Some Saw Bullshit, Volume IIShared Post from CMD-FD

Gabriel Angemi shares more on how saws mirror to how seriously you take your job.

If you missed Gabe’s first post on saws, go here.

For starters excuse the language and bad clarity with these pictures as they are all from the iPhone. Now then… each pictured issue occurs on separate occasions, or on different days. Our Chauffeurs rotate monthly and checking the rig is pre-dominantly the chauf’s responsibility. Not being one to take that lightly, I like to be pretty thorough and do my job.

We use our saws a lot. The Rescue has 4 that regularly get used; a 20″ Stihl chainsaw, a 16″ VentMaster chainsaw, neither of which are ready for use with the depth guard on them but the latter has its guard nearby in the compartment if need be. We have two K-12’s as well, one set up inboard with a 12″ Warthog Blade for roof work and the other set up outboard with a 14″ all purpose metal/wood/concrete cutting blade for everything else. The first two pictures are to show you how one might miss the obvious, but if you spin the blades around with the saw OFF to check for cracks and bad tips you should be able to turn-up this problem waiting to happen.

Actually, there was two piles of rope or string, each the size of the one in the photos but the wind took the first pile out of the apparatus bay, across the apron and proceeded on down Broadway. Will the saw still run? I’m sure of it but I want them tip-top if Im going to be using them for the shift. The same can be said of the blades themselves. Why would you leave a front line saw on the rig with every single blade tip marred terribly with tar and other roofing material. Again, will it cut? Force and velocity will tell you hell yes it will cut but why in the world would I not take this blade off, scrape all that shit off and clean it up real nice, leaving it as pristine as possible for the next challenge?

In the pictures the difference to me is clearly evident, further proving that a little pride and love of your tools will reward you when the time comes to apply your trade. Lastly, it is possible to perhaps miss the spring loaded wire that operates the safety mechanism on the saws throttle. Honestly I’d like to tell you I believe that, but the very nature of doing a saw check should have caught this. The funny thing about doing your job in today’s fire service is that the guys who are not, get all balled up at you for doing yours. When shit like this gets overlooked they feel shamed I guess and put their pissy pants on when you break balls about it. Do things get overlooked? Sure they do, I’m guilty of it as well. Hitting the street first thing in the morning happens, and the apparatus check routine gets disturbed… I get it. To me, some things are more obviously glaring than say a more slighted and rarely used tool on your apparatus. Others however are more vital to our success, saws being one of them. ALL firemen should be complete and total masters of the obvious and we ought not be leaving tools on our rigs in this fashion.

Partner saws do not have chain breaks like chainsaws do and this spring loaded throttle check is really the only safety feature on these types of saws. Its not even much of a safety, but I still want the one Im using to have it functioning properly and its a quick fix so why let it go… In the last picture the outside pulley has been tightened down upside down and believe it or not this is a common occurrence with the K-12 saw as well.

This shot below shows the cleaned off tips and again, apologies for the bad photos. There is a ton of good information on fire service saws by Kevin Legacy, start with power saw tips, then dig the outboard blade conversion and also troubleshooting flooded saws, all are nicely done and informative.

Read more of Gabe Angemi’s posts at CMD-FD.
Photographs courtesy Gabe Angemi/CMD-FD used with permission.

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1 Comment

  • Steve Yelich says:

    This was a personal pet peeve of mine when I was on the Truck. All you have to do is read the instructions for Warthog blade care and a little pride in your equipment. I always took a trash bag and laid it flat; sprayed WD-40 all over it. Laid the blade on it and applied more spray. I then went and got a cup of coffee. About fifteen minutes later with a little elbow grease and a scraper you had a nearly new shiny blade.
    Thanks !!!

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