Hook and Irons

Firewire 10/1 - 10/9 October 09 2013, 0 Comments

The Video to Show at the Station When the Guys Complain  This is a video highlighting the struggles of the Highland Park Fire Department, which is located in the heart of Detroit.  When you're guys complain about the station, or  the rig, or running too many calls, show them this and realize that your situation is not as bad as some and is often better than most.

 

 In case running Into Burning Buildings is not enough excitement for you.  Here is a clip of a girl who thinks it's cool to swim with great white sharks.  Great video, just a little thrown off by the mousy voice and the gutsy action.  Either way, worth a watch.

 

Variables with Kimi Werner from Justin Turkowski on Vimeo.

Civilian Save

Talking about gutsy, this is a pucker factor of 10 in my book.

 Tesla Takes A Cue From the Politicians and blames firefighters for a recent auto fire which occurred after an MVC and originated in the battery compartment.  Sometimes I get a little tired of being everyone's whipping post.  Either way, electric cars are here, you better start preparing for them.  Here's the article:

http://www.thebright.com/Fire/tesla-blaming-firefighters-making-tesla-fire-worse/article.

Stonework on Rochester Fire Dept. Headquarters.....Just cool.

That's all for now.  Keep it safe, keep your eyes open, and try to have a little fun in the process.

                                                                                                                                                 -HxI

 


The Last Great Fire of New York City - 1845 September 04 2013, 0 Comments

 

Before dawn on July 19, 1845 a fire broke out on the third floor of a whale oil store on New Street (located in lower Manhattan).  An influx of early morning business and mild summertime temperatures might have aided in putting a quick stop to the blaze, but a warehouse located just a block away from the oil store was filled with a new shipment of salt peter (which is used in the manufacture of gunpowder).  Fire spreading from the oil store extended through the warehouses iron shutters and caused, 'a series of cannon-like bursts of smoke and fire, almost like a volcano, smashing into buildings across the street.  It culminated in a terrible final explosion completely engulfing the city block.'  The blast was heard as far away as Sandy Hook, NJ.

 

The fire killed 4 firefighters (volunteers as the FDNY was not a paid department for another 20 years) and 26 citizens.  Before the fire was contained and extinguished it destroyed 345 buildings and caused nearly 7 million dollars in damage.  With all that devastation, the fire could have been worse.  The Last Great Fire of NY was the the third in a series of horrific blazes.  The first and second of which occurred in 1776 and 1835.  The result of the first two fires was a change in building codes.  All new buildings built in New York City had to be made of brick and mortar.  This code and the newer stone buildings helped to slow the spread of the blaze and aid in its containment.  The other significant aid to extinguishing the blaze was the recent completion of the Croton Resevoir which provided a steady supply of water throughout the conflagration.

Here is an excerpt from a witness account of the blaze. 

". . .an immense body of flame... it instantly penetrated at least seven buildings, blew in the fronts of the opposite houses on Broad Street, wrenched shutters and doors from buildings at some distance from the immediate scene of the explosion, propelled bricks and other missiles through the air, threw down many individuals who had gone as far as Beaver Street, spread the fire far and wide, so that the whole neighborhood was at once in a blaze, and most unfortunately covered up the [fire company's] hose.... After this the firemen could with difficulty obtain any control over the conflagration."

Inspiration

When we contacted Ryan Brown from the Pursuit of NY, we gave him very simple instructions.  We wanted him to create a design that was historically significant to New York's history.  We wanted it to be a fresh, new look for a t-shirt.  The rest was up to him.  We knew the problem wouldn't be coming up with an idea, more honing in on one great idea.  The Last Great Fire tee is the result of all his research.  The whale represents the whale oil store that was responsible for the blaze.  The whale is also drawn into a rough shape of Manhattan and the blaze escaping from his mouth is roughly where the fire started.  Located on the top and bottom of the whale are map icons for the East and North River with an anchor showing north and south and the date of the fire.

The Last Great Fire of New York City encompasses everything we look for when we make a shirt--a design that stands alone on its own merit and becomes more interesting once you learn the story behind the design.  Ryan Brown is one of the great talents we've come across since starting H&I and if you're looking for cutting edge designs from one of the hippest indie labels out there, you should check him out at Pursuit of NY.

Historical Novel

While researching The Last Great Fire, I came across a mystery novel that takes place in 1845 New York and includes the The Last Great Fire in the novel.  The Gods of Gotham written by Lyndsay Faye was one of Publishers Weeklys top ten Mystery/Thriller novels of the year.  Lyndsay spent over a year researching the book before writing it and by all accounts is very historically accurate.  Beyond that, I would recommend it as a very easy read.

