Holding 1&1:
The Married Pair

When we get off the apparatus, it had better be with a set of tools in our hands

If I were to ask you what comes to mind when I say “married pair”, more than likely you would say a set of irons. Perhaps it is time that we reconsider labeling our tools to reflect the needs of the incident as a whole rather than just in part. The new “married pair” would complement each other in general; for example, the firefighter with the forcible entry tools would be married to the can man.

While it sounds silly and I can’t claim to be 100% serious, think about it for a minute. Riding assignments typically eliminate tools that serve no purpose, but you should always be concerned with who is carrying what, regardless of rank.

Carefully consider the tools you are selecting so you will not have to waste precious time going back to the rig to get it. Don’t just take a specific item or two because that is what you have always taken in the past. As firefighters, we have it ingrained in our heads that when we get off the apparatus, it had better be with a set of tools in our hands. This kind of thought process is generally a good one to have but it has, on occasion, come with a price.

Take into account the assignment you are tasked with (or additional information you’ve been given) and pay attention to the tools you are collectively carrying. It is not uncommon to see an engine and truck investigate smoke in the structure without a hoseline. You might also see that everyone has a set of irons, but no one has a hook and a can. Or, if they do grab a hook, maybe it’s a 3 foot pike pole in a home with cathedral ceilings. Maybe the officer is carrying a mini-bar while the firefighter is overloaded. If they are running an inside gas leak, do they don’t have meters or anything to shut the gas off with? You get the idea.


Hand tools aren’t the only items carried on the piece so don’t limit yourself or your frame of mind. Regardless of what horse you came in on, you may be asked to stretch lines, deploy a standpipe pack, throw ladders, or conduct any number of other evolutions. Be prepared and think outside the box.

– The Truck

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1 Comment

  • Michael Furci says:

    Good article. Thought provoking. Being a truckie at heart, I’ve trained extensively on truck duties. I have found that many firefighters get off the truck with no regard to why they’re carry a particular tool, or to what others are carrying. Since our dept. will not create a policy that assigns tools to positions, I found it necessary to assign tools at the beginning of the shift and adjust according to man power and the type of call.

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