Video: Removing Glass Block Windows

Removing glass-block windows can be tricky and/or time-consuming if you are unaware of the methods to defeat them. In this video, we explain the quickest and most-efficient methods of defeating glass-block windows.

Of course any firefighter can simply start smashing blocks and get the window opened. The point of this video is to use a systematic approach to conduct this task with the least amount of work. After all, very few buildings have only ONE of these windows. If there is one, typically there are more.

In larger windows, members must be aware of large amounts of falling block that can injure a firefighter. Always be aware of what will or can fall, and remember that essentially you are causing a small “block-wall collapse” as you take these windows.



I would like to thank Commissioner Hoff of the Chicago Fire Department for this tip. In one of the first courses of my career, then Battalion Chief Hoff took time to show a small-town, 17-year old volunteer this method, and it has stuck with me. It is a prime lesson of “working smarter, not harder” to get the job done.

Nate DeMarse
Co-Owner, Brotherhood Instructors, LLC.

1 Comment

  • We recently had a project where we had to remove a 6ft by 6ft glass block wall. Something that we've done before but on a much smaller scale. With safety in mind, we first ensure the area (both inside and out) was clear. Then we started at the top of the wall and worked our way downward. This method is more timely but it ensures that huge panels of glass blocks are not falling on us.

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We specialize in the basic fundamentals of firefighting. While we believe that hazardous materials, terrorism, emergency medical and the various rescue disciplines are essential parts of the Fire Service, we also think that the basic fundamentals of firefighting have been overlooked in recent years. We are here to help turn that trend in the other direction.

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