Some departments may require the knowledge of how to use the axe and more importantly how to swing an axe. Just like anything else there is always a technique...Know your tools and where there at on your apparatus...
Some firefighters may ask does my axe need to be sharp, as in any case you want a good edge but not as sharp as a razor...When useing the cutting edge always keep in mind the nails and other metals you maybe working with and the chipping of the cutting edge when sharpen to thin...If ever in doubt find a new axe and train the personal who will be takeing care of the equipment and have the knowledge of what a new one looks like from the manufacture and thats how the cutting edge should be brought back to when sharpen.
Some Important tips on axes:
1. Carry the axe blade away from the body.
2. Keep the pick head cover on when carrying and if there black thank about painting them to a bright color so they can be found at night on your scenes.
3. Never carry an axe over the shoulder
4. Always be aware whats around you when swinging.
5. When useing the axe they are not to be used free swinging, Firmly grasp the handle with both hands.
and concentrate on what your hitting, or what some may call a controlled and accurate stroke.
As you can see from the first picture the firefighter is useing the pick head part to open up a roof for verticle ventilation.The reason for this is the cutting edge has a tendency to stick and the axe has to be moved back and forth to free the axe.