Ryan Escape bar to be on display at FDIC 2009
Published on 13 March 2009
New forcible entry tool doubles as a firefighter survival and bail-out tool
Firefighter survival is an immense issue in today's fire service. There are literally dozens of training classes and hands-on programs designed to aid firefighters in staying out of trouble, getting out of trouble, rescuing other firefighters, and otherwise keeping everyone safe on the fireground.
Most recently several firefighters bail-out systems have been designed with a descending device, such as a hook that firefighters can use to secure their escape rope to before bailing out a window. All of these tools and training programs are intended to help firefighters help themselves and keep them safe while operating in structural fires.
Another new tool has just entered the arena that is a variation or combination of several other familiar items. The Ryan Escape Bar recently appeared at several fire service conferences, where it received much interest from many firefighters and officers. This tool is basically a forcible entry bar that has been modified to include several features that allows it to double as a firefighter survival tool. The bar includes several familiar elements such as the fork end, the adze, and the point or hook - all dependable forcible entry features that allow it to be used for several basic yet important firefighting tactics.
The bar is 32 inches long, making it an effective sweeping tool which can be used to extend the reach of a searching firefighter. The fork and adze ends are very effective for forcing fools, windows and locks. Weighing only 12 pounds, it can be attached to a rope and dropped into and through windows below for ventilation.
Added to the standard elements are several new features that make this a valuable firefighter survival tool. Many firefighter survival programs teach a window bail-out skill. Most often, the escaping firefighter needs to tied or connect their escape rope to a tool, which is positioned across the bottom corner of the window they are escaping through.
Whether a halligan, hook, or other hand tool is used, it must be held there tightly by the escaping firefighter so that it does not slip from its proper position and out the window. This would obviously cause the firefighter to fall, which could result in injury or death. Instead, this escape bar has several unique features added to keep the bar where it needs to be to do its job.
At the fork end, a small steel point protrudes from the side of the fork. This point comes off the same side of the tool as the adze does at the other end of the 32-inch bar. These two points are driven into the wall at the proper location to have the tool across the bottom corner of the window, where it is in position to be used as a secure and reliable anchor point.
At the center of the bar, a 360 degree center rotation ring has been affixed to the bar for attachment of the escaping firefighters bail-out rope. Most escape ropes are equipped with a snap hook or other piece of hardware that allows for quick attachment. The rope can now be instantly snapped onto the ring, which swivels around to allow the rope to pass through the window at the proper location without twisting or pulling the bar from its secure position.
The escape features added to this forcible entry bar have converted it from a basic fire service tool to a firefighter survival tool. It has been field tested by numerous fire service professionals from fire departments in Jersey City, New Jersey; Anaheim, California; Newark, New Jersey; Santa Ana, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Anne Arundel, Maryland, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reports from these firefighters and officers state that the tool is very effective for both its forcible entry and firefighter survival capabilities.
Once in a while something new comes along that makes a difference and improves our ability to perform our duties at fires and emergencies. The Ryan Escape Bar is one of those tools, and it not only helps us perform our firefighting and rescue duties, but may be the tool that helps you save yourself.
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