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ED 330 877 

CE 057 710 






Rescue Manual. Module 3. 

Ohio State Univ., Columbus. Instructional Materials 



39p.; For related modules, see CE 057 708-717. 
Photographs may not reproduce well. 
Instructional Materials Laboratory, Ohio State 
University, 842 West Goodale Blvd., Columbus, OH 
43212 ($4.25; set of 10, $33.00). 

Guides - Classroom Use - Instructional Materials (For 
Learner) (051) 


MF01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

Accidents; "Electricity; "Emergency Programs; 
"Emergency Squad Personnel; First Aid; Learning 
Modules; Occupational Safety and Health; 

Postsecondary Education; "Rescue; Safety; 



This learner manual for rescuers covers the current 
techniques or practices required in the rescue service. The third of 
10 modules contains 4 chapters: (1) forcible entry; (2) structure 
search and rescue; (3) rescue operations involving electricity; and 
(4) cutting torches. Key points, an introduction, and conclusion 
accompany substantive material in each chapter. (NLA) 

********************* * *********************************************** 

" Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made 
* from the original document. 




OH.ce ol Educational Research and improvement 


r/h.s document has been W^ed^M 

received from the person or organual-on 
originating il 
[ Mmor changes have been made to improve 
reproduction quality ^ 

a Points o» view or opinions staled .n t>|iidocu 
men! do not necessarily represent oHioal 
OERl position or policy 



^ Forcible Entry 

Structure Search and Rescue 


Rescue Operations Involving Electricity 

Cutting Torches 






Copyright 1989 by The Ohio State University. All rights reserved. 

Edited and distributed by the 
Instructional Materials Laboratory 
The Ohio State University 
College of Education 
Columbus, Ohio 43210 

Rescue operations mav subject both rescuer and victim to the possibility of injury or death. Rescuers must understand 
the nature and effect of each rescue technique, and practice techniques regularly, using this text to enhance their 
learning. The materials and information presented here are intended only as a learning aid, and are no substitute for 
training. Expert opinions, recommendations, and guidelines change as research and experience refine procedures. This 
text includes the most up-to-date information from rescuers working in the field. 

Specialized procedures require demonstration and training by subject-matter experts. It is not likely that a rescuer 
will become proficient in all rescue operations. MoBt rescuers develop proficiency in only a few areas but may be 
familiar with several others. 

This text suggests procedures and explains how to do them. The techniques given are guidelines only. Each department 
should incorporate its own procedures and address local needs. 

Nondiscrimination Policy The policy of The Ohio State University, both traditionally and currently, is that 
discrimination against anv individual for reasons of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, a«e, handicap, or 
Vietnam-era veteran status is specifically prohibited. Title IX of the Education Amendment* of 1972 prohibits sex 
discrimination and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap in 
education programs and activities. Accordingly, equal access to employment opportunities, admissions, education 
programs, and all other University activities is extended to all persons, and the University promotes equal opportunity 
through a positive and continuing "'firmative action program. 

Rescue Manual 




9 x 

ERIC 1 4 


Acknowledgment is extended to the following persons for their willingness to share their knowledge and 
expertise and for authoring information presented in this module: 

Structure Search and Rescue 

Gary Fellows, Fire Protection Engineer, Wheeling/Pittsburg Steel, Steubenvile, Ohio 


Louis Vargo, Fire Chief, Mt. Pleasant Fire Department, Mt. Pleasant, Ohio 

Cutting Torches 

Greg Lash, Columbus Division of Fire, Columbus, Ohio 





The intent of this manual for rescuers is to provide the latest instructional content and serve as an up- 
to-date, comprehensive source of information covering the current techniques or practices required in the 
rescue service. To help in this endeavor, an instructor's manual has been developed to be used in conjunction 
with this learner's manual The manual has been produced in a series f modules to facilitate future revisions 
more rapidly and cost effectively. 

The instructor's manual follows the key points identified in the text. Chapters have been included in the 
text which exceed those printed in any other resource. These include managing and operating the emergency 
vehicle, rope rescue techniques, industrial rescue, farm accident rescua, and various water emergency procedures, 
among others. 

That the rescue profession is a dangerous and challenging career is a recognized fact. It is our hope that 
this text will help the rescuer meet the challenges of the rescue service in a safe and professional manner. 

Tom Hindes 

Instructional Materials Laboratory 
College of Education 
The Ohio State University 







The Ohio State University Instructional Materials Laboratory has played a major role in the training of 
public safety personnel through the development of text materials for many years. Due to the advances in 
the rescue techniques, it became apparent that the existing text was obsolete. Upon the advice of many 
knowlegeable people in the rescue service, the Instructional Materials Laboratory initiated the development 
of a new text that would be easily updated, and address the needs of the rescuer. To this end, an editorial 
review board representing a broad spectrum of individuals in the various phases of the research profession 
was convened to determine what topics this text should address. The culmination of this effort is the Rescue 
Manual. It is hoped that this text will be useful to not only the new rescuer but will servt as a reference 
source for the experienced rescuer. 

Joyce Leimbach 
Curriculum Consultant 
College of Education 
The Ohio State University 

Ronald Slane 
Technical Consultant 
College of Education 
The Ohio State University 







Forcible Entry 1 

Structure Search and Rescue 2 

Rescue Operations Involving Electricity 15 

Cutting Torches 25 


The 1989 Rescue Manual has been grouped into ten modules in accordance with the recommendations 
from the Rescue Editorial Board. 

Module 1 


Occupational Stresses in Rescue Operations 



Reporting and Recordkeeping 

Tools and Equipment for Rescue Operations 

Planning for Emergency Operations 

Incident Command System 

Dealing with Natural Disasters 

Module 2 

Patient Care and Handling Techniques 
Rescue Carries and Drags 
Emergency Vehicle Operation 
Self- Contained Breathing Apparatus 
Protective Clothing 

Module 3 

Forcible Entry 

Structure Search and Rescue 

Rescue Operations Involving Electricity 

Cutting Torches 

Module 4 

Construction and Characteristics of Rescue Rope 

Knots, Bends, and Hitches 

Critical Angles 

Belay Systems 

Raising Systems 


Using the Brake-Bar Rack for Rope Rescue 

Rope Rescue Techniques 

Aerial Ladder and Aerial Platfoim Rescue 

Module 5 

Hazardous Materials 

Module 6 

Industrial Rescue 
Rescue From a Confined Space 
Extrication From Heavy Equipment 
Rescue Operations Involving Elevators 

Module 7 

Extrication From Vehicles 

Module 8 

Trench Rescue 

Shoring and Tunneling Techniques 
Farm Accident Rescue 
Wilderness Search and Rescue 
Aircraft Rescue 
Helicopter Information 

Module 9 

Ice Characteristics 

River Characteristics and Tactics for Rescue 

Water Rescue Techniques 

Water Rescue/Recovery Operations 

Dive Operations 

Water Rescue Equipment 

Water Rescue Safety Tips 

Module 10 



For ordering and pricing information contact: 
Instructional Materials Laboratory 
The Ohio State University 
842 W. Goodale Blvd. 
Columbus, Ohio 43212 
Phone (614) 221-4950 




• The use of each type of manual forcible-entry tool 

• Methods and procedures for properly cleaning, maintaining, and inspecting forcible-entry tools and 

• Materials and construction features of doors, windows, roofs, floors, and vertical barriers, and the 
dangers associated with each in an emergency situation 

• Techniques for forcibly entering doors, windows, ceilings, roofs, floors, and vertical barriers 


Rescuers must often gain entry to buildings to 
search for victims. The succes3 of these operations 
depends on the rescuers' ability to quickly gain ac- 
cess to these buildings. 



There are two basic types of axes used for rescue 
today, the flat head and the pick head axe (see 
Figures 1-A and 1-B). When carrying a pick head 
axe, it is important that the head of the axe be 
carried with the cutting edge pointing away from 
the body and the pick shielded with the hand (see 
Figure 2). 

Since an axe becomes dulled quickly through use, 

Figure 1-B. Pick Head Axe 


a sharp edge is not necessary. Moreover the axe 
blade may be ground thin by sharpening, and a thin 
edge may break or chip easily and is a potential 
hazard. While newer axes have fiberglass handles, 
many axes have wooden handles. Wooden handles 
on axes and other tools should not be painted, be- 
cause paint may camouflage hidden cracks in the 
wooden handles and create a hazard to the user. A 
coating of linseed oil should be applied to all wooden 
handles for protection and preservation. 

Bolt Cutters 

Bolt cutters are used to cut padlocks, bars, and 
hasps. A bolt cutter may also be used to help free 
trapped occupants from vehicles. It is important to 

Figure 3. Bolt Cutter 

remember that the case-hardened steel found in 
many locks cannot be cut with a bolt cutter (see 
Figure 3). 

Prying Tools 

The tools commonly used for prying are the Hal- 
ligan tool, claw tool, Kelly tool, pry axe, Hux bar, 
and the pry bar (see Figure 4). These tools may be 
used to force open locked doors and windows and 
pry materials apart. Some of these tools are designed 
to perform other jobs as well. One example of this 
is the Hux bar, which may also be used as a hydrant 

Power Tools 

With few exceptions, the power tools used for 
forcible entry are powered by either gasoline engines 
or electricity (see Figure 5). Other tools are run by 
hydraulic oil and compressed air (see Figure 6). 

