What’s in My Pockets: Dan Shaw

We have talked about in previous posts that what we carry is based on the space you have available, the rig you ride, and the experience you have gained from running calls. Since I ride an Engine everyday, my focus is on the simple, yet sometimes challenging, task of putting water on the fire by stretching and operating hoselines. 








Left Breast Pocket: I treat this pocket as my entry/exit pocket.

 * I have a set of elevator, fire alarm, and misc annuciator panel keys on a ring that aid in getting into buildings. 

* A set of high-leverage cable cutters for getting out of the entanglement. The key with these cutters is a wide spread of the cutter to get around any width cable and the longer handle to ensure you get a good grip and leverage with fire gloves on. Don’t waste your time on the small 

*Elevator Drop key: If you run any amount of elevator emergencies, having a key readily available is essential

*Shove knife: A cheap but effective tool for gaining entry with little damage….a must!

*Short section of out-of-service 1 3/4″ hose: Take a short section of hose seal one end with duct tape and create the sleeve for your collection of tools. By doing this you have all of your tools in one pouch and stop the possiblity of losing your tool when they end up ripping a hole in your jacket pocket (sadly, know from experience)


Right Hand Jacket Pocket:

* Fire Gloves: Hopefully self explanatory…..the key is to perform every task with your gloves so you feel comfortable operating in them.

* 15/16″ tip for smooth bore nozzle: If you operate on a Engine and you have more than one type of building or home in your first due than you should have this tip readily available. It is great for the knee walls in a cape cod, in the strip shopping center fire where you need that extra reach, etc…

* Metal door hinge openers: No matter how good you are at pulling handlines if it gets stuck under a door you have failed. I carry a minimum of three different types of chocks to handle most every door we would encounter in an single family dwelling, garden apartment, highrise, etc.

Left Hand Jacket Pocket:

*Nails: A cheap and inexpensive door chock, slap them in the door frame and they work great (as long as someone does not take them or swing the door too hard)

*Brass collapsible spanner wrench: I am on an Engine and need to couple and couple hose so it is essential. Additionally, this is great for removing caps on highrise riser connections, turning off utilities, or throwing at the dog chasing you out of the backyard!

*Small Standpipe Riser wheel: I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes, people steal these off of the riser connection. Without it, good luck on turning on the connection. Additionally, the big wheel that is on the riser is great but until you realize that the building contractor but stucco on the walls and left an 1/8″ clearance between the wheel and the wall. Typically, just enough space for you rake all the skin off of your knuckles. If you have this small wheel in your pocket you can switch out and have no problem in opening the valve.

*Wooden door chocks: I carry an assortment of wooden chocks to fit many different types of the doors. Always put my name on them so the other companies know who they stole the chock from!

*Multi ratchet tool: Endless amount of uses for this simple and cheap tool.

Inside Jacket Pocket:

* Nomex hood: Good for the ears.

*Gas / Electric tags

*Sidewalk chalk: I carry this mostly for highrise incidents. Determining which stairwell is the attack and which is the evacuation is vitally important for the operation. By having this readily available, you can mark the lobby entrance door to the stairwells so incoming companies know which one is which. Also, good for when conducting searches and marking the search results on the door.

*Erasable Pens: In my jurisdiction, the possibility exits where I may have to take command or run a group / division and have to use a command board. If it happens, nothing worse than scrambling to find some pens so you can track the units you are responsible for.


Right side Turnout pant pocket:

*Work gloves

*50′ of 8mm rope with 2 carabiners: I treat this as my bailout rope. I keep the two carabiners clipped to the front and back of turnout pocket with the rope coiled up in the pocket. I have found, through training, that this configuration works well with my “exit strategy”. Remember, being “combat ready” means to be familiar with how you would deploy your rope and bail, simply buying a pre-made bag and/or system with never trying it out is not a reliable means for successfully bailing out.


Left side Turnout pocket:

* Safety glasses: Gotta protect the peepers.

* Sewn 20′ webbing loop: I carry this to assist in the removal of potential victims.

* 20′ 1″ webbing tied: I utilize this for assisting in the deployment and operating a 2 1/2″ handline. Having webbing to tie a girth hitch around the charged hoseline to assist is essential.



*I carry one Streamlight on my jacket and a box light with me……you can never have enough lights.


*I usually keep a hostess twinkie for nourishment, but I ate it already….

Be Safe


One Response

  1. Great stuff Think about this In never use my cutters that I carry for routine stuff. My cutters are brand new and will never be used unless my life depends on it. If your using your cutters for the routine stuff they might not be sharp enough for when you really need them. Once they are used and I am still alive I will rotate them to everyday use, and purchase a new pair of cutters ASAP

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