Short Cuts and Gadgets – Fire Engineering Leave a comment

Short Cuts and Gadgets


In Vermont the responsibility for fighting fires within town boundaries is largely the duty of the town fire warden, and the matter of supplying fire extinguishing tools is left to the individual towns. Procurement and maintenance of these facilities is often a problem.

This is how the Town of Woodford met the problem, as described by Mr. Edgar W. Killian, Res. Mgr., Draper Corporation, Bennington, Vt. (and published in The Northwestern Logger, April, 1953).

Four different groups cooperated in this endeavor, which was to install boxes with complements of tools to conform to the U. S. Forest Service standards for the area. The set-up is essentially the same as was used on the New England Forest Emergency after the hurricane in 1938.

Mr. Killian laid out the plan and submitted it to the Town meeting, where voters gave it unanimous approval. It called for construction of two boxes and supplies of tools, one box and contents to be left for the eastern part of town known as Woodford City; the other to be placed near the Draper Corporation plant “in the hollow” to take care of the western part of town.

The box, pictured with complement of tools herein, measures roughly 24 in. wide, 21 in. deep and 7 ft. long. Total weight of box and contents is approximately 300 lbs. It is equipped with carrying handles at each end and two men can readily load it into a pick-up truck.

The equipment for the box consists of j the following: 3 axes, S.B.; 2 batteries, flashlight; 4 buckets; 1 can kerosene, 1-gal.; 1 funnel; 1 file, mill 8-in.; 1 flashlight; 2 adze hoes; 1 knapsack; 3 lanterns; 1 pad and pencil; 1 peavey; 2 pack-pumps; 5 fire rakes; 1 cross-cut saw; 9 car seals; 3 shovels; 1 axe stone; 2 saw wedges; 1 bag, drinking water; 1 first aid kit; 6 back-fire torches. These tools cost around $105 in 1949. Considered a 10-man outfit, there are actually enough tools to supply 15 fire fighters, or about the right force for one man to supervise, according to Mr. Killian.

As the need for more tools arises, they can be added, he states, but the outfit described makes a good basic unit and has demonstrated its value on several small forest fires.


The Mattydale Fire Department, located in East Syracuse, N. Y., has among its members a group which is constantly trying to figure ways to better the fire service by makings things easier and quicker.

A few years back, the department was having difficulty on maintaining contact between the hydrant man and the pumper at the scene of the fire. Sometimes it was darkness and stormy weather that made it hard to hear orders; sometimes too many men were trying to do the signalling.

The result was that the “gadgeteers” developed the “Hydrant Signal Light System,” which consisted of locating on the highest point of the pumper cabs, three lights: red, amber and green. At the same time, three switches were placed at the operator’s panel, colored the same as the lights.

When the driver stops at the scene of the fire he immediately turns on the amber light for the hydrant man to be ready to start the water. He turns on the green light when he wants the hydrant man to start the water. Then the operator turns off the green and turns on the red when he doesn’t need hydrant water any more, or in case of an emergency, such as a break in the line.

This system, it might be explained, operates most effectively with what is known thereabouts as the “Mattydale Hose Lay,” which also was devised by the members a few years back. It consists of a double 11/2-in. hose box, which is built-in, crosswise, at the front end of the 21/2-in. hose box, or body. There are two 11/2-in. outlets from the pump to each of the l1/2-in. lines in the double hose box, and this provides a constant hookup and gives the crew water immediately at a fire, the supply being taken from the booster tank. This operation of attacking with the booster line, while the hydrant man is making the hookup with the 21/2-in. supply line at the hydrant, gives the latter ample time for making the connection.

Fire fighters' tool box with complement of tools.

By having the signal lights atop the cab where the hydrant man can watch them time, voice strain and confusion are saved in transmitting orders from pumper to water supply source.



Here’s a ‘gadget’ we spotted in Popular Science of July, 1948, which may intrigue our readers, as it did us.

According to that excellent journal, the water itself is used to join the lengths of fire hose. The coupling which is unthreaded, is flexible: one end (we take it the male end) is folded as shown and then inserted into the fixed end of the other hose length and the two straps fastened over the pegs of the fixed coupling. The water is turned on and, the higher the pressure, the tighter the joint becomes.

It will be noted there is a ridge on the flexible joint which locks into the groove just inside the mouth of the other connection.

This idea was invented by a Pierre Delcourt of Vertus, France, but we are unable to learn of any country or community making regular use of it..

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *