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Fireground Tips and Tricks
by Jimm Walsh

More uses for locking pliers

They can prop open nearly any style door as well as force locks and close hard-to-reach valves

By Jimm Walsh

Previously, I looked at how to maximize locking pliers; here are some additional uses. Locking pliers can be used in a number of ways to keep different styles of self-closing doors open.

As seen above, clamping the locking pliers on the hinge of a self-closing door can prevent to door from closing. The top hinge is the most preferred location because it keeps the tool up where it can be seen, and lessens the chance of leaving it behind.

Certain styles of door-closing mechanisms also can be held open by clamping to tool directly on the door closer itself.

The photo above shows the locking pliers being used to hold open a storm door. This works well when the normal keeper, or door open clip, is broken or missing.

The main problem with storm doors is that they typically involve a piano-style hinge, which have a four- to six-inch gap beneath them when in the open position. These features make it nearly impossible to use a standard door wedge with any success.

The photo above shows the locking pliers being used to prevent a magnetic lock from locking the door. Placing the tool on the magnet prevents the door from latching closed.

This simple trick is helpful when walking through a building while investigating an activated fire alarm, during a pre-incident plan walk through, or other nonemergency situations.

 

On some door handles the locking pliers can be clamped on the handle allowing the tool to extend in front of the latching mechanism to prevent the door from locking. This too is useful during nonemergency situations. 

 

Some styles of rim locks can be twisted off with a set of locking pliers, allowing for a through-the-lock method of forcible entry. 

 

Locking pliers also have nonforcible-entry uses. Here, the pliers are being used to shut off a gas meter. This technique works well in confined-space situations where obstructions prevent larger tools, like a Halligan bar, from reaching and operating the valve. 

Locking pliers can be used in a number of different ways on the fireground. With the simple eye-bolt modification and a creative mind, this tool is tremendously useful to have on hand.

About the author

Jimm Walsh is the owner and webmaster of VentEnterSearch.com, a fire department training website dedicated to Truck Company functions. Jimm is currently a Division Chief with Winter Park, Fla., Fire Department were he has served for more 14 years. Jimm has been a fire service instructor for more than 10 years and has lectured around the nation on various subjects including Leadership, and Truck Company Functions. You can contact Jimm with feedback at Jimm.Walsh@firerescue1.com.


Comments
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Bill Keenan Bill Keenan Monday, July 01, 2013 7:09:21 AM There also great for when you cant find a key for the small 02 tanks.

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