The Quick Down and Dirty of Our Tools
By Crystal Murphy
It’s really easy to show up for shift and take some of the tools on our rig for granted. Especially, when these tools can be used to save a life or save our life. This is part one of a quick recap of some of our most commonly used tools. What do you know about them? Do you know in what ways they can be used? Or if one fits your department needs better than the other. Again, this is just a quick down and dirty, uses in certain types of situations won’t be discussed in part one but will be covered in what will be part two of this training topic.
New York Roof Hook
Although sometimes called a Halligan Hook. This is a push/pull tool with a steel hook consisting of a crooked “T” for a working end and a prying end. It was developed during the “War Years” of firefighting in New York City and created from the idea of having one tool to perform multiple tasks such as
- opening ceilings, walls, and bulkheads
- removing lath, plaster, tin, wood, sheetrock, and plasterboard
- opening skylight, scuttles, returns
- pulling floor boards
- prying roofs
- venting holes
- forcible entry
- firefighter self rescue
In New York City and some other departments, the tool is typically carried with a Halligan.
Pike poles are poles somewhere between 4-12 feet in length typically used in the fire service but have been known to be used by lineman and loggers. Its use is mainly for locating fires being sheetrock , walls, and ceiling. Pike poles also can be utilized for ventilation and water rescue . In some places, it is called a, “ceiling hook” and is the “hook” referred to in “hook and ladder”.
Originally designed in the fire service to pull down walls and neighboring buildings to stop the spread of fire to exposures. The pike can also be used to perform salvage type operations.
Aww….and finally, our beloved Halligan Bar. This bar is made up up of a fork on one and an adze and pick on the other end. A true Halligan is forged together. Some Halligans have the fork and adze/pick ends pinned to the shaft on the bar…..these types of Halligans are least desirable; if you have one, get rid of it! Sometimes called the Halligan Tool was designed by Hugh Halligan (The First Deputy Fire Chief in the FDNY) in 1948. Although designed by Chief Halligan, FDNY did not initially purchase it because of conflict of interest. This didn’t stop FDNY Truck members from purchasing their own Halligan Bar with their own money. Boston Fire would be the first carrier for the tool as it was placed in every fire company in the city of Boston.
The uses of the Halligan Bar includes:
- Forcible Entry
- Gas meter valves
When an ax and Halligan are joined together, they are said to be, “married”. It is also a common practice to join the Halligan with the New York Hook.
There you have it. The quick down and dirty of the New York Hook, Pike Pole, and Halligan. Part two will cover possible situations in which to use these tools. Other tools such as the Clemens Hook, San Fransisco Hook, and Boston Rake will also be covered later. Basically, you have to keep coming back to the SWWA FOOLS site for more!
Crystal Murphy is a Firefighter with Lacey Fire District #3. She has over 8 years in the fire service. She is currently the Southwest Washington FOOLS Internet Trustee.
“The Halligan Hook” by Doug Mitchell
“METAL-HANDLE HOOK WITH A PRY BAR END” by Mike Ciampo
“Hugh A. Halligan” Fire Department City of New York: The Bravest; An Illustrated History 1865-2002, page 72, accessed April 11, 2011.
“Forcible Entry Reference Guide – Techniques and Procedures,” New York City Fire Department, December 2006, accessed April 11, 2011.
http://lishfd.org/History/Pike_Pole_history.htm by Lady’s Island – St. Helena Fire District