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Removing the door stop can allow for an ease of access to setting the tool. Its not an option that can always be used, but provides another option especially when working the door by yourself

T3 Fire Hoox donated one of these awesome tools to raffle off to our students during our Truck Company Operations class seminar on April 21, 2017. The student that won this tool was very pleased!!

Check the website out at

Fire Service history on the halligan bar

A Halligan bar (also called a Halligan tool or simply Halligan) is a special tool commonly used in the fire and rescue service. It was designed by and named after Hugh Halligan, a First Deputy Fire Chief in the New York City Fire Department, in 1948, based upon the well known Kelley tool. The Halligan is a multipurpose tool for prying, twisting, punching, or striking. It consists of a claw (or fork), a blade (wedge or adze), and a tapered pick, which is especially useful in quickly forcing open many types of locked doors. Either the adze end or fork end of the tool can be used to break through the latch of a swinging door by forcing the tool between the door and doorjamb and prying the two apart, striking it with another Halligan, a Denver tool or a flat-head axe. Using a K-tool and the adze end, a lock cylinder can easily be pulled. There are many other uses of the Halligan tool, including vehicle rescue and opening of walls.

The Halligan is available in a number of lengths, and of various materials, including titanium or stainless steel, and may be found with replaceable head, handle and fork, and with carrying straps or rings.

A married Halligan bar and flat-head axe.A Halligan bar and a flathead axe can be joined together (and partially interlocked, head-to-toe) to form what is known as a married set, or set of irons — a particularly useful combination.

They are standard equipment for fire departments from North America to New Zealand, making them possibly the most widely-deployed tool in fire fighting today.

Note: The halligan bar shown to the right is made of multiple pieces of metal that are fused together. Some feel that this is not a true halligan and is what some firefighters call a "hooligan". These purists feel that a true halligan bar is made of one piece of metal, not multiple pieces that are fused together.

(Forest Volunteer Fire Department Forest, VA.)  We have had alot of students in our Truck Company Operations class from this fire department and even had Chief Monty Coleman back this year as an instructor for our class. 


Third and Inches

Your level of training can make or break the fireground


Brad Dougherty


Let’s say you are the offensive coordinator for a six time super bowl team, from the steel city. You find yourself in a third and inches situation, there are two minutes on the clock and you are deep in your rivals territory, and down by two touch downs. For the grid iron decision makers this is a critical football situation, leaving you with three choices run, pass, or punt. Your decisions could contribute to you maintaining momentum and ultimately winning the game and going for that seventh ring. The average football player commits twelve to fourteen hours a day preparing for their game day. They spend time on the field, running various plays, in the gym working on physical conditioning and then in the classroom learning plays and watching films assessing their opponents. They are trying to learn and dissect the behavior, strengths, and weaknesses and decision making process of the upcoming adversary.

I know that what we do is vastly different compared to a professional football player and our profession is not a game, but when you look at the training regiment, the learning and the desire to always be better than you were yesterday, one can’t help but to make comparisons. What if we took the above scenario and translated it to a fireground event, such as being the first arriving engine company officer at a working residential structure fire, with entrapment?  You are in essence the offensive coordinator and in a third and inches scenario. Your size-up reveals that your opponent has the upper hand at this point, fire is on three sides and quickly extending to the second floor. You have no control over the clock, but seconds are ticking away, a lot of information must be gathered, decisions must be made in seconds to regain control to swing momentum back to your favor. Where are survivable spaces and how will you defend them? Where is your water coming from? How long before additional resources arrive? Prior to this fire what have you done to prepare your members and yourself, like an offensive coordinator studies his opponent have you studied yours? Was the last time you looked at fire behavior and building construction in academy?

These are formidable opponents and can wreak havoc on your game plan if you aren’t up to date on them. The offensive coordinator has studied and watched and he or she knows that in certain situations this opponent is going to blitz. Have you reviewed strategy and tactics? Off of the football topic for a moment but I would be remised if I didn’t mention one of my heroes in this article, General Hal Moore would review battles that occurred before Vietnam, seeking to know how did officers succeed and how did officers fail in their planning and deployment of their tactics. Have you reviewed NIOSH reports, studied near misses and shared with your members?

As officers we must understand and know the gravity of our situations, moment by moment we have to make decisions. Unlike professional football players we can’t try again next Sunday. All of our mistakes have severe and swift consequences. We must make sure that those we are entrusted to lead are fundamentally prepared to fight. We have to get out and review on the basics, throwing ground ladders, forcible entry skills as well as hose deployment and placement must be drilled on constantly and mastered, then drilled on again.

As I watched some of training camp preparing for this, I saw veteran players practice the same skill over and over again until they couldn’t get it wrong. Watching these professionals truly inspired me to strengthen my skills, knowledge and abilities as well as those I work for, I work for my members if I am not one hundred percent in my fundamentals how can I make sure they are.

Coach Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers is well known not only as a winning head coach but as a teacher of the game. He instructed his members in the game of football.  He passed along his knowledge of the game and made the players better.  I am always amazed by the efforts of those hoping to achieve the dream of becoming a professional football player from high school and college to combines and hopefully a chance to play. Again another fire service similarity, people will go to great lengths to accomplish their dreams. As officers we need to foster that, one hour of halfhearted training with full committed whining, followed by smashed hindquarters in recliners isn’t going to produce successful out comes for us on game day.

Every football season I listen to the members talk about this team and that team on Monday morning. I hear “well so and so didn’t practice and you can tell their heart wasn’t in it. I always ask what is the difference?  Unlike our offensive coordinator we don’t get second chances, we have one opportunity to be successful in our mission. All of our pre-game efforts in training, learning and instructing must pay off every single time. If we aren’t successful we have failed those we are sworn to serve and those we serve with.

Get out of the recliner and get out on your practice field and learn, walk your districts, throw some ladders and stretch some line. You never know when your number will be called and it’s your game day will be! 


Brad Dougherty is a 21 year student of the fire service, currently he serves his organization as a captain on the world’s largest naval installation.  He also serves as an adjunct instructor for the Virginia Department of fire Programs instructing various fire service disciplines.