From Jason Hoevelmann of Engine House Training, LLC

We have all been taught to take a tool with us anytime we get off of the truck. There are a multitude of reasons why, but this post will quickly address one use for your tool should you end up in a basement and need to get out.

The pictures show a haligan bar for this drill and is a common tool on most fire apparatus. With that being said, not all haligan bars are created equal and if you have one of those four footers, this will be difficult and if you have one of those short suckers, this will be difficult too. Not impossible, just difficult.



Start by planting the tool with the fork end down to the floor. Plant it hard to get a purchase point. Next lean the adz and pointer into the wall. This is all done below the window you found.

Now before you do all of that, you will need to clear that window with said tool. Be sure to try to make it as clean as possible, but don’t get real cute with it, you need to get out.

Lift a leg and put your foot on top of the tool against the wall. Grab the sill of the basement window and when your ready, push hard with your foot and pull with your arms and drive yourself out the window.

The key here is to at least get your center of gravity on the sill with the first push. You can wiggle and kick your way through the rest of the way.

With practice this can be done with other tools like a sledge or an ax, but the haligan works best. This is just one method we teach for self rescue from a basement or high window.

Train, practice and train some more. Stay safe and give this a try.


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What is this "basement" of which you speak?

If it is a hole in the ground over which a house is built, we don't have those here.
The sand and high water table would fill them up immediately.

We have a flat piece of concrete called a "slab". :-)

Now that we have the beachfront firefighting joking out of the way, we use the same drill for window bailouts and have a very similar prop that we use for it. The main difference is that we use a standard-size window opening and teach straddling the windowsill with a leg instead of the headfirst bailout, since we're not below grade.
Good stuff. I would like to be somewhere with sand, water and cool breeze right now. It is a great prop. Take care down there on "the slabs."
I was never taught this technique as a method of survival! Thank you for sharing!
That "cool breeze" comes with a 105+ heat index right now.

If someone could just figure out a way to air condition structural fires...
Let me know when that happens. We have had heat advisories here for over a week. More to come this week too. Stay cool down there and take care.
Your very welcome and thanks for reading.

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