Miscellaneous, Specialty, and Wildland Tools Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Firefighter Exams (page 2)
Miscellaneous Firefighting Tools
Firefighters also use flashlights, pocketknives, and portable fire extinguishers in their duties. A thermal imaging camera, a hand-held heat-detecting tool that uses infrared rays to find hidden fire and disabled victims inside a building under smoky, firefighting conditions, is another invaluable tool. A multi-gas detector, a metering device that detects and measures oxygen level, as well as toxic (hydrogen cyanide) and flammable (carbon monoxide) gases, is also a valuable tool.
Firefighters at times need to employ tools that are generally used in specific trades. For example, they may use circuit meters, multimeters, and voltage continuity testers to measure a household's electrical condition (current flow, voltage, leakage, and resistance). In maintaining the fire station, they may use painting, woodworking, masonry, glazer, and plumbing tools. Basic automotive tools are used when maintaining the fire apparatus.
Wildland Firefighting Tools and Equipment
Wildland firefighting tools and equipment include buckets, hoes, rakes, shovels, swatters, and brooms. It is beyond the scope of this book to discuss all of these tools in detail, but a short list of some of the most common pieces of equipment used in wildland firefighting follows.
Bambi Bucket—A collapsible bucket slung below a helicopter that is dipped into a source of water (lake, river, or reservoir) and emptied onto the fire.
Drip Torch—a hand-held container with a fuel fount, burner arm, and igniter, used to ignite a prescribed burn by dripping flaming liquid fuel (diesel fuel and gasoline) on foliage and brush.
Pulaski Tool—A wooden-handled, steel-headed tool with an axe blade at one end and an adz blade on the other end, used for chopping and trenching. Invented by USFS ranger Ed Pulaski in 1911.
McLeod Tool—A long, wooden-handled tool that is a combination rake and hoe, with one serrated edge for raking and one sharpened edge for cutting and hoeing. Designed by Sierra National Forest ranger Malcolm McLeod in 1905.
Knapsack (Indian) Pump—A backpack-mounted water tank or bladder bag (five gallons) equipped with a high-pressure, double-action squirt pump used like a portable fire extinguisher for small brush fires.
Round Point Shovel—A long, wooden-handled tool with a narrow, pointed blade designed for digging out burning roots and logs and burying smoldering fires with dirt.
Fire Rake—A long, wooden-handled rake with steel teeth, used for raking fire lines and cutting under brush and foliage.
Fire Swatter (Flapper)—A flexible, square-shaped rubber flap connected to a long handle, designed to beat out or smother a small ground fire or burning embers.
Fire Broom—A broom used in fire line construction and in patrolling fire breaks.
Fire Shelter—A last-resort, personal life safety device made of several layers of aluminum foil, silica cloth, and fiberglass that reflect most of a fire's radiant heat and can be deployed quickly.
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