lot of other uses.
The below video gives you a real no BS assessment of what really works and what should be left in the hardware store. Please feel free to drop any tips that you have on this subject in the comments section, and please keep spreading the word about the blog!