Battering Ram 

This tool is used to breach brick walls and force 
doors that cannot be opened by any other means or 
that must be opened immediately. To breach a brick 
wall, a pickaxe must be used first to remove brick 
in an area approximately three feet from the ground. 
The battering ram is held by the handles by two 
persons on each side with the forked end toward 



Figure 4. Prying Tools 






Figure 5. Electric Saw 


F/^ure 6. Air Ch/seJ 

the wall, swung back at arm's length, then thrust 
agaiv t the wall with a slight lifting motion as it 
strikes the wall. If the battering ram is used to force 
a door, the blunt end (rather than the forked end) 
of the ram should strike the door beneath the lock 
(see Figure 7), 

Lock Pullers 

Lock pullers such as the K tool are designed to 


Figure 7 Battering Ram 

remove cylinder locks. In use, the K tool lock puller 
is driven onto che cylinder lock and then pried off 
with a Halligan or similar tool. The Kerry key is 
used to release the latch, A variety of tools ?re used 
by rescue personnel to gain entry into buildings, and 
rescuers should become familiar with all the tools 


In preparation for forcible entry, rescuers should 
determine which buildings in their area will probably 
need to be forced open. This preplanning should be 
accomplished before a rescue is needed. The follow- 
ing points should be considered: 

• Which buildings are locked during part of the 
day, and when they are locked, 

» Which buildings are always open at the street 
entrance, but have individual units that may 
require forced entry, 

• Which buildings are locked at a street entrance 
and at an inner lobby door, both of which might 
have to be forced, 

• Which buildings have doors that, when locked, 
can be easily forced open, and which have doors 
that are difficult to force, (For the latter, rescuers 
may be able to obtain keys to be carried on the 

• Which buildings can be entered from the rear 
and sides, as well as the front. Normally, front 
entrances are the easiest to force, but the lo- 
cations and construction of windows and doors 
at the sides and rear might allow them to be 
used most effectively for forced entry — especially 
if the front door is difficult to force, 

• Which buildings have private security forces that 
will respond to an alarm with keys, thereby 
eliminating the need for forcible entry, 

• Which buildings might present forcible entry 
problems as exposures, should a nearby or at- 
tached structure become involved with fire, 

• Which is the best way to enter problem buildings 
by force if that should become necessary, 


When rescue personnel arrive at the scene of an 
emergency, they must first determine if forcible entry 
is necessary to gain entry. Check all doors to see if 
they are locked before forcing a door* Remember, 




no matter how proficient rescuers are at forcible 
entry, anything that must be forced will be damaged. 
It does not make sense to force a door when it is 
not locked or there is another door which is open. 
There have been occasions when this has been done. 

Opening Windows 

Because of the many different types of windows 
manufactured today, it would not be practical to 
include specifications regarding each type of window 
in this chapter. Only the most common windows will 
be discussed. 

Double-Hung Windows 

A double-hung window has a lock located where 
the upper and lower sash meet (see Figure 8). If the 

Figure 8. Checkrail (Double-Hung) Windows 

Figure 9. Prying Open a Double-Hung Window 

er|c best copy 

window is made of wood, this lock can often be 
forced out of the wood by using a prying tool in the 
middle of the bottom sash (see Figure 9). If the 
window is made of metal and glass, the glass will 
>iave to be broken and the lock released. 

Combination Storm Windows 

A combination storm window is constructed so 
that the storm window and screen are stored in one 
unit. The storm window slides up for summer storage 
as the screen slides down. This process is reversed 
for winter storage. Some of these windows are con- 
structed to provide for removal of storm windows 
and screens for cleaning. The problem rescuers en- 
counter is that these windows and screens must be 
removed from the inside. Because the frames of these 
windows are made of aluminum, they will be dam- 
aged if forced. In many instances it is better to break 
the glass and/or remove the screen to gain entry. 

Casement Windows 

Casement windows are hinged on the sides and 
swing away from the structure as a crank is turned. 
They are locked by a latch that is found between 
the two windows. It is recommended that these 
windows be opened by removing the screen if nec- 
essary, breaking the glass on the side where the 
crank is located, reaching in and upward to release 
the latch, and then turning the crank to open. 

Factory Windows 

This style of window is constructed to open by 
swinging either outward or inward. Factory windows 
are made of metal with a latch-type lock (see Figures 
10-A and 10-B). If the window contains more than 
one pane of glass, break the pane nearest the latch, 

Figure Multi-Paned Factory Window 




Figure 10-B. Latch on Multi-Paned Factory Window 

and swing the window either in or out. Some factory- 
style windows used in public buildings have only 
one large pane of glass; in this case break the glass, 
remove the rough pieces around the edge, and climb 
through the window (see Figures 11-A and 11-B). 

Figure 11-A. Single-Paned Factory Window 

Figure 11-B. Latch on Single-Paned Factory Window 



Although it is easier to open a window than to 
force a door, there are buildings that do not have 
windows. In this situation the rescuer must force 
open the door to gain entry. In all cases, try to 
open any door before forcing to see if it is 
in fact locked. Many types of doors are used in 
building construction; only the most common will 
be considered in this chapter. 

Residential Doors 

All residential doors swing in and are either hol- 
low-core or solid-core doors. A hollow-core door has 
several layers of plywood veneer glued over strips 
of wood or some other material such as corrugated 
cardboard to form a strong door. This type of door 
is usually found inside a house. The entrance doors 
are usually solid core doors. These doors are con- 
structed of solid wood. They are much heavier than 
hollow core doors and considerably more expensive. 
Because opening a door that swings in is quite dif- 
ficult, the following procedure is recommended. 

If the door is in a stepped frame, the straight 
head of the Kelly tool may be inserted between the 
door and the jamb (see Figure 12). Then, by prying 
toward the door, the door may be sprung past the 
lock bolt 

If the door is in a rabbeted frame, there is little 
chance of spri ving the frame. The cross head of 
the Kelly tool may be inserted between the door 
and the jamb as shown in Figure 13. Prying against 
the door will break the door itself, the jamb, or the 
lock. If the door has glass in it, it is better to break 
the glass and manipulate the lock from the inside. 

Figure 12. Kelly Tool Used on Door That Swings 





Figure 13. Kelly Tool Used on Rabbeted Jamb 

To insure security, many people have installed 
more than one locking device on an entrance door. 
When this situation is encountered it may be easier 
to gain entry through a window. If no windows are 
available, the door may have to be destroyed to gain 
entry. Many entrance doors in homes have glass in 
the upper half. In this case, the glass may be broken 
to gain access to the lock. 

Doors Found in Commercial Buildings 

There are many types of doors used in commercial 
buildings. Through company inspections and pre- 
planning, the rescuer will become familiar with for- 
cible entry requirements of special buildings. 

Single-Hinged Door. All single-hinged doors in 
places of business should open outward. Single-hinged 
doors that open outward may be opened from the 
swing side with an axe, as shown in Figure 14. The 


Figure 14. Opening Door With Axe 

blade of the axe is inserted between the jamb and 
the door, just above or below the lock. Prying with 
the handle to one side away from the door, will 
usually spring the jamb enough to let the lock bolt 
pass under the keeper. The Kelly tool may also be 
used for this purpose (see Figure 15). The Buster 

Figure 15. Opening Door With Kelly Tool 

bar or Hux bar may be use i for prying open a door 
in a manner similar to the Kelly tool. Either the 
straight or the cross head end of this tool may be 
used where a door is near a partition permitting 
better leverage with the tool. 

Single-hinged doors on warehouses, stables, and 
other buildings may be locked with a hasp and 
padlock. If so, the staple of the hasp may be pried 
or twisted off with a tool such as shown in Figure 
16. The point of the tool is inserted in the staple 
end. If a pry will not remove it, it may be twisted 
off, taking the lock with ? .t. 

Figure ±6. Prying a Hasp Lock 

Overhead Lift Door. Overhead lift doors are 
easily operated once the lock is released (see Figure 
17). Generally, they are locked with sliding bars that 
must be broken or sprung to release the door. Over- 
head lift doors may be forced by prying upward at 
the bottom of the door with a crow bar, claw tool, 
or other good prying tool. Once the lock bar is 







Figure 17. Overhead Lift Door 

broken, the door will open easily. 

Overhead rolling doors are made of steel and offer 
the greatest resistance of all to forcible entry (see 
Figure 18). Due to the fact that they are operated 
with a worm gear, the door cannot be raised except 
by operating the worm with the chain that is pro- 
vided (see Figure 19). Prying the door is liable to 
spring it so that it canncc be operated even with 
the worm gear. Ther^ . vi two alternative methods 
to gain entry throuf/ ; "oiling door. The fastest 
method is to cut an opening through which rescuers 
may enter. The alternative is to knock out the wall 
alongside the door, making a hole large enough to 
operate the chain. 

Tempered-Glass Door. The use of tempered 
glass or full-vision doors is increasing rapidly. Usu- 
ally, there is no frame around the glass, and the 
locking hardware is either at the top or the bottom 
of the door. The tempering produces high-tension 

Figure 18. Overhead Rolling Door 

Figure 19. Worm Gear and Chain of Overhead Door 

stresses in the center of the glass and compression 
stresses at the exterior surface. Tempering increases 
the flexibility and the strength approximate 11 * rt our 
times. It is more resistant to shock, pressure, and 
impact and will withstand, without breaking, tem- 
peratures of 650 degrees Fahrenheit on one side while 
the other is exposed to normal temperatures. Doors 
made of tempered glass are custom built and very 
costly. They should never be broken if any other 
means of entry is available. 

Pulling Cylinder Locks 

If necessary, the use of the K Lock Tool will 
enable entry by pulling the lock cylinder out of the 


Throughout this chapter, the forcible-entry situ- 
ations that are most commonly encountered have 
been addressed. It is possible that rescuers will en- 
counter many different situations that are not ad- 
dressed anywhere in text form. For this reason 
rescuers need to become familiar with the tools used 
in the local department, the buildings located in the 
vicinity of the department, and the preplanning ac- 
tivities and procedures. 

1 5 



The importance of search and rescue procedures 
The primary search 
The secondary search 


Rescue personnel are subject to great risk and are 
often injured while conducting search and rescue 
operations within a burning structure. When search- 
ing for occupants within a fire structure, do not 
disregard personal safety that could result with col- 
lapse. Rescuers must be in good physical condition, 
wear proper protective equipment, and wear proper 
breathing equipment (when required) during rescue 

One rescuer who fails to perform his or her share 
of a rescue could hamper the total rescue. Calling 
additional personnel to assist a fallen or injured 
rescuer, or the death of a rescuer or occupant within 
the structure will slow rescue procedures. 

Throughout the search and rescue process main- 
tain constant contact with the incident commander 
and report emergency conditions as they are found. 


During structural search and rescue, evaluate the 
physical conditions to which the rescuers are sub- 
jected, not only as they relate to the building, equip- 
ment, and atmospheric degradation, but also in terms 
of the psychological effects these conditions have on 
the rescuer and the victim. Two psychological con- 
siderations are anxiety and exertion. Anxiety is the 
eagerness to serve or the desire to perform the rescue, 
the fear of the unknown, and concern for one's 
personal survival. Exertion is striving or laboring 
due to a rapid change of physical demands. Anxiety 
and exertion can be reduced by anticipating the 
stress, by mental discipline, and by the fact that 
the rescuer has had training and rescue experiences 
with the operation being performed. 

For protection from excessive temperatures found 
during a search and rescue operation, wear approved 
protective clothing (helmet, hood, coat, gloves, pants, 
and boots) and use a self-contained breathing ap- 
paratus (SCBA). Protective clothing, as well as the 
SCBA, must be stored and cared for according to 
manufacturer's specifications. See the chapters on 
protective clothing and SCBAs. 

The Victim's Condition 

Be aware of the physical and emotional condition 
of the victim or victims. Each victim may react 
differently. The following conditions are commonly 

• A victim's mobility may be affected by fire gases 
that can affect rational behavior 

• A victim's field of vision may be greatly dimin- 
ished or the victim may become disoriented from 
smoke conditions 

• A victim may be irrational 

• A victim may panic if the escape routes are 
physically blocked 

• A victim may be in shock and unable to adjust 
emotionally to the rapidly changing situation 

• An elderly victim or a small child may try to 
hide because of fear 

• A victim may be unde * .e influence of alcohol 
and drugs 

• A victim may be physically handicapped or ill 

• A victim may fail to recognize the severity of 
the fire or attempt to fight the fire rather than 
leave the building 

Rescue personnel can also become victims on the 
fireground because of the following: 

• Lack of protective equipment 

• Equipment failure 



• Becoming lost or disoriented 

• An exhausted air supply 

• Rapid fire development because of flashover, 
backdraft, building collapse, or explosion 

• Overexertion 

It is important that all rescue personnel be ac- 
counted for on a fireground throughout a rescue 
operation. It is essential to work in pairs in case 
one person becomes trapped or disoriented. When 
rescuers work in teams, the danger is shared and 
help is readily available in case there is a need. A 
team of rescuers also makes the response quicker 
by having four eyes to see and four ears to hear. 
Communication between team members usually re- 
duces risk-taking by rescuers. Before entering any 
building to conduct a search, look for alternate exits, 
such as the doors and windows. Additional factors 
to consider include the following: 

• Time. Be alert to the day of the week, the month, 
and the season of the year. 

• Weather. Observe the humidity, fog, and 

• Occupancy of building. Check to see if it is an 
individual residence, a single or multi-family 
dwelling, an educational facility, a public assem- 
bly facility, or a manufacturing site. 

• Logistical. Evaluate the terrain of approach, the 
street or alley access, the exposures, and the 
number of personnel and equipment on the scene. 

• Life hazard. Be alert to the life hazard for the 
occupants, fire personnel, and bystanders. 

• Rescue operations. The incident commander 
should evaluate the need for company officers 
and rescue personnel. 


All elements of search and rescue are important; 
however, during the primary search emphasize the 
conditions of the emergency and the purpose of the 
search. Begin the primary search immediately upon 
arrival at the scene. 

In the case of a fire, conduct the primary search 
before the fire is under control. The search must 
be systematic (see Figure 20). Start on one side of 
the building and continue to search until every room 
in an assigned area has been checked. Never wander 
aimlessly within a burning structure. A rescuer can 
become lost or disoriented. Perform the primary 


Figure 20. Search Pattern 

search quickly and thoroughly. Do not overlook 
anything (see Figure 21). 

One of the most dangerous parts of any burning 
structure is the floor directly above the fire. Always 
carry forcible entry equipment such as a HalHgan 
tool or an ax that can be used to enter a room that 
is excessively hot, or to probe for victims who may 
have taken cover, e.g., under a bed. 

Also use forcible entry equipment to gain access 
to individual rooms and to assist in ventilating an 
area for the hose crew searching for fire. When 
ventilating, be careful not to draw the fire toward 

When searching a large open area, take a safety 
line inside the building to be searched (see Figure 
22). The safety line must be tied to the rescuer, not 
to the rescuer's breathing apparatus. A hoseline can 
be used for this purpose. Carry a charged hoseline 
to extinguish fires that block an exit, and to contain 
a fire and keep it from extending to the search area. 

The Search Process 

During the search, move all furniture and search 
behind and underneath it. Children often try to hide 
from the fire and smoke, so it is important to search 
all closets and bathrooms. 

When entering a smoke-filled area, look down 
toward the feet. If it is not possible to see the feet, 
drop to the hands and knees. Since heat and smoke 
tend to rise, this position allows greater visibility. 
It also helps rescuers find obstructions or holes in 



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Ventilate rooms while moving through 
the Kearoh. Be cm r etui rnot to extend 
fire by vent ilat ion, 

l)o not wander aimlennly, plan the noarch. 
Always move toward light, ventilation, and 
secondary means of exit. 

Figure 21. Primary Search 

J 1 ft 




Figure 22. Safety Line 

the floor, preventing injuries to the rescuers. 

Before entering a room to be searched, feel the 
door for excessive heat Never stand in front of the 
door. Keep the body low and to one side when 
opening t-*e door. If there is a fire behind the door, 
as it is opened the fire will go above and away from 
the opening. Never kick in a door— a victim may be 
behind it. If a door is hard to open, slowly push the 
door open, feeling behind it to check for a possible 
victim who may have collapsed while attempting to 

If a fire is encountered during the search, trapped 
rescuers can protect themselves by closing a door 
behind them. This can contain the fire long enough 
to find a secondary exit, or for help to arrive. 

Rescuers must also remember to keep their heads 
up % when ascending or descending stairs. Always 
maintain a wide stance when going up or down 
stairways. This distributes the body weight over a 
greater area and decreases the possibility of struc- 
tural collapse. 

Once a room has been searched, mark the area to 
keep other teams from duplicating the search. Mark 
the rooms "searched" by some predetermined method 
such as placing furniture in the doorway, or placing 
chalk marks, tape, or latch straps over the door 
knobs. Whichever form of marking is used, make it 
known to all rescuers during training sessions that 
it is a standard operating procedure of the 

Once the primary search team has completed the 
search, tell the incident commander the situation 
encountered, such as victims recovered, and the 
amount of fire extension. Also tell the incident com- 
mander when the entire search team is out of the 


The secondary search is done by a second rescue 
team. This action ensures the thoroughness of the 
primary search and is usually conducted once the 
fire is under control. Use the same search techniques 
in the secondary search as in the primary search. 
Conduct the secondary search systematically. During 
the secondary search, attempt to identity victims 
not found during the primary search, check for fire 
exter *ion, shut off utilities, locate danger areas (each 
should have been roped off and secured), and con- 
tinue ventilation. 

Search the outside premises in this phase of the 
search process. This action can provide information 
regarding victims who may still be inside, and in- 
formation about the nature of the fire conditions 
from those who have already escaped. Check the 
windows and roof to see if anyone has jumped from 
the building. Victims may be on rooftops waiting to 
be rescued. Watch for victims trying to re-enter the 
building in an attempt to rescue another victim or 
obtain personal belongings. 

For a rescuer who becomes lost or disoriented 
during a search, the following suggestions are helpful: 

• Follow a wall to a window or door. 

• Follow joints in the floor to find a wall. 

• Look for light from a window. 

• Go down a stairway. Never go up a stairway- 
fire gases and heat always rise. 

• Follow a hoseline or a safety line. 

• If a stairwell is not intact or safe, proceed to an 
adjacent room, find a window, and drop some- 
thing outside in an effort to catch someone's 

• If the SCBA tank becomes empty, disconnect 
the breathing tube from the regulator and place 
it inside the turnout coat to obtain air trapped 
under the coat. 

• Activate a personal-alert device. 

After the Search 

Once the search is completed, notify the incident 
commander of the conditions found within the struc- 
ture. The summary report should include informa- 
tion about the status of the utilities, the fire extension, 
and the location of potential traps or hazards. The 
incident commander needs this information so fire- 
fighting crews working within the structure can be 
advised of the situation and obtain more assistance 
if needed. 




When conducting a building search: 

• Work systematically; follow a pattern whenever 
entering or exiting a room or building. 

• Mark the points of entry and exit, 

• Always work in a team of two or more and 
communicate continuously. 

• Maintain contact with the wall and sweep the 
floor area; probe under, behind, and on top of 
all furniture, especially beds and chairs. 

• Check all closets and bathrooms. 

• Use the human senses of touch, sight, and hear- 
ing. Pause to hear moans, crying, gasps, or 





• Characteristics of electricity 

• Assessing the electrical emergency 

• Equipment used for electrical emergencies 

• Pulling an electrical meter 

• Cutting the drip loop 

• Responding to an emergency involving electricity 

• Moving an energized wire 

• Handling victims who are in contact with electricity 

• Static elect, icity 


The most perplexing situation rescuers can en- 
counter is a victim trapped by an energized wire. 
Most rescuers have a basic knowledge of electricity 
but do not possess the expertise to handle energized 
wires. Power company personnel are the experts in 
handling energized wires and must be used as a 
resource by the incident commander. When an elec- 
trical emergency occurs, the incident commander 
should develop a defensive plan of action, request 
assistance from the power company, reassure the 
victim, and wait for the power company's assistance. 

Unfortunately, there are life-threatening situations 
in which the incident commander cannot wait for 
the power company and must intervene. It is not 
the intent of this text to make the rescuer an expert; 
its intent is only to show the safest techniques to 
use in life-threatening situations involving energized 
wires. These technique" must be practiced by res- 
cuers, and a working relationship must be established 
between each department and the local power com- 
pany. Power company personnel can assist in the 
development of standard operating procedures to 
deal with electrical accidents involving life-thieat- 
enir.g situations. 


Electricity can be compared to water flow at the 
scene of a fire. Just as the fire engine serves as a 
pump for water, an electric generating plant serves 
as the pump for electricity (see Figure 23). At a fire 

Figure 23. Generating Plant 

scene, moving water is measured by how it moves 
in gallons per minute, while at an electric generating 
plant electricity is measured in volts. 

From the generating plants, the electricity is passed 
through a series of wires and devices, just as in the 
pumper water flows through hoses of various sizes 
and different types of appliances. Electric plants 
produce electrical energy at very high voltages. The 
main distributing lines from the electric generating 
plant may carry up to 76o,000 volts of electricity 
(see Figure 24). Electricity is distributed to various 
substations in local areas (see Figure 25) where it 
is divided into a lower voltage (approximately 15,000 
volts) for further distribution. 

The % electricity then passes through transmission 
lines along local highways. Electric companies follow 
strict guidelines in the placement of electric lines 
on the poles. The rescuer should have a basic un- 




Figure 24. Main Distribution Line 

Figure 25. Electric Substation 

derstanding of the placement of these lines. The 
highest lines are the primary lines (see Figure 26). 
The second highest lines are the secondary lines, 
and the lowest lines are the utility lines (TV cable 
and telephone). 


Figure 26. Primary Lines on Top 

On some poles, a step-down transformer is located 
between the primary and secondary lines (see Figure 
27). The purpose of the step-down transformer is to 
reduce the voltage to a usable 220 to 440 volts. This 
transformer may eigh as much as 1,000 pounds. 

Figure 27. Step-Down Transformer 




Use extreme caution when working around step- 
down transformers. Some of them contain a coolant 
called polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB. The trans- 
formers should be labeled as such and treated as a 
hazardous material If the transformer is found to 
be leaking, notify a hazardous materials team to 
handle the situation* 

From the pole, service lines run to a structure. A 
drip loop is formed as the service line wire enters 
the structure at the weatherhead (see Figure 28). In 
some residences, the service lines are buried under- 
ground (see Figure 29). 

The service lines pass through a meter, which is 
not a switch but a measuring device. The meter 
should be in plain sight and located at the entrance 
of the service lines (see Figure 30). 

From the meter, electricity is then carried to the 
fuse box or a circuit breaker box (see Figure 31). 
At this point, the electricity is divided into smaller 
circuits and distributed to different sections of a 
structure. A main disconnect switch is on the outside 
of the box. A main disconnect is also found at the 
electric meter, or if the meter is more than 5' from 
the box, there is a separate main disconnect switch. 

The small circuits then pass through switches to 
receptacles or fixtures. Receptacles come in various 
styles. The two most common types are the grounded 
and non-grounded types. The non-grounded type is 
seldom used and does not meet most fire codes. 
Larger receptacles are used for 220-volt circuits, and 
are commonly found on machinery, stoves, clothes 
dryers, etc. (see Figure 32). 

Electricity is used for hundreds of applications in 
homes and businesses. In its controlled form, elec- 
tricity is a necessary fact of life and used by nearly 

Figure 28. Drip Loop 

Figure 29. Buried Service 

Figure 30. Meter in Weather Enclosure 


Assessing the Electrical Emergency 

The rescuer must develop a respect for electric- 
ity — it can be of great service at the rescue scene. 
Electricity provides lighting and power for electri- 
cally-driven equipment, and is of great assistance in 
the rescue procedure. 

When electricity is out of control it can be a killer, 
The rescuer must consider all wires as energized and 
dangerous, and secure all areas where electric wires 
are involved. 

The rescuer who is conducting search, tunneling, 
or debris removal procedures must keep in mind 
that electrical hazards can be present. Downed wires 
can cause conduction through guardrails, fences, and 
wires not otherwise energized. The rescuer should 
proceed through debris with caution and with the 
backs of the hands turned forward. If the rescuer 
comes in contact with a live wire, the muscle con- 
tractions will pull away from the electricity. If the 
wire comes in contact with the palms of the hands, 
musck contractions will cause the rescuer to grab 
the wire and be unable to remove the hands. 

During all rescue operations involving electricity, 
secure the scene and establish a danger zone. In all 
nonlife-threatening situations, cut off the power at 
the fuse or circuit breaker box. Turn off the main 
switch to disconnect the power. If the main switch 
is not accessible, pull out the main buss fuses located 
at the top of the box or switch them to the off 
position. If the circuit breaker boxes are inaccessible, 
notify the power company as soon as possible. 

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, it 
may be necessary to use dangerous techniques to 
disconnect the power. These procedures should be 
used only for life-threatening situations when power 
company personnel are not available, or their re- 
sponse time is too long to be lifesaving, 

These attempts should be made only by rescuers 
skilled in such techniques and with the equipment 
available to handle the situation. 

Equipment Used for Electrical 

The rope-weight tool is made of 100' of 1/4" or 
3/8" polypropylene rope with 4" x 4" x 4" dry wood 
weights attached to each end through a hole in the 
center of the block. As the rope is brought through 
the hole, it forms a loop so it can be grabbed with 
a hot-stick or pike pole (see Figure 33), Polypro- 
pylene rope is used because it is nonconductive. Keep 




Figure 33. Rope-Weight Tool 

Figure 34, Hot-Stick 

the rope clean and dry, and do not use it for any 
other procedure. 

A hot-stick is a specially designed nonconductive 
tools used to move energized wires. The tool should 
be insulated and have the capacity to extend to 18' 
(see Figure 34). This tool allows the rescuer to work 
at a distance and not get too close to the wire. Some 
hot-sticks are made with a wire cutter at the tip 
and have an insulated handle to protect the user. 

The wire-handling kit is a commercially-available 
kit containing a 16' telescoping pole with a pruning 
tool, a shepherd hook, and a plier attachment. A 3' 
rubber mat, lineperson's gloves, a gripping tool, and 
a wire cutter are also included. 

Lineperson's gloves are elbow-length rubber gloves 
with leather protectors. Carry these gloves in a pouch 
and keep them in a protected area on the rescue 

Keep equipment used for electrical emergencies 
clean and dry at all times. Test the equipment 

regularly to ensure its reliability. Any small pin hole 
in the gloves or the slightest damage to the tools 
could prove disastrous to the rescuer. The power 
company may provide testing for electrical equip- 
ment upon request. 

Wearing Protective Clothing 

Using regular fire fighter's boots and protective 
clothing is not recommended for handling electrical 
emergencies. Fire boots are not the same as those 
used by the electric lineperson. Even though fire 
fighter's clothing is not enough protection, a rescuer 
should be in full protective clothing when handling 
any type of an electrical emergency. In addition to 
full protective clothing, stand on a dry rubber mat 
during the rescue operation. 

Pulling an Electrical Meter 

In a life-threatening situation where the fuse box 






or circuit breakers are inaccessible, remove the elec- 
trical current by pulling the meter. This procedure 
must be aj proved by the incident commander and 
must be a standard operating procedure for the 
specific situation. Remember, when attempting any 
rescue procedure involving electricity, wear full pro- 
tective clothing. Face shields must be down in place 
and the rescuer must be turned away from the 
electric wires when cutting or moving their 

The first step in pulling the meter is to remove 
the seal on the meter box. It is either a metal or 
plastic tab (see Figure 35). Simply cutting the tab 
will remove it. Then remove the outer cover from 
the box. 



Figure 35. Meter Box Seal 

Some meters are fastened to the box with bolts 
and cannot be pulled; however, most meters are 
usually held in place with a retaining ring. This ring 
is held in place with a screw or lift tab. To remove 
the lift tab, raise it and remove the ring by twisting. 
For the screw, carefully cut the screw with a pair 
of diagonal cutting pliers or a bolt cutter. 

Once the ring is removed, the meter can be com- 
pletely removed. Keep all unnecessary personnel avvay 
from the area. Turn away from the meter and quickly 
and forcibly push the meter down to remo the 
top tab. The top tab is attached to the service line. 
Once the tab is loose, remove the meter by continuing 
to pull the meter down and out of the bottom tabs. 

Remember that there is still electricity in the 
meter box at the top tabs. Position a rescuer at the 
box to keep people away and prevent an accidental 

If the meter is humming and the meter wheel is 
turning very rapidly, there is a serious problem. 
Avoid a meter in this situation and do not attempt 


to pull the meter. Any attempt at pulling the meter 
can result in an explosion of the meter and injury 
to the rescuer. 

Cutting the Drip Loop 

An emergency method for disconnecting residen- 
tial electricity is to cut the drip loop. Again, do this 
procedure only in life-threatening situations and never 
for commercial services. When cutting the drip loop, 
follow tnese suggested precautions: (1) wear full pro- 
tective clothing; (2) cut only one wire at a time; and 
(3) cut the wire from the attachment to the structure 
and the weatherhead. If the service lines are cut 
before the building lines, energized lines fall to the 
ground, endangering the entire rescue operation. 

Usually, three wires will be found entering the 
structure. Use only approved line cutters to make 
the cuts. Cut the top wire first, then the bottom 
line. Bend both wires away from the residence. The 
center wire, or the bare wire, is usually the neutral 
wire. Cut the neutral wire last and bend it toward 
the residence. 


Responding to an Emergency Involving 

When approaching an accident scene, the incident 
commander of the first responding unit should at- 
tempt to identify any potential hazards. If an elec- 
trical line is downed or damaged, the incident 
commander should establish a hazard zone and com- 
municate this to all responding units. 

The hazard zone is the distance to the two ad- 
joining utility poles on both sides of the accident. 
This zone should be secured and no persons should 
be permitted inside. This area must be secured as 
the hazard zona because an energized line can move 
in a circular radius equal to the distance between 
the two poles. 

Once the hazard zone has been identified and 
secured, contact the power company to disconnect 
the power completely. 

Responding to a Motor Vehicle Accident 
Involving Electricity 

When a motor vehicle is in an accident that in- 
volves a downed electrical wire, the occupants of the 
vehicle may be protected by the rubber tires. Tell 




the iccupants to remain calm and to stay in the 
vehicie. If an occupant attempts to leave the vehicle 
and comes in contact with any metal on the vehicle 
and the ground simultaneously, electrical shock is 

If the occupant panics and attempts to get out of 
the vehicle, the rescuer may have to assist. Direct 
the occupant to open the door as wide as possible, 
stand with both feet on the rocker panels, and jump 
as far as possible awuy from the vehicle, keeping 
the arms at the side of the body. 

If the occupant's injuries are life-threatening, at- 
tempt to remove the wire; however, only experienced 
personnel should attempt this type of rescue. Main- 
tain the hazard zone until all electrical wires are 
controlled. All rescue personnel must be in full 
protective clothing, wearing lineperson's gloves and 
protectors to perform any of these rescue procedures. 

Moving an Energized Wire 

To move an electrical wire, approach the wire from 
each side. The person with the rope-weight tool 
should approach from the side opposite to where 
the wire is to be moved. Find the center of the rope 
and throw one weight under the wire. This will 
allow the rope to be pulled back if it is necessary 
to rethrow it. Then throw the other end over the 
wire. The rescuer on the other side should pick up 
the weights with the hot-stick and pull the rope and 
the wire out of the way. It may be necessary to use 
two rope-weight tools, one from each side of the 
electrical wire, to manipulate the wire to the desired 
location. Once the wire is removed, stabilize the wire 
and assign a person to watch the wire and keep 
people at a safe distance until the wire is under 

Removing a Victim From Contact With a 

When a person is found in contact with an en- 
ergized wire, make every attempt to de-energize the 
power source. If this is not possible, and the wire 
is not wrapped around the victim, remove the wire 
by using the hot-stick to push or pull the wire from 
the victim. 

If a hot-stick is unavailable, use the rope-weight 
tool to ioop around some part of the victim's body 
to drag the victim from the wire. Use extreme caution 
when moving a victim so as to not cause further 
body injury or pull the wire toward rescue personnel. 

Removing a Victim from a Utility Pole 

Call a rescue unit to remove an injured or ill 
lineperson from the top of a pole. The victim may 
have been injured on the pole or suffered an electrical 
shock, or may be experiencing a medical problem, 
such as a heart attack or diabetic reaction. 

Upon arrival, establish and maintain a hazard 
zone. Then determine if the lines on the poles are 
electric lines. Many poles contain only utility lines 
such as TV cable and telephone lines, and do not 
present the threat of electric shock to the rescuer. 
If the pole does not contain electric lines, proceed 
with the rescue. If electric lines are connected to 
the pole, de-energize all wires before attempting any 
rescue. If the power company is on the scene, let 
the power company personnel de-energize the lines. 
If the power company representatives are not on the 
scene, notify the company. At no time should un- 
trained personnel attempt to de-energize wires. Once 
the power is cut off, the power company must main- 
tain these lines until the rescue is completed to 
assure that there is no accidental energization of the 

Most rescue personnel are not trained in the use 
of climbing gear. If the pole is accessible, the victim 
can be removed using an aerial apparatus. If an 
aerial is unavailable or inaccessible* raise a ground 
ladder above the victim. Climb the ladder and assess 
the victim. Place a lifeline and single pulley above 
the victim. If a body harness is available, attach it 
to the victim with the running end of the lifeline 
attached with a bowline. 

If a body harness is unavailable, use a line rescue 
harness. Tie the harness by passing the running end 
of the lifeline through the victim's legs from back 
to front and around one leg (see Figure 36). Then 
bring the rope back under the standing part around 
the other leg (see Figure 37). Bring the end between 
the legs from front to back and tie it to the standing 
rope with a bowline and safety (see Figure 38). Next, 
place a half hitch in the standing rope, throw it over 
the victim's head and place it under the arms. Place 
a bight in the standing rope under the half hitch 
(see Figure 39). Next, place a bight in the standing 
part and pass it through the first bight. Pass the 
running end through the second bight and draw it 
tight (see Figure 40). Place a "safety knot" at this 
point. Finally, attach a guy line to the victim. 

Raise the victim and remove the victim's lifebelt 
and climbing equipment. The victim can now be 






lowered to the ground using the guy line to keep 
the victim away from the pole. 

Handling Static Electricity 

Another form of electricity is static electricity 
formed by the friction of rubbing two different sub- 
tances together. It may be impossible to prevent 
tic electricity from forming but the rescuer must 
\ware of it. 

i itic electricity and sparks caused by friction can 
serv as ignition sources at rescue scenes. In the 
prest ce of flammable liquids, a spark can be 
disast jus. 

When performing a rescue operation in the pres- 
ence of a flammable liquid, ground the vehicle and/ 
or container. To do this, drive a grounding rod into 
the ground approximately 10' from the vehicle. At- 
tach a cable to the rod and then to the vehicle with 
a grounding clamp. Form a simple grounding clamp 
by welding a bolt to a pair of vice grips and attaching 
a wing nut (see Figure 41). 

voltages can be conducted through water. If fire 
streams are used in the rescue operation, they should 
be used in fog streams. Never aim a straight stream 
at energized wires or equipment. 


Handle rescue operations involving electricity with 
extreme caution. Be aware of local protocol in all 
rescue operations and electrical emergencies. The 
simplest electrical rescue procedure is to wait for 
assistance from the electric company when possible. 

In life-threatening situations, a rescue attempt or 
an attempt by rescuers to de-energize the power may 
be necessary. These procedures should be attempted 
with extreme caution by trained personnel using safe 
equipment. If these specifications are not available, 
the only alternative is to wait for the electric company. 

Figure 41. Grounding Clamp 

Any time a metal ladder or piece of equipment is 
used in the rescue operation, it must be grounded 
to the tank containing the flammable liquid, also 
with grounding cables. Have various lengths of 
grounding cables with spring clamps on both ends 
readily available for such use. 


Remember that water is a conductor of electricity. 
Keep this in mind during a rescue operation at the 
scene of a fire or during a rain storm. 

