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I was always taught that the irons (aka married set) were supposed to be carried by one person and that everyone else still needed to carry their own tool.

This is also my belief, and common practice. However, I see (a lot of) people splitting up the set, carrying the set between two people OR only carrying one or the other. My questions are these:

1) Does your FD have a standard for carrying the irons?
2) If carried together, what are the PROS and CONS?
3) If carried apart, what are the PROS and CONS?
4) Does your FD have a different "standard" forcible entry tool setup instead of the irons?

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To answer my own questions... my FD has riding assignments that specify who carries the irons.

For a 4-firefighter Engine Company, the Backup Firefighter carries the irons, the Officer brings a hook and the Nozzle FF brings the line.

For a 3-firefighter Engine Company where NO line is stretched, the Nozzle Firefighter carries the irons and a can and the Officer carries a hook. If a line is stretched, the Nozzle FF brings the line and the Officer has the option of carrying the irons, carrying the hook irons (6' hook and Halligan) or any one part of those sets depending on occupancy type and construction.

Our Truck is always staffed with four firefighters and the Irons Firefighter (w/ a can) sits behind the Officer. Our other standard positions are the Officer with a Hook, Outside Vent FF with the hook irons (and a ladder) and the Driver equips as needed.

We train on carrying the irons together because of limited manpower and to maintain a universal compliment of tools on the interior. We have a lot of subleased housing with "rooms " for rent inside existing apartments and houses. These doors, though inside of house/apt are fortified as well, if not more so, than the front door. We also train on using the irons with one firefighter. Carrying a tool in each hand also gives the Irons FF more reach during searches (see picture).

That's my two cents... I'd love to hear yours, please feel free to share. Thanks and Be SAFE!
We run a 3 FF engine company. The officer will take the TIC. The Backstep FF will bring the irons (married) and a pump can. If a line is being stretched, it's anyone's guess what happens to the irons. It varies from shift to shift and station to station...typical...(thanks for the quote, Gary!)

When I'm the Acting Lt, I separate the irons and carry the haligan and the TIC. This way I have a tool, during my walk around. I can kill the gas (kitchen fires), break a window, etc.

Our Ambulances have gear and work as suppression companies. Each ambulance has a set of irons and a TIC. One grabs the TIC and the crew splits the irons. If they are given truck work assignments, they'll acquire hooks/saws/etc from the truck.
-Of course the Irons are carried together! They are stored together, carried together and used together. And a good Irons man should even be able to use the Irons by himself.
-The Irons are stored on the apparatus together with the assistance of a marrying strap.
-Because the bean counters are killing the fire service by trying to do more with less and because no fire dept ever has enough people on scene, one firefighter should be able to use the Irons (both tools together) by himself to force a door.
-Storing the Irons separately or breaking them up creates problems that are plain to see when one realizes that neither tool is effective without the other for forcible entry operations.
-Forcible entry is such a basic skill in the fire service that far to many firefighters have not mastered. Too many firefighters assume they can perform these techniques and at the moment of truth they fall on their face. Forcible entry must be reviewed and practiced like any other skill for it to work at 2 AM.
I carry them together and I'm also going to start carrying the K-Tool kit with me also when I'm assigned to the IRONS. I've noticed that some of our guys are starting to split them up. The other fireman, behind the engineer, is assigned to utilities and outside ventilation with the engineer. I keep telling them to carry the utilities bag (meter puller, meter pulling gloves, meter cover & natural gas locks) and at least a 6' hook (or bigger depending on their size-up of the structure) when they ride that position.

"Too many firefighters assume they can perform these techniques and at the moment of truth they fall on their face."
Michael--This is exactly what happened 2 weeks ago on a residential fire. The guy assigned to the irons got his butt kicked by a residential door with a deadbolt. I was on Kelly Day and missed it but when I asked the kid about it to find out what happened and learn from it, he laughed about it. His excuses were "the captain said that forcible entry was a one-man job and the door had a deadbolt--what was I suppose to do". WTF!!!!!!!! We have still not trained on forcible entry yet............
Yes, we carry the irons together and use them together as well.  From a Truck Co point of view, we believe that one tool is good but two tools are better and we always carry two tools.  the irons completely accomplish this mission and a good irons FF can even use them by him/herself.  We also carry the irons with a sledge hammer vs. a flat head axe.  Also we carry a roof hook and a haligan as you guys do.  the key is to learn the tools and their capabilites as well as limitations.
Thanks for the reply.  I also recently read an article on www.urbanfirefighter.com about Squad Co. in FDNY.  It talked about certain members carry "extra" tools for other members when they finish their primary task or additional tools for different features of the buildings.  Check it out.

Shareef Abdu Nur said:
Yes, we carry the irons together and use them together as well.  From a Truck Co point of view, we believe that one tool is good but two tools are better and we always carry two tools.  the irons completely accomplish this mission and a good irons FF can even use them by him/herself.  We also carry the irons with a sledge hammer vs. a flat head axe.  Also we carry a roof hook and a haligan as you guys do.  the key is to learn the tools and their capabilites as well as limitations.
For what it's worth we do not carry the Irons as a set. We only have one ladder company and I divide the tools up to light'n the load. The officer carries the halligan and 6' hook, the "strike-man" carries his choice of striking tool(s) given the building construction, and these two marry up for the irons. My third firefighter is responsible for a 6' hook and pick head axe. Just my two cents for what works well in my response areas.

Thanks for the reply.  Though you don't carry the irons at a "traditional" set.  They are all there and EVERYONE carries at least one tool (that's the important part).  I commented on a recent article on www.urbanfirefighter.com about how FDNY squads carry tools in a similar manner to how you describe. Thanks and Be SAFE.


Wes Hill said:

For what it's worth we do not carry the Irons as a set. We only have one ladder company and I divide the tools up to light'n the load. The officer carries the halligan and 6' hook, the "strike-man" carries his choice of striking tool(s) given the building construction, and these two marry up for the irons. My third firefighter is responsible for a 6' hook and pick head axe. Just my two cents for what works well in my response areas.

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