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This can be used to exercise rescue skills, teamwork, proficiency and ingenuity. This originally was a pry bar drill. Truck Captain, now Battalion Chief Wells has since modified this drill to use with the truck company and the Lewisville Fire Department has expanded the use of this drill department wide.
The object of the drill is to lift an object (railroad tie, ground ladder, etc.) 12 inches from the starting position without spilling any water. Assign a weight to the object so that the participants don’t attempt to lift the object themselves and so that they realize the need to use all means available to them…..other than just picking the object up with their hands.
To set up the drill, place a ladder or other object on the ground with an aluminum can under one corner. The can causes instability and the participants should recognize this and immediately stabilize the object prior to lifting. Also, any damage to the can during the operation could simulate a crushing injury to a possible victim. Next, place a cup of water, filled up to about 1/8 inch from the top on a flat surface of the object. If using a ladder, place a small piece of plywood across the ladder, from beam to beam to set the water on.
Instruct the team performing the drill to use whatever means available to stabilize the object, lift the object 12 inches and shore the object as they go, without spilling any water. Once the object is lifted and stabilized, the drill is over and a discussion about the operation should take place so that learning occurs. If any water spills or the can sustains additional damage, the techniques being used are inadequate, and the exercise should be discussed and re attempted.
The common approach to this drill is for the participants to automatically go for hydraulic rescue tools or air bags. Make the imaginary weight such that they could use simple machines or lifting systems and explain the options for doing so. Emphasize the need to shore as they go so they don’t lose any progress that has been made.
Attached are a few pictures of the drill being conducted with a couple of our new firefighters. In this particular case the drill is being used to build teamwork. This also works well with teams, setting up friendly competition.

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Replies to This Discussion

hey scott
we have been doing this drill and our guys are pretty good at getting the can out, but i did not introduce the 12" rule. It should be interesting to see how this goes over. I might have to use something bigger to put under the aldder to make removing it more of a challenge. Maybe a big tomato sauce can or a v-8 can
thanks for the drill
be safe bro
Hey Bro great to hear from you. Let me know what you come up with. Talk to you soon.....
one more question
we have been putting the can under the beam
is that where it goes or does it go under the rung?
Either, the purpose of the can is to cause a little instability requiring cribbing before they start and aslo a victim. We have done it in both places.

Be safe
b safe
I've done a drill similar to this one with a 1 ton chlorine tank from our training ground. With a 4 member company the object is to move the cylinder to an obstacle, get it over then back to the ground then on to the next obstacle. There should be an obstacle for each member of the company and each member of the company will take a turn on calling the shots when traversing an obstacle. I have used something as simple as a piece of 4x4 cribbing for the obstacles and the last obstacle is to get the cylinder up about 10" onto a grass berm.
Here is the catch... you can't touch the cylinder with your hands and the only equipment that may be used for more than one obstacle is prybars, cribbing and chock blocks, and the crew must have complete control of the 1 ton cylinder at all times so it must be rolled with the prybars and held fast with the chocks.
Airbags can only be used once. A spreading tool or porta power only once.
It makes them think and communicate as a team and even the rookie has to come up with a plan and lead the others through it. You will be suprised with what they come up with from something as utility rope and step cribbing to LDH filled with air. Have fun
I've been doing a similar drill with my crews here but using airbags instead of pry bars. We have 2 ladders lashed together off center which really drives home the instability issue. They have to raise the entire assembly high enough to slide a step chock or other tall equipment completely under the center without spilling any water. Last month I ran through this again but raised the bar by flipping the water cup upside down and placing a raw egg on top. Initially we broke a couple of eggs but the crews learned quickly to be more careful and the eggs were saved. This is a timed event and fallen eggs add penalty time to their true time for the evolution. More information and photos can be found here:
We just tried this drill with a 24’ extension ladder fully extended. We put a Gatorade bottle upside down with an orange on top of the bottle. It was a little harder than the water trick because the load was top heavy. We also timed are selves each time to see how fast we could do it. This was a great drill and the men had a little fun with it!


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