Always avoid standing in puddles of water. High 







* Oxygen and acetylene cylinders 

* Safe handling of the cylinders 

* Principles of attaching the cylinders to the tanks 

* Principles of operating the pressure regulators 

* Cutting with the torch 

* Safety concerns 

* Exothermic cutting unit 

* Safe operating procedures for exothermic cutting 

* Cutting with the exothermic unit 

* Precautions when using the exothermic cutting unit 


On many occasions, rescue personnel are called in 
to extricate victims trapped by metal. Though it has 
been used primarily for cutting metal in industrial 
applications, the oxy-acetylene cutting torch can be 
used in rescue operations. Due to the fire hazard 
and the potential of further harming a victim, 
it is important for any rescuer using a torch 
to be familiar with its correct use and its 
limitations, and to know how to properly care 
for it Safety must be stressed to protect the 
rescue personnel as well as the victim. 

The oxyacetylene cutting torch can be used for 
cutting steel, wrought iron, and other ferrous metals. 
The equipment used must be portable and of a type 

Figure 42. The Basic System 

will act efficiently and economically. Manufacturing 
companies will offer assistance in the selection of 
proper equipment. They will also supply the repair 
parts and check the equipment when necessary. Only 
trained technicians should repair this equipment. 
Follow equipment manufacturer's instructions when 
using the pressure regulators and the welding and 
cutting torches. 

The cutting torch unit includes the following: two 
separate cylinders, one oxygen and one acetylene; 
two 25', 1/4" hoses; two pressure-reducing regulators; 
a cutting torch with a 90° head (see Figure 42); a 
friction lighter; a five-way wrench; a tip cleaner; one 
pair of leather gloves; and goggles. 


The Oxygen Cylinder 

Commercial oxygen used for the cutting torch is 
stored in steel cylinders. The manufacture of all 
commercial oxygen cylinders is controlled by the 
United States Department of Transportation. The 
cylinders are made of seamless steel with a frangible 
(bursting) disk in the valve at the top. This disk 
allows the gas to escape at a safe rate if the cylinder 
is subjected to a dangerously high temperature. Ox- 
ygen gas is pumped into the steel cylinders to a 
pressure of about 1800-2200 pounds to the square 
inch. Cylinders are made in various sizes, the two 




most common having capacities of 110 and 220 cubic 
feet of gas. 

The shut-off valves, mounted on the tops of the 
cylinders are of special design because of the ex- 
tremely high pressure to which they are subjected. 
The valve stem has a right-hand thread, and when 
opened should be turned as far as possible. This 
prevents leakage by causing the valve to seat in the 
top of the valve body. Some manufacturers of weld- 
ing regulators provide a small storage space for extra 
valve seats in the center of the cross bars. 

Commercial oxygen is usually obtained from air, 
It \ r odorless, harmless to breathe, and non-flam- 
mable; however, it should never be used as a sub- 
stitute for air. Oxygen supports and vigorously 
accelerates the burning of combustible materials; 
therefore, it is important to keep oil, grease, and 
other combustible materials away from the oxygen 
and oxygen equipment. 

The Acetylene Cylinder 

Acetylene gas is stored in special cylinders. The 
manufacture of these cylinders is controlled by the 
United States Department of Transportation. Unlike 
oxygen cylinders, which have no liquid or solid ma- 
terial inside, acetylene cylinders are filled with a 
porous material that is saturated with a liquid sol- 
vent called acetone, 

Acetone has the ability to dissolve acetylene gas 
under pressure. The result is that when 220 cubic 
feet of acetylene are pumped into a cylinder of 
approximately the same size as the one used for 
oxygen, the pressure is 250 pounds to the square 
inch. This greatly increases the need for safe hand- 
ling when transporting compressed acetylene. The 
acetone remains in the cylinder as the acetylene is 
allowed to escape during welding or cutting, and is 
used repeatedly with practically no loss. Fusible plugs 
in both the bottom and the top of each cylinder 
provide an additional safety factor. 

Acetylene cylinder valves are not subjected to as 
much pressure as oxygen valves. The packing used 
in the valves is ample to prevent leakage, The valve 
stem has right-handed threads and should be opened 
only one and one-half turns to allow for rapid shut- 
off in case of an emergency. The valves are turned 
on with a T-wrench or hand wheel (see Figure 43). 
The T-wrench must be left on the valve until the 
cutting operation is concluded. 


Figure 411 T- Wrench 

Handling of Cylinders 

Use only cylinders that bear Interstate Commerce 
Commission (ICC) or United States Department of 
Transportation (DOT) markings and that are clearly 
labeled Oxygen, Acetylene, or Propane. If a cylinder 
is not clearly labeled, return it unused to the sup- 
plier. It is illegal to tamper with cylinder markings 
or stampings, The following guidelines must be 

• Always handle cylinders in an upright 
and secured position. 

• Never lay an acetylene cylinder on its 

• Never lay a liquid oxygen cylinder on its 

• Never use any cylinder, full or empty, as 
a roller or support. 

Before moving or storing any cylinders, close the 
cylinder valves, remove the pressure-reducing reg- 
ulators, and screw on the protective caps, When 
lifting single cylinders, never lift by the protective 
cap alone. Never use slings or electromagnets for 
lifting cylinders. Use hand trucks or racks for moving 

Never handle oxygen cylinders on the same plat- 
form with oil, or place them in a position where oil 
or grease from overhead cranes or belts is likely to 


Attaching Cylinders to Tanks 

Before attaching a fresh cylinder of gas to the 
cutting outfit, open the valve of each cylinder one- 
quarter turn and shut off immediately. This allows 
a small amount of gas to escape from the cylinder. 
The escaping gas blows out any dust particles that 





may have lodged in the valves during shipment This 
is called "cracking" the valve (see Figure 44). During 
this procedure, oxygen will not burn but acetylene 
will Be sure there is no open flame nearby when 
the acetylene valve is opened. All fittings must be 
perfectly clean before being attached to a cylinder. 
Be sure all regulators are in the "off" or "loose" 
position before turning the gas on at the cylinder. 

Figure 44. Cracking a Cylinder Valve 

When turning the gas off at the cylinder, make 
certain the valves are completely closed. Then, open 
the two torch valve3 to "bleed off 1 any gas remaining 
in the hose. The pressure regulators will read zero. 

Attaching and Operating Pressure 

The rubber hoses from the torch fasten to two 
pressure regulators, one regulating the pressure of 
the acetylene gas in the acetylene hose, and one 
regulating the pressure of the oxygen gas in the 
oxygen hose. It is necessary to keep the pressures 
of the two welding gases constant at all time*,. Re- 
member, the pressure of gases in the cylinders de- 
creases constantly while the torch is in use (see 
Figure 45). 

Turn the crossbar or handle of either pressure 
regulator to obtain the desired operating pressure. 


Figure 45. Pressure-reducing Regulator 

Both oxygen and acetylene regulators have a crossbar 
with right-handed threads. The usual pressure ratio 
is five pounds of acetylene to thirty pounds of ox- 
ygen. The pressure is shown on the pressure gauge 
of the regulator. To increase the operating pressure, 
turn the crossbar clockwise. 

Pressure regulators connect directly to the oxygen 
and acetylene cylinders; a second pressure gauge is 
located on each regulator to indicate the gas pres- 
sures within the cylinders. 

If a torch acts up, it is quite possible that the 
regulators are at fault. Routinely following two pro- 
cedures will prolong the life of regulators. First, 
always screw the crossbars out until they are loose 
before opening the cylinder valves located on the 
tops of the oxygen and acetylene cylinders. This 
prevents the suddenly released pressure from ov- 
erloading and damaging the delicate valve mecha- 
nism inside the regulator. Second, never use oii or 
grease near a gas-welding outfit, or on any of the 
parts of the apparatus itself. Oxygen under pressure 
will occasionally cause oil to ignite if conditions are 
right. Oxygen alone does not burn, but it does ac- 
celerate the burning of combustible materials. 

Connecting Gas Supplies tc the Torches 

Use only hose and connections specifically made 
for oxygen-fuel welding and cutting. Oxygen hoses 
are usually green, and acetylene hoses are red or 
black, Never interchange them, All connections must 
be made dry. Do not use pipe-fitting compounds, 
thread lubricants, oil, or grease. The connections to 
the regulator and torch must be made wrench -tight 
(not merely hand-tight) to ensure a leak-free con- 
nection (see Figure 46). The oxygen hoses use right- 


Figure 46. Hose Connections 

handed thread connections and the acetylene hoses 
use left-handed, grooved thread connections (see Fig- 
ure 47). 





green Oxygen hose 




Figure 47. Hoses Used for the Cutting Torch 

Assembling the Cutting Torch and Hose 

The cutting torch consists of a handle and a torch 
body. To one end, any one of the various cutting 
tips, which range in size from 0 to 8, can be attached 
(see Figure 48). On the opposite end are two valves 
that control the rate of flow of oxygen gas and 
acetylene gas into the torch. The rubber hoses sup- 
plying the two gases are attached to these valves. 

Always use an open-end wrench to tighten torch 
parts and hose connections; never use pliers. It is 
important to keep the packing nuts fairly tight on 
the torch valves so that the valve setting does not 
change while the torch is in use. Valves that turn 
easily can accidentally be thrown out of adjustment 
when they brush against something. 

Cutting with the Torch 

All types of cutting torches operate on tha same 
principle and are provided with tips of various sizes 
for cutting metals of different thickneuses. 

