Tools of the Trade

New York City Rescue Companies are armed with a vast assortment of tools and equipment. In the hands of well trained and experienced Rescue firefighters, these tools allow the Rescue to operate effectively at a wide array of fires and emergencies. Because of the sheer number, and diverse nature of tools and equipment carried by the Rescue Company, many refer to the Rescue Rig as a Rolling Toolbox.

In addition to firefighting, the Rescue Company is trained and equipped to respond to numerous types of emergencies, including :

  • motor vehicle extrications
  • machinery/equipment entrapments
  • confined space incidents
  • high angle incidents
  • SCUBA operations
  • subway/train emergencies
  • water emergencies
  • structural collapse events
  • trench collapses

As part of the Tools of the Trade, we invite you to take a tour of the Rescue rig. We intend to profile the tools and equipment used by the Rescue for firefighting and emergency operations.

Tool Profiles

Man In Machine Kit

Assembled several years ago by members of Rescue 2, The Man In Machine Kit was developed to aid in operations involving entanglements and entrapments. The Man In Machine Kit is deployed with the Rescue members performing the incident size up. These members can then use the kit to initiate disentanglement operations, while awaiting the transport of additional resources.

Within the past several years, the company has operated at various types of entrapments, including:

  • Arm in dough press
  • Arm in printing press
  • Child locked in safe
  • Finger stuck in car gas fill pipe
  • Arm in sheet folding machine
  • Child’s leg in Barber’s chair
  • Finger caught in lock cylinder
  • Foot stuck in bicycle frame

Included in the Kit:

  • Battery Operated Sawz-all
  • Wood Wedges
  • Soap Solution
  • Pry bars
  • Saline Solution
  • Saw
  • Steel Wedges
  • Hydraulic “clam shell” spreader
  • Assorted Hand Tools (screw drivers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, etc…)

Air Cart

The Air Source Cart (ASC) is a lightweight, portable source of continuous compressed air. The ASC may be deployed to provide an uninterrupted supply of breathing air or a continuous air supply for pneumatic tool operation. The ASC is designed to carry two air cylinders. Each cylinder is connected to a manifold by way of a three-way diverter valve. As a cylinder is depleted, an alarm sounds signaling the need to re-direct the diverter valve to allow the second cylinder to become the supply cylinder. The nearly empty cylinder is then replaced to stand-by.

The ASC is ideal for “surface supply operations” such as confined space incidents, Haz-Mat incidents as well as SCUBA incidents. The ASC has been deployed at a number of confined space incidents the company has responded to, including several incidents below decks aboard ships. Recently, the ASC was set up for a fire in a subway tunnel.

Each Rescue carries a wide variety of pneumatic tool including air Bags (low & high pressure); air chisels, air struts; whizzer saws; drills; reciprocating saws; and impact wrenches. The ASC is well suited to provide a continuous supply of air to power these tools.


Working Principle and Advantages

The principle of the Griphoist machine is based upon a unique arrangement of two pair of gripjaws enclosed in a housing. These gripjaws, work like a pair of hands alternately seizing the wire rope to pull it for lifting, tensioning, or pulling a load, or retaining the load during lowering, or slackening.

A removable telescopic handle is connected to one of the two operating levers, according to the direction of wire rope movement, and supplies the required leverage. Since no ratchet and pawl system is used, any handle movement moves the load.

The wire rope moves with precision, at the slightest movement of the handle. The load is held in any position of the operating lever. The jaws are self gripping under the action of the load or effort. The initial pressure which causes the jaws to grip the wire rope and engage the rope in the self gripping action is provided by powerful springs.

Two Griphoist models are carried aboard the Rescue rig. The TU-28 has a 4000 lb. capacity, and is supplied with both 30 ft. and 60 ft. lengths of 7/16 in. wire rope. The TU-32, with its 6000 lb. capacity, is equipped with a 30 ft. length of 5/8 in. wire rope.

The Griphoists have been deployed on numerous occasions for a variety of emergencies, including:

  • Stabilizing and moving large vehicles (cars, trucks, ships, cranes) involved in accidents.
  • Stabilization of loose/hanging building facades, cornices, security gates
  • Separating large burning dumpsters from building areas and loading docks
  • Structural Collapse emergencies

Battery Operated Reciprocating Saw

A/C powered reciprocating saws have been part of the Rescue tool inventory for a number of years.  About nine years ago the Rescue companies were assigned battery operated reciprocating saws. Rescue 2 currently carries four 36 volt DeWalt battery powered saws.

