In a previous blog we discussed how a standard Rex Tool could be modified to allow an under-staffed fire company to carry a through-the-lock tool, yet still carry their primary set of forcible entry tools (axe, halligan, hook, maul, etc.). The tool that was formed is now known as The Morris Tool, and sold commercially as “The Lil Rex” available through Firehooks Unlimited (http://www.firehooksunlimited.net/rex.html). After carrying the modified Rex Tool for several years, I began to debate how often I carried the tool in comparison to how many cylinders I had pulled. I thought, since I am carrying this thing around, how can I get more use out of this tool?
I began placing a Morris Tool onto the pike of the Halligan. This allows me to efficiently carry a lock-pulling tool, the axe and Halligan tool at the same time. When I encounter a forcible entry operation, I remove the Morris Tool from the pike of the Halligan and place it on the floor near door. After the door has been opened, the lock-pulling tool can be used as a simple door chock. The tool is naturally shaped as a wedge, and its weight proves to be very effective. A second advantage of this wedge-shaped tool is to use it to hold purchases during conventional forcible entry operations (similar to an axe blade). Carrying the Morris Tool married with the “Irons” has yet another advantage; it is not in one of your pockets, weighing you down for everyday operations. Tools located in your pockets sometimes remain unused, and become an after-though of many operations. By placing this tool in front of you, on the pike of the Halligan it keeps the tool in your view and in your mind when a use surfaces.
While further exploring options to make the above tool slightly more functional, an idea surfaced in my head. I decided to slightly modify the tool further to add a “hinge-hanger” device. Hinge-hanger type door chocks have been in use for several years and they are found in all shapes and sizes. Basic principles of a hinge-hanger device include an object being placed into a door jamb to chock the door open. To hold the chock on a hinge, a “U-shaped” piece of metal or plastic hooks or hangs over the door hinge. This prevents the chock from becoming dislodged as members pass through the door.
I applied the basic “hinge-hanger” idea to the Morris Tool. Modifying the tool was a relatively simple process. I bent a simple piece of round steel stock and welded the bent stock onto the pike-bracket of the Morris Tool. Once this simple modification was completed, it is now useful as a hinge-hanger device. I highly recommend welding or painting your name and/or company identification on the tool. By adding your identification, this small tool is less likely to “grow legs” at the very first fire you deploy it.
This is a very simple modification that can be completed in-house. It allows the tool to become more versatile and allows today’s under-staffed companies to carry a through-the-lock tool that may otherwise be left on the rig.