In contrast to the welding tech, whic i has a imigle 
orifice at the tip, the cutting torch rive or more 
orifices. The center orifice 's surrounded by four or 

more orifices for the oxyacetylene preheating flames. 
The preheating flames are adjusted independently 
of the oxygen-cutting valve and, once adjusted, keep 
burning steadily, regardless of whether the oxygen- 
cutting valve is open or closed. 

The oxygen cutting torch can successfully be used 
on any kind of steel or wrought iron, but not on 
cast iron, which is more difficult to cut. 

First, select a cutting tip of suitable size for the 
thickness of metal to be cut. A No. 66 drill is suitable 
for cutting steel 1/4" thick; use a No. 52 drill to cut 
steel 1" thick, and a No. 48 drill to cut steel 3" 
thick. The larger the wire gauge drill-size number, 
the smaller the orifice used. 

It is important to keep the orifice clean and round. 
Use tip cleaners of the correct size to clean the 
orifice. Slag sticking to the end of the tip can be 
loosened with a pocket knife without damaging the 

Check the torch, valves, and connections for leaks 
before lighting the torch. Do this by applying a soap 
solution and watching for air bubbles. Once the 
apparatus has been tested for leaks, adjust the acet- 
ylene hose pressure for cutting. 

The oxygen operating pressure required depends 
upon the tip used and the thickness of the r .eel 
being cut. It will vary from 10 to 150 pounds. Charts 
supplied with torches indicate oxygen and acetylene 
pressure to be used for each tip and to cut each 
thickness of metal. Pressures vary with different 

Open the oxygen valve on the torch body far 
enough to give full oxygen pressure through the torch 
for cutting; the torch is now ready to light. Always 
use a friction lighter to light a cutting torch. Do not 
use a match or a cigarette lighter (see Figure 49). 

d/tt/ng Oxygen Valve- — 

Cutting Oxygen 

Mixed gases^ 
for Preheat 

Figure 48. The Cutting Torch 


13 Oxygen 

B Acetylene 

H Mixed Gases 





Figure 49. Friction Lighter 

Next, adjust the preheating flames to neutral and 
try the cutting valve to see that full oxygen pressure 
is feeding through to the oxygen orifice in the tip. 
If the flames do not burn properly, shut the unit 
off and reclean the tip (see Figure 50). 

Figure 50. Tip Cleaner 

With the luminous preheating cones of the cutting 
tip just touching the steel to be cut, heat the edge 
or other point where the cut is to begin. Be sure to 
have the torch well-supported and pointed at the 
work. When the steel begins to melt, begin to cut 
by slowly pressing down on the cutting oxygen-valve 

During the cut, keep the tip of the torch at a 
conb^ant distance from the work. This will va.y from 
1/16" to 3/16" depending on the thickness of the 
metal. Do not change this gap as the torch is moved 
along the cutting \v . Keep the bottom of the kerf 
or cut a little ahead of the top. 

It is important to move the torch at a uniform 
speed, and at a speed slow enough to allow the 
oxygen to cut all the way through the metal. When 
turning off the gas at the cutting torch, turn 
off the acetylene cylinder first* 

Backfires and Flashbacks 

Improper operation of the torch may cause the 

flame to go out with a loud snap or pop, which is 
called a backfire. Investigate any such occurrence to 
determine the cause before relighting the torch. A 
backfire may be caused by touching the tip against 
the work, by overheating the tip, by a loose tip or 
head, or by dirt on the seat. Also, incorrect gas 
pressure can cause a backfire. Always use gas pres- 
sures recommended by the manufacturer. A flame 
that has backfired can be relighted at once provided 
there are no serious problems. 

A flashback occurs wheii the flame burns back 
inside the torch, usually with a shrill hissing or 
squealing. If this happens, close the torch oxygen 
valve immediately, then close the fuel-gas valve. 
Closing the torch oxygen valve, which controls the 
flame, stops the flashback at once. Then, close the 
fuel-gas valve and tllow the torch to cool before 
relighting. Also, blow oxygen through the tip for a 
few second to clear out any soot that may have 

When using a cutting torch, blow oxygen through 
the preheating and cutting orifices before relighting. 
Remember, when a flashback occurs, it indicates 
that something is radically wrong either with the 
torch or with the way it is being operated. 

Protective Gear 

Always wear the goggles supplied by the manu- 
facturer when using cutting torches. The goggles 
must fit snugly so they will not slip when being 
worn (see Figure 51). 

Figure 51. Protective Goggles 

Guidelines for Handling Oxy-Acetyiene 

1. Do not compress acetylene or use it in <x free 
state at pressures higher that 15 psi. 



2. Use no oil on the cutting equipment or the 

3. Crack the cylinder valves before attaching the 
pressure regulators. 

4. Release the adjusting screws on both regula- 
tors before opening the cylinder valves. 

5. Stand to the side of the regulator when open- 
ing the cylinder valves. 

6. Open the cylinder valves slowly. 

7. Purge oxygen and acetylene gas hoses indi- 
vidually so oxygen and acetylene are not mixed 
in the hose lines before lighting the torch. 

8. Light fuel-gas before opening oxygen valve on 

9. Do not use oxygen as a substitute for air. 

10. Take caution to protect hose from being cut 
by glass, sharp metal, or hot, molten metal. 

11. Always wear proper protective clothing, 

12. Check the pressure of tanks, and the operation 
of the pressure regulators and the torch 

13. Read and follow manufacturer's instructions 
at all times. 

Using a Torch to Extricate a Victim 

Upon arrival at the scene, check the area for spilled 
fuels or gas fumes. No smoking can be permitted at 
the scene. Exercise care when using flares. 

During the extrication of victims, the fire de- 
partment must stand by with a charged hose line 
in case of fire. Also have dry chemical or carbon 
dioxide extinguishers ready for use. If it is necessary 
to cut metal near the victim, cover the victim with 
a fire-resistant or wet blanket. Rescuers must be 
continually aware of the potential fire hazards. 


A relatively new tool to use in place of the oxy- 
acetylene cutting torch is the exothermic cutting 
unit. Unlike other cutting equipment, the exothermic 
cutting system can cut, burn, melt, or vaporize a 
metallic, nonmetallic, or composite material. 

In exothermic cutting, oxygen and a high-carbon 
steel rod are ignited to produce temperatures in 
excess of 10,000°F. The oxygen is delivered in a 
controlled amount through hollow coils in the center 
of the carbon steel rod (see Figure 52). The com- 
bination of the correct amount of oxygen with the 
carbon steel and an electrical spark causes the carbon 

Figure 52. Exothermic Torch 

rod to ignite and burn at the high temperatures 
needed for the exothermic cutting process. 

The exothermic cutting unit, commonly called a 
slice torch, is available as a portable unit. It includes 
an oxygen cylinder with an oxygen regulator, a 12- 
volt battery, a striker assembly, a pistol grip with 
a heat shield, an oxygen control handle for attaching 
the rods, extra rods, and a carrying case. 

Exothermic cutting has the advantage over oxy- 
acetylene cutting of being able to cut a wider range 
of materials, i.e., stainless steel, concrete, or glass. 
An exothermic cutting unit also cuts faster than a 
small portable oxyacetylene unit, especially when 
thicker materials are involved. In exothermic cutting, 
rescuers do not have to contend with the unstable 
flammable gas, acetylene. A major advantage of ex- 
othermic cutting is that using it takes less experience 
and skill than using an oxyacetylene unit. This is 
important in the rescue service, since personnel do 





not use cutting torches daily. Thus, rescuers can 
learn to use the slice torch more quickly, There is 
less technical information (such as gauge settings) 
to remember. 

Exothermic cutting does produce a larger amount 
of sparks, and often pools of molten metal. This 
situation can be controlled by applying a spray of 
water directly on the torch. This cannot be done 
when using the oxyacetylene torch. 

As with any cutting tool, there are inherent haz- 
ards in using the slice torch. Combining oxygen and 
the carbon rod produces a very high temperature. 
Rescuers must be familiar with the operator's manual 
and be aware of all the warnings and necessary 
precautions. Rescuers should also be familiar with 
all the parts and their assembly and use. It is im- 
portant that the user have actual hands-on training 
and some experience before using exothermic equip- 
ment. The major safety hazard in using the equip- 
ment is lack of hands-on experience. 

Safe Operating Procedures for 
Exothermic Cutting 

In using the slice torch, the following safety pro- 
cedures must be followed. 

1. Never permit oil or grease to come in contact 
with oxygen cylinders, valves, regulators, the 
hose, or fittings. Do not handle oxygen cyl- 
inders, valves, or regulators with oily hands 
or oily gloves, since oxygen under pressure 
combines with oil and grease with explosive 

2. Never use oxygen near flammable materials, 
especially grease, oil, or any substance likely 
to cause or accelerate fire. Oxygen itself is not 
flammable, but does support and accelerate 

3. Do not store oxygen and flammable gas cyl- 
inders together. They must be stored sepa- 
rately and in a defined storage area that is 
dry, cool, well-ventilated, and fire-resistant. 
Keep cylinders protected from an excessive 
rise in temperature by storing them away from 
sources of heat, including direct sunlight. Cyl- 
inders must be stored in an upright position. 