The portability associated with the battery-powered version provided an increased number of potential applications. The company has successfully operated the battery-powered saw at the following types of operations:

  • Numerous “pin-jobs” – including a wide variety of vehicle types, to: cut posts, windshields, seat supports, sheet metal, etc..
  • Building Collapses – to: provide access, disentangle trapped victims, cut 2x4s & 4x4s to create various types of shoring, cut re-bar to release & remove large pieces of concrete.
  • Fire related collapses – to assist in the freeing and removal of trapped victims (including firefighters).
  • “Odd Job” entrapments & entanglements – to assist in freeing entrapped limbs from various pieces of industrial equipment and other types of devices.

Lyle Gun (Bridger Gun)

The .45 caliber line gun, has been a part Rescue 2′s arsenal since the company’s inception. As such, its image in part symbolizes the company, and has become part its logo’s and patches. Having its origins in the nautical arena, the line gun is used to shoot a projectile with a service cord attached to it. The small diameter service cord is connected to a more substantial life saving rope. Once those in peril receive the service line, they can hoist the life saving rope to their position. Then of course, the life saving rope would be used on one manner or another to assist the victims.

After placing the projectile in the bore of the gun, the coil of cord is placed into the canister. The end of the cord is then attached to the projectile with three half hitches. Just prior to firing, the .45 cal. Blank cartridge is loaded. After making appropriate allowance for wind, the gun is held at about a 35-degree angle, and fired.

After placing the projectile in the bore of the gun, the coil of cord is placed into the canister. The end of the cord is then attached to the projectile with three half hitches. Just prior to firing, the .45 cal. Blank cartridge is loaded. After making appropriate allowance for wind, the gun is held at about a 35-degree angle, and fired.

The Lyle Gun was used by the company, as part of an operation to secure a Hospital chimney that had broken loose. This approximately 20-story structure separated from the building proper. The cord was shot to an adjacent roof from a water tower platform located about 15 stories above grade. The cord was married up with heavier line. The heavier line was then used to hoist cables into place to guy the chimney.

The Lyle Gun was once used to subdue a vicious dog, which had attacked and continued to menace a young child. The ill-tempered animal had the child trapped and was holding rescuers at bay. A Rescue 2 member was able to remove the dog from the equation by stunning it with the gun’s brass projectile.

Rig and Equipment

Front Bumper  Winch

Length 90 Feet

Thickness 3/8 inch

Capacity 12,000 @ 125 ft.

Note: For safety reasons cable must have a minimum of 5 wraps on the drum

Chauffer’s Side Transverse

Tri-Pod w/ chain (pos. A 119 in. 5280 lbs. – pos. F 98 in. 9500 lbs with a 10:1 safety factor)

Reeves Sleeve


Extra Hurst Tool Hoses

Bridal Bag *
6 – 24’ pieces of webbing
  2 – 40’ pieces of webbing
  1 – Vertical Bridal
1 – Horizontal Bridal
2- Stokes Basket
Adapters for electrical cords

Chauffer’s Side Compartment 1

Breaker Box
Large Air Bags
Extra Extension cords for electricity
Rubber mat for third rail
Caution Tape Controller for Light Tower

Chauffer’s Side Coffin Compartment
Pipe Wrenches
Chauffer’s Side Compartment 2 Hurst Tool

Hurst tool generator on hand truck
40” spreader with hose 18,900 lbs spreading force 12,100 lbs. pulling force 62lbs in weight
4- Rams
1- Holmatro hand pump combi tool
1-Manually hand pump
1- Brake cutter
1- Mini spreader
1- Mini Ram and Slim Jim

Compartment above Wheels (front)

Wheel Chocks

Chauffer’s Side Compartment 3 Collapse Compartment

Strip Nail Gun
Boxes of nails for both guns
2- Framing Squares
6” Circular saw
10” Circular saw
Elis Clamps
Shoring Kit *
2- Tool Belts
2-Hand Saws
1- Drill Bit
2- Hammers
2- Levels
2- Tape Measures
2- Chalk Lines
Paslode Fuel Cells
2- Vise Grip
2- Cats Paws
2- Pliers
2- Tin Snips
1- Torpedo Level
Battery + Electric Drill
Big wood Bit set
Lobster Tool
Cutting station bag *
2 Templates for 45 deg. Raker
2 Templates for 60 deg. Raker
2 Templates for 30 deg. Raker
Double Headed nails
3- Tape measures
2- Speed Squares
4- Carpenter Pencils
1- Hammer
1- Chalk Line