The Last Great Fire of New York City changed the building codes in New York City and eventually played a part in unifying the fire service into what would become FDNY as we know it today.  We're proud to release this shirt and recognize that from the ashes we rise and continue the mission of making the fire service better than it was before we found it.


The Bronx is Burning August 18 2013, 1 Comment



101 Rules for the New Firefighter April 10 2013, 92 Comments

 

1.  When working at a new house for the first time, shut-up, work hard, and pay attention.  I can promise you that everyone is paying attention to you.

2.  The young firefighter knows the rules, but the old one knows the exceptions.

3.  Let the tool do the work.

4.  Be like a duck.  Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.

-Michael Caine

5. "Twenty-five years from now you will be more disappointed by the the things that you didn't do than the ones you did."

-Mark Twain

 

6.  Don't make a scene and never disrespect your brother.

7.  Never take the seat that faces the television when sitting at the dinner table.

8.  When in doubt, take a halligan.

 

9.  Two hands.  Two tools.

                    -Mike Ciampo

10.  Never claim to be what you're not.  Time reveals all things.

11.  If you don't know what you're doing, say so.

12.  When approaching a fire scene, it is imperative to slow down three blocks before arrival.

13.  Suck it up.

14.  You shouldn't worry when the guys make fun of you.  You should worry when they don't say anything at all.

15.  Give Credit.  Take the blame.

16.  Never turn your back on the fire.

17.  When things go wrong, don't go with them.

                                                      -Elvis Presley

 

18.  Always show up to work at least a half-hour early.  There is no better gift you can give to guy or gal your relieving.

19.  Never trust the hand lights on the truck.  Buy your own.

20.  Don't gloat.  Don't brag.  The guys will do it for you.

21.  Take pictures often.

22.  Seek out the busiest units and the best officers.

23.  Drink coffee.

24.  Don't tell war stories to non-firefighters.  No one thinks its as exciting as you do.

25.  Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

                                                   -Aesop

26.  Don't be so eager to get off probation.  The time you spend riding backwards will be the most fun you have in your career.

27.  Never be the last one to the truck, or the sink.

28.  Be the last one to bed.

29.  Don't be afraid to fail

30.  Drill.  Drill. Drill

31.  Never respond to criticism in an e-mail.

32.  Surround yourself with smart people.

33.  Maintain a healthy fear of this job.

 

Windsor building fire

34.  Stay committed to being a life-long student of the fire service

35.  Share your ideas and observations.  You never know it could save someones life.

"I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow."

                                                                       -Woodrow Wilson

36.  Learn to cook at least two great meals.

37.  Read John Norman's book, Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics

38.  One fire sticker on your car is more than enough.

39.  Don't complain about how many calls you had last night.  No one cares.  Least of all, the people that are working 9 to 5 jobs while you're napping.

40.  Have pride in your department, but more for your station.

41.  Be precise.

42.  One of the best ways to learn is to teach--even if its teaching what you just learned.

43.  Don't panic.

44.  Befriend the driver.  You won't get anywhere without him.

45.  Go down fighting.

46.  If you're carrying more than one knife, you're a moron.

47.   Be careful what you put on paper or e-mails.  You can't take it back.

48.  Don't scribble in the logbook.

49.  Learn how to swim.  You don't want to be the guy that can't go near the water.

50.  When you're a guest at a house (on overtime or just there for the day), follow their rules.

51.  Offer to help before you are asked.

52.  The phone and the doorbell are always for you.

53.  Just because you have the uniform, that doesn't make you a firefighter. . .It just makes you a city, county, or government employee.  Your peers will let you know if you're a firefighter or not.

54.  When spending money, good quality leather boots are always worth the investment.

55.  Never call out sick on a drill day.

56.  If you don't have kids, Christmas is not as important to you.  You should not be asking for the day off.

57.  The one true measure of a successful shift is returning home safely.

58.  Don't date a co-worker.

59.  Carry two wedges and 20' of webbing.

60.  You will find no better camaraderie than in a firehouse

61.  Don't talk about the other department you worked for.  No one cares.

62.  Participate in a good practical joke.

63.  Introduce yourself.  Don't be offended when you're not remembered.  You're not memorable--yet.

64.  Treat your body well.  You'll be glad you did.

65.  Always have $20 in your wallet.  No one wants to take you to the ATM.

66.  Learn your territory.  Know it like the back of your hand.

67.  When you are out in public, never criticize your own department.  You can make up for lost time on your next shift.

68.  Take the stairs.

69.  Don't show off.  Impress.

70.  When using a power saw, patience, form--not strength are needed to make the cut.

71.  Choose the right blade.

72.  Fire is always changing and you cannot be stationary in your attitude to something that is always changing.

73.  Never criticize a fire or a call unless you were there yourself.

74.  Don't wear your fire t-shirt to the gym unless you plan on giving mouth to mouth.  Trust me, its never going to be the 18 year old     co-ed with sweatpants that read, 'juicy' across her butt.