4. Always refer to oxygen as "oxygen" and not 
as "air". 

5. Never use oxygen from cylinders or a piping 
system unless a suitable regulator is attached 
to the cylinder valve. 

6. Never tamper with or attempt to repair oxygen 
cylinder valves or regulators. 

7. Nev°r use oxygen regulators, hoses, or other 
pieces of apparatus with any gases other than 
those for which they were intended. 

8. Open the oxygen cylinder valve slowly, and 
then fully when in use. 

9. Never enrich the atmosphere or closed areas 
with oxygen. 

10. Never use oxygen to cool the work or the 

11. Do not let the arc or cutting flame come into 
contact ■ ith cylinders, cylinder safety devices, 
valves, regulators, or hoses. Fire or explosion 
could result from accidental flame contact with 
such items. 

12. Inspect the oxygen regulator for evidence of 
damage or contamination. If theie is evidence 
of physical damage or foreign material inside 
the regulator, return it to the manufacturer 
for repair. 

Do not attempt field repairs or mod- 
ifications of any oxygen regulator. 

18. Do not cut in combustible, flammable, or ex- 
plosive atmospheres. 

14. Always wear full protective fire-fighting equip- 
ment, including dry gloves and a hood, and 
eye protection with side shields. All rescuers 
assisting in procedures must wear complete 
protective equipment, including eye protection. 

15. Protect the victim during the cutting with a 
noncombustible covering of some kind, (a 
screen and blanket). 

16. Ventilate the area; the fumes and gases pro- 
duced while using a cutting torch can he haz- 
ardous to the health. Do not breathe the gases 
and fumes. 

17. Always have charged hose lines in place. Also 
have portable dry powder extinguishers nearby. 

18. Never cut any container that has held 
a flammable material; this could cause 
a violent explosion. 

19. Use special caution when cutting in a confined 

Special Precautions 

The exothermic unit is usually used around heavy 
equipment, such as mining, construction, or farm 
equipment. This equipment is so heavily constructed 
that it resists bending and distortion by hydraulic 
and air rescue equipment. It must be cut. Never cut 



into any pressurized tanks or cylinders, such as the 
hydraulic cylinders often found on heavy equipment. 

The torch is often used to cut steel beams, con- 
crete, and re-bar in a building-collapse rescue op- 
eration. Be sure to know what the object being cut 
will do after the cut is completed. Have control of 
all pieces. Remember, dealing with objects of tre- 
mendous weight and possible unseen stresses and 
pressures presents a unique situation. 

Never cut into any tank or cylinder that contains 
or has contained a flammable substance. Never use 
the torch in a flammable or explosive atmosphere. 
Always have a charged hose-line in position, as well 
as fire extinguishers. A spray of water can be directed 
on the cutting rod while cutting in emergency sit- 
uations; however, this creates steam, making visi- 
bility poor. 

Operators should always wear proper eye protec- 
tion. Remember to provide adequate protection to 
any victim. Cutting creates a large amount of sparks 
and molten metal. 

Cutting With the Exothermic Cutting Unit 

The following step-by-step procedure is used to 
sot up and operate the exothermic cutting torch. 
Always follow the guidelines from the operator's 
manual provided by the manufacturer for the specific 
type of equipment used. 

Preparing the Unit for Cutting 

L Remove the torch handle from the carrying case 
and loosen but DO NOT REMOVE the collet- 
nut assembly. 

2. Insert the cutting rod into the hole in the collet- 
nut assembly. Make sure the rod is firmly seated 
against the washer inside the torch. This may 
require tapping the rod against a hard surface. 

3. Remove the striker plate and cable from the 
case and prepare to use. 

4. Turn the oxygen regulator on slowly; when the 
high-pressure gauge indicates maximum pres- 
sure, open the cylinder valve fully. 

5. With the torch valve closed, adjust the pressure 
regulator to approximately 80 psi. The torch is 
now ready for lighting. 

Lighting the Torch 

1. First, check to see if oxygen is flowing through 
the rod by squeezing the handle completely 
closed for approximately two seconds. If flow 

is not obvious from the end of the rod or if 
flow is detected around the collet nut, remove 
the rod and replace it. 

2. Hold the striker in one hand and the torch in 

3. Start the oxygen flow by squeezing the oxygen 
lever on the handle. (Squeeze handle fully.) 

4. Place the rod against the exposed serrated metal 
on the striker at a 45° angle, and rock it back 
and forth. 

5. When the rod ignites, immediately remove the 
rod from the striker. (Failure to do so results 
in the striker being cut.) 

Rods often go out after the initial lighting. If this 
happens, repeat the above steps. If the rod goes out 
repeatedly, use another rod. CAUTION: The rod 
end may be hot. Also, a rod can ignite on any hot 
surface. To extinguish the rod, simply stop 
oxygen flow by releasing the oxygen lever. 

Cutting With the Torch Unit 

CAUTION: The intense cutting flame of the ex- 
othermic torch creates a large spray of molten cut 

1. If possible, start a cut on an exposed edge of 
the material. If this cannot be done, try piercing 
the material. (See "Piercing a Surface" in this 

2. Be sure the cutting rod is ignited before be- 
ginning the actual cut. Be sure hoses and wires 
are clear of the cutting area. 

3. Hold the rod at an angle to the piece being 
cut. As a rule, the thinner the metal, the less 
the angle. For example, when cutting a sheet 
1/8" or thiner, use a 15° angle; up to 1" thick 
steel, use a 70° angle. Metals 1" thick or thicker 
require the use of a sawing-type motion, as well 
as the 70° angle. 

4. Cut by pulling the torch towards the body. 
Support the rod with a gloved hand, but never 
allow the burning end to come into contact with 
the hand. Pull the rod slowly enough to cut 
completely through the material in a smooth 
motion. Pulling it too quickly does not allow 
for a complete cut through. 

Aluminum produces one of the most violent 
reactions to the high temperature. Because it 
melts quickly, aluminum will cut faster and 
produce more sparks than any other material. 
All thicknesses of aluminum require using a 70° 
angle and extra precaution. 

n n 


The angle of the cut may need to be adjusted 
from job to job. Use the following chart as a 
guide (see Figure 53). 
5. Remember, for successful cutting the end of 
the cutting rod should lightly contact the piece 
being cut. Holding the rod as little as 1/4" to 
1/2" away results in little or no cutting. Since 
the rod is consumed during cutting, the operator 
must constantly shove in on the torch to keep 

the rod in direct contact. 

6, Stop cutting when the rod becomes shorter than 
3", and replace the rod. 

7. The proper procedure for stopping the cutting 
process is to first pull away from the cut, and 
then release the oxygen. Releasing the oxygen 
while still in the cut often results in plugging 
the oxygen outlet, thus making relighting of a 
partially- used rod impossible. 


1/8" or thin sheet 15° Drag Angle 

3/16" to 1/2" plate 45° Drag Angle 

1/2" or thicker 70° Drag Angle in 
conjunction with an in and out 
sawing motion on thicknesses over 1" 


From thin sheets to 3/8" thick 
20° Drag Angle 


All thicknesses use 70° Drag Angle 

— — > 

45 c 



70 c 








Figure 53. Cutting Angles 






NOTE: Releasing the oxygen lever will stop the 
burning of the rod. 

Loss of Cutting Flame 

Sometimes the flame may be extinguished while 
cutting. To restart the torch, follow the standard 
ignition procedures. If the cutting rod continues to 
go out, use the following procedure: 

1. Slow the cutting speed. Moving the torch too 
fast may create an incomplete cut, which can 
result in blowing ou the flame. 

2. Check the oxygen regulator for the correct ox- 
ygen pressure. 

3. Check the tank for low oxygen. 

4. Check the angle of the rod to the piece being 

5. Check the oxygen path in the rod to be sure 
it is not blocked. If it is, replace the cutting 
rod with a new one. 

Piercing a Surface 

The slice torch can be used to cut a hole through 
solid materials when there is no exposed edge to 
start an initial cut. This procedure is called piercing. 

CAUTION: Piercing a surface produces a violent 
reaction and creates the most dangerous conditions 
for using the torch. Piercing should be done only 
when absolutely necessary. Maximum protection must 
be provided for the operator, nearby personnel, and 
the surrounding area. A flashback of sparks and 
molten material does happen. Piercing should be 
done only by someone experienced in cutting with 
this tool. 

Use the following procedure to pierce a surface: 

1. Be aware of what material is behind the pierced 

2. Hold the torch at arm's length. 

3. Bring the rod in at a 90° angle, that is, per- 
pendicular to the pierce point. 

4. Hold the end of the burning rod about 1/2" 
from the pierce-point and preheat the area for 
a few seconds. Then, slowly push the cutting 
rod into place until a burn-through is achieved. 
This is signalled by a large amount of blowback. 

5. To prevent the cutting rod from getting stuck 
inside the pierced hole, slowly swirl the cutting 
rod as it enters the pierce hole. 

6. If possible, remove the cutting rod from the 
pierce point before releasing the oxygen lever. 


The use ot cutting tools in rescue operations is 
often necessary to free trapped victims. Rescuers 
must be knowledgeable in the setup and operation 
of the oxyacetylene torch and exothermic unit. Due 
to the possibility of a fire being started, special 
precautions are required when using these tools. 
Training, practice, and experience are essential to 
safe operations in all cutting procedures.