By Fire Captain Donald M. Colarusso
President All Hands Fire Equipment
Firefighter escape systems have come to the forefront of the fire service in the past few years. Several of the industry's leading manufacturers offer an "anchoring hook" as an alternative to the carabiners or double locking snap hooks that had been used for many years prior.
The FDNY researched, designed, engineered and performed rigorous tests on an anchor hook (see right photo), working in collaboration with the Crosby Group, Inc.
It led to the development of the Crosby S-360 Firefighter Anchor Hook. Constructed of forged alloy tempered steel, it is 7 inches long and 3 inches wide across the hook, and weighs 13 ounces.
A firefighter who finds themselves cut off from their egress on an upper level can quickly deploy their escape system by first grabbing the Crosby Hook. The hook can be anchored in one of several ways:
1. Hooking directly around a wall-stud, radiator pipe or similar substantial object.
2. Looping the rope around an object, then tying a "Clove Hitch" to the Crosby Hook.
3. Anchoring directly to the windowsill, as they exit danger.
Each of these anchoring options, especially the anchoring at the sill, enables the firefighter to escape in seconds.
Firefighters considering an escape system, whether it be one of RIT Rescue & Escape System's bailout systems or the Petzl EXO Personal Safety System, will find that among their other features, the Crosby Hook is among the most important and most impressive.
It meets the Auxiliary Equipment requirements of NFPA 1983 Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services (2006 edition), and the tip has a rating of 5,000 lbs and the saddle has a rating of 10,000 lbs.
Donald Colarusso is the president of All Hands® Fire Equipment, a New Jersey-based equipment company that offers fire and rescue products nationally. He is a decorated veteran of the fire service, serving since 1987. He has held every line office position in Wall ,N.J., Fire District #2 including chief of department, and now currently serves as captain and training coordinator with Neptune, N.J., Fire District #1. Donald is also an instructor with Staten Island, N.Y., based First Due Training, a company that provides training to firefighters throughout the United States. For more details, go to All Hands Fire Equipment.