Many of us carry small hand tools in the pockets of our gear. Although there are many different thoughts on what tools each person should carry, a small assortment should be carried by each firefighter. You will find that small hand tools carried in the cargo pockets of your pants will make your legs uncomfortable as you walk or crawl during operations.
It is best to place small hand tools in jacket pockets where they are easier to access.
A good rule is to place tools that are for rescue in the right pocket and tools that are for life in the left pocket. 'Tools for life' are for survival and 'tools for rescue' are for everyday fireground operations.
What Do You Carry?
· Rubber Gloves – not only for your standard medical calls. How about under your Vehicle Rescue gloves at a scene with larger amounts of fluids, body or otherwise? Or under your overhaul work gloves to prevent soak through contamination?
· Wedges – wooden door wedges, aluminum sprinkler wedges, “cherry bombs”
· Knife – folder or Exacto – for seatbelts, etc.
· Wire cutters
· Crescent wrench
· Pull station screw driver – small flat headed screw driver for resetting pull stations
· Webbing – 6’ and/or 20’ – endless uses – flat rolled and stored in a rubber glove
· Tennis Ball – door handles for auto ex or gear shift/parking breaking edge protectors
· Shove Knife – not-so-forcible entry tool
“The Take Away”
Have a discussion with your Crew about what “makes sense” to carry and where is the best place to carry it (i.e. if all the Crew carry their webbing in the left leg pocket, other Members will know where to get it in an emergency). Carrying tools for every conceivable scenario will not make you more efficient. On the contrary, it will weigh you down and when you are searching for that perfect tool you know "is somewhere in here", it will slow you down.
It’s about the finding the balance of useful vs. weight and clutter