During forcible entry training in a recruit class, a question came up regarding maintenance and care for hand tools, such as an axes, halligan bars and roof hooks. I was wondering what others teach about keeping the tools in good working order and how often maintenance is done. Thanks.
If you are assigned to an apparatus with riding assignments, you need not only the up keep of that rigs tools but most important the tools that are assigned to you. Always keep the tools clean of dirt, tar, and paint and keep the edges free of burrs and chips (so put an edge on them). Also inspect them for cracks in the handles and heads. Do this and the tools will not fail you.
A few months ago I began to color code every piece of apparatus in our fleet. During that I cleaned all axes, hooks, bars, etc of surfacr rust and paint. I then sprayed very light coat of poly to extend the time between each cleaning. We don't use our tools as much as the brothers east of do, so it works ro our benefit.
I also followed the standard sharpening process for axes and up-keep of the wood handles tools we still have.
A few months ago I began to color code every tool on each piece of apparatus in our fleet. During that process I cleaned all axes, hooks, bars, etc of surface rust, paint, etc. I then sprayed very light coat of poly to the metal surfaces to extend the time between each cleaning. We don't use our tools as much as the brothers to the east of do, so it works to our benefit.
I've noticed how much easier it is to clean them from now on, in addition to much better it feels to look at each tool and see it in a clean and working order.
I also followed the standard sharpening process for axes and up-keep of the wood handled tools we still have.
We do maintenance on the tools as it is needed. We inspect after they get used. Wash them with normal soap and water to keep them clean. Apply paint as needed. The best thing to do is not paint at all but some depts. want stuff painted. For the Wood handles use the linsead (don't know if that is correct spelling) oil on them to help keep the wood good.
It all comes down to the pride you have in your equipment. Do you want to walk up to a scene with stuff that looks like you care about it or stuff that has contents of the fire 2 months ago still on it. When you are on duty it is your truck that day. Make your stuff look good. Like Gary said good maintained tools will show damage if they are. Dirty unkept tools will hid cracks or other issues until you need it.
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