Some Saw Bullshit, Volume IShared Post from CMD-FD

Gabriel Angemi shares that the fire service is young all over and experience with using saws at working fires isn’t what it used to be.

It doesn’t matter much to me if your cutting HUD board-ups all day long or clearing trees from an area that your aerials or master streams need to be operating in, the saws get used and then the saws get inspected and cleaned. Anything other than that is a lackluster operation as far as I’m concerned.

There is no reason whatsoever to be pulling enough saw dust out of your saws to enable your company to press a sheet of particle board. Often times the debris thats left unchecked clogs up with chain bar oil and then leads to other unwanted areas of your saws. And for what? You were too tired after the job to loosen a few screws and do the right thing?

A company that’s taking great care and maintenance of their tools is an outstanding company. Pride in today’s fire service is not what it used to be, but those companies that still have it show it when they are called upon to do their jobs. Looking squared away on the fireground begins and ends with how you clean and maintain the inanimate objects you rely upon to handle your business like a pro.

When inspecting a saws chain, the saw is OFF and brake bar safety feature is released to allow the chain to spin freely while I pull it along to examine the tips. When I find one bad one, whether its the cutting tip badly damaged, very dull or missing altogether, (which is the case as seen in these pictures) I can maybe leave it in service because these things are not just laying around by the dozen or falling off trees at my fire department, but finding 5 or 6 in that condition is unacceptable. I won’t pretend to tell you I know how many cutting tips are on each chain, that’s a bit too gonged out for even me but with each bad one you find your cutting capability is becoming worse and worse… easy enough to assume I think.

Are your spark plugs clean? Are your tips sharp? Is the chain sagging off the guide bar? Do you know how to tighten it? Assigned a position on the rig to utilize a power saw of any kind, the said guy should be pretty well aware of how to troubleshoot in the field and make minor adjustments as well as just safely operate. These things should all sound asanine to you if your a guy liable to be running saws but the truth is the fire service is young all over and experience with using saws at working fires isn’t what it used to be, just like the pride I was just speaking to.

Look at how filthy the inside of the engine compartment of this saw is and how jammed up the plug has become. This can be indicative of firemen that would rather be doing something else other than their jobs and in the day and age of firefighter layoffs we should be trying harder than ever to earn our position on the rigs we ride to fires on. Sure, this saw may start up fine and take your next board-up out for you or perform your next sill cut, making an enlarged opening for a downed firefighter removal but why would any self respecting chauffeur allow it to stay this way?

As you look at the final two shots that lead us into part two, understand that they were taken on separate days and who knows for how long they have been bouncing around like this, doing possible damage to all parts of the saw from breaking expensive blades to cracking fuel cells. Indeed, the streets where I work look like bombs have exploded upon them and since our saws are right behind the rigs rear axles the possible damage incurred is surely not being overstated. The straps securing them break, shit happens but this particular strap is fine. Not re-securing and properly stowing our equipment shows a disregard for all on the fireground if the saw doesn’t start when its dearly needed.

Focus on the job of apparatus checks like you do your size up on the fireground please.

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

  • Mick Mayers says:

    WTH? Let the beatings begin! Treat your equipment like your life depends on it. Because it does. Great post.

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Backstep Firefighter

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