75.  Be patient with the ER staff.  They can't help that they chose such a miserable career.

76.  Dorms are for sleeping.  Turn the tv off and hang up the phone.

77.  Don't go cheap on the ice cream and the coffee should be from Dunkin Donuts.

78.  Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it.

                                                                         -Mark Twain

79.  You are what you do.  Not what you say.

80.  One of the most difficult and dangerous things to do on a fire scene is backing a truck up.

81.  Pace yourself.

82.  A fellow firefighter who is not willing to share their knowledge is suspect.

83.  Avoid gossip

84.  The common sense approach is usually the best way.

84.  Stick to the plan.  You haven't been at it as long as you think you have.

85.  Follow instructions.

86.  Read John Mittendorf's book  Truck Company Operations.

87.  Attend fire conferences.  You'll see that your department is not the center of the universe and there are other guys that are already doing it smarter and better than you are.

88.  Be the guy that everyone has to say, " take a break.  You're making us look bad."

89.  If your department allows it, invest in a leather helmet.

90.  Always look up and around and read Brannigans book Building Construction For the Fire Service.  If you can't make an educated guess as to how a building will perform under fire conditions, you are putting yourself in danger.

91.  Demand more from your officer.

92.  It is a good idea to carry a multi-tool.

93.  Never defend the liar, the cheat, or the thief.

94.  When your officer tells you to take a nap, it's not a joke or a trick.  He wants you to be worth a damn at 3am.

95.  You don't clean a seasoned cast iron skillet with soap and water.

96.  Shaving your arms is not cool.  It's a good way to contract MRSA.

97.  I'll take the chubby firefighter that can work all day over Mr. February who has to eat six meals, drink three protein shakes, and is no good to me after one tank.

98.  Always eat dinner with your crew.  Your diet is not as important as family.

99.  Never ask the guys to lie to your spouse when he or she calls the station.

100.  When it's your time to drive, always remember that you're now responsible for all the lives in the truck.

101.  The day you show up to work hungover, or sleep deprived is the day everyone is going to need you.

 

I've actually got more than 101, but I thought I'd like to see if anyone has anymore.  That's all for now.

-George

 

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Our Lady of Angels Fire December 01 2012, 3 Comments

Today marks the 54th anniversary of Our Lady of Angels Fire that devastated so many lives and marked one of the most tragic fires in American History.  The fire occurred at Our Lady of Angels School on the west side of Chicago and killed 92 children and 3 nuns.  Here is an excerpt from a previous Chicago Tribune story about the fire:

"Max Stachura stood outside the burning building, begging his little boy, Mark, 9, to jump into his arms. Children were falling all about the father and he caught or stopped the fall of 12 of them. But little Mark was too frightened or he didn't understand his father. Mark didn't jump."

Fifty years later, Mark's mother has the day in crisp focus, and adds a missing detail.


As Mark stood at that second-floor window, fire to his back, he held a small statue in his hand and waved it proudly through the black smoke, hoping his father would notice. Mark had won the statue that day —a figure of an infant Jesus — for being first to answer a quiz question.

The fire began at the foot of a stairwell in the basement of the school about an hour before school was scheduled to let out for the day.  The fire which started in a trash barrel went unnoticed for 10-20 minutes filling the stairwell and the 2nd floor (which did not have a fire door) with smoke.  Fire department units arrived within four minutes of being called, but by then the fire had been smoldering unchecked for possibly 40 minutes. It was now fully out of control. The fire department was also hampered because they had been incorrectly directed to the rectory address around the corner on West Iowa Street and lost valuable minutes repositioning fire trucks and hose lines. Additional firefighting equipment was summoned rapidly, but by then it was already too late for most that were trapped on the second floor.  Stories from the firemen and victims from that day are truly horrific.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Angels fire brought sweeping changes in school fire safety regulations which were enacted nationwide, including mandatory sprinkler systems, fire doors, and requirements for specific building materials for the construction of new schools. Some 16,500 older school buildings in the United States were brought up to code within a year of the incident.  We've attached a short docu-film about the fire and if you're interested in reading more about the fire, its cause and the investigation afterward, you can click here.