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A couple weeks ago Andrew Brassard shared a prop idea that he made. Essentially, it is a maze that firefighters have to maneuver so a ball gets from the starting point to the end. Brass made his out of steel and Grant Light put one together with wood. I took the opportunity to put hand tools, a torch, and a welder in the hands of some firefighters.


The prop didn’t take long to make and was cheap to build since we used scrap steel.

Here are the rules I gave to the crews:

  • Use every lifting tool on your engine at least once. For us it included: pry bars, wedges, high-lift jack, bottle jack, airbags, spreaders, portapower.
  • No touching the prop with your hands
  • No banging the prop with a tool to get the ball to move
  • No blowing on the ball to get it to move (late rule add, but firefighters are innovative)
  • If you lift an inch, you crib an inch

The crews have been working around 40 minutes to move the ball through the maze. Some of the observations and teaching points from the training include:

  • Communications between the crew is essential. Sometimes two lifts at nearly simultaneous times were needed to prevent the ball from becoming trapped.
  • Teamwork is important.
  • The boss needs to have a vision for where the ball needs to go. Multiple ideas may work, but which one is fastest and safest?
  • Understand where your equipment is located on the rig and how it works. The spreaders may be fast, but the portapower or bottle jack may be better for precision lifts.


York County Vehicle Technician Class 2021



York County Vehicle Technician Class 2021

Take a look at the York County Vehicle Technician Class 2021. It’s a 24-hour Vehicle Rescue Technician program that includes classroom and practical training which applies to those incidents where commercial or heavy vehicles are involved, complex extrication processes will have to be applied, or multiple uncommon concurrent hazards are present, or that involve heavy machinery or more than digital entrapment of a victim. Emphasis will be placed on heavy vehicle lifting and stabilization, utilization of heavy towing and recovery services, and complex patient packaging and removal techniques.

Pictures (by John E. Burruss)

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Heavy Rescue

Large Animal Rescue

Working with their past experince, the Patterson Fire Department’s completed their 4th horse rescue in the past several years.



Horse Rescue

Per the post from the Patterson Fire Department’s Facebook page:

At 0732, 25th of August 2021, the Patterson fire department was dispatched for a public assist to a local farm. Patterson’s heavy rescue, 22-6-1, arrived on scene and found a 31-year-old male horse, named “Dozer”, in distress. He had apparently fallen and managed to get himself stuck between a rock and a fence line. At first, the crew attempted to assist the horse in getting up by shifting his position. It became apparent that additional equipment was going to be needed to help Dozer out since he had become too exhausted to get up on his own. After some discussion, it was established that the best plan of action was to use a Paratech bipod system. It would be used as an artificial high directional with TU-32 griphoist’s assistance to lift the horse up. With a lot of sweat and effort, the crew was able to lift the horse up onto his feet. After some much-needed fluids and rest, we were happy to see Dozer trot away, unassisted.

An interesting fact, this is Patterson Fire Department’s 4th horse rescue in the past several years, all with successful outcomes.

Photos below from Andrew Akin

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Building Collapse

Rescue Methods BGSU 2021 Rescue Tech Series



Bowling Green State University State Fire School Certified Rescue Tech

These courses are NFPA compliant and covers all six disciplines of technical rescue operations. Students will utilize the latest and greatest equipment and will put learned skills to the test in intense hands-on scenarios.

General information on the Certified Rescue Technician Program.

Class Schedule

  • Rope Rescue Technician
  • Water Craft Ops / Swift Water Ops
  • Confined Space Technician
  • Vehicle & Machinery
  • Trench Rescue Technician
  • Structural Collapse Operations

Rescue Methods BGSU 2021 rescue tech series with structural collapse ops.

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