Chauffer’s Side Compartment 4

Assorted Cribbing

Chauffer’s Side Compartment 5

Gas for saws
2-K-12 Alpha Blade
Cutters Edge Roof saw
Poulan Chain saw
Stihl Electric Chain Saw
Spare Blades
Tools for Saws

Back of Rig Compartment 11 Chauffer’s Comp.

6’ Hook
Mask w/ 45 Min Cylinder
Search Rope
Personal Gear

Rear Winch

Length 90 feet
Thickness 5/8 inch
Capacity 20,000 lbs @ 100 ft.
Note: For safety reasons cable must have a minimum of 5 wraps on the drum

Back of Rig Compartment 12

Boat Motor
Gas for Boat
Floatation Device
Thermal Blanket

Officer’s Side Compartment 10 Confined Space

Air Tools Kit *
Regulator w/ spare
2- Whizzers
Bit Set
Air Ratchet
Air Drill
Con-Ed Air fitting adapter
2 to 1Fittings
Schrader air adaptersExtra Air Bags
Quick Kut and Impact wrench
200 ft of hose
200 ft of hose w/ comms
2 Gunslingers
2 Scott’s w/ 45 min cylinders
Lockout Tag-out
Controller and cord for winch

Officer Side over wheel well rear  

Switlick (inflatable rescue boat w/ CO2 cartridge)

Officers Side Compartment 9

Brute Concrete Breaker w/ Bits
Electric Hilti Sawzall
Electric + Cordless Grinder w/ 25’ ext. cord
Hilti Hammer Drill
Nibblers + Shears
Ban Saw
Honda 13.6 Amp Generator

Officer Side over wheel well front

2 ½-Ton Car Jack

Officers Side Compartment 8

Paratech Controller
Paratech Base Plates (swivels)
Paratech Extensions
Hilti Nail Gun in Anchor Box w/ Anchors & Bolts
Cutters Edge Wet Concrete Blade w/ water hose

Officers Side Compartment 7 Rigging

Assorted Slings
Large Socket set + Large Wrench set
Tu-28 4,000 w/ 60 ft 7/16” diameter rope 20,000 lbs
Tu-32 8,000lbs w/ 30 ft 5/8” diameter rope 40,000 lbs
1 – 20 Ton Bottle Jacks
1 – 30 Ton Bottle Jacks
Come Along
Utility Rope
Elevator clamps industrial and passenger
Hillman Rollers

Officers Side Compartment 6

Large Acetylene Torch
Mini Acetylene Torch
Arch Air w/rods
Hurst Generator attached to hose on reel w/ Combi Cutter
Small Hurst Generator attached to combi cutter
Purple K Extinguisher
Spare O2
Extension Cord Manual Reel

Officer Side Coffin Compartment

3 – 3’ Struts
3 – 1 ½’ Struts
1- 1 ½’ Struts
1 – 1’ Strut
2 – 4 ½’ Struts
3 – 3’ Extensions

Officers Side Transverse

Extra Life Saving Rope
Cargo Net
Ferguson Blanket (firefighter removal net)
2-Stokes Basket (transverses to other side)
Reeves Sleeve
Tripod (transverses to other side)
Air Knife

Top of Rig

20’ Straight Ladder
Ice Sled


2- Confined space Scott’s with 30 min cylinders

2 – Lengths of confined space hose w/ comms
Confined Space comms
Subway Kit # 2 *
4-Slippers for train trucks
Higgins Plate
Rail Plate
Voltage Tester
Adapter for train power to 110v
Air Bag Kit
Man under Bag
Subway Kit # 1
Hurst Hand Pump and porto power
Space Case w/ Air Bags
Man in Machine Kit
Man in Machine Bag

Officer Side

E.M.S. Bags
Void Search Cam
Fast Pak
Lyle Gun
Half Back (Ked)
Antidote Kit

Crew Area

1- MSA Altair
3 – Sirius
1 – Voc 2000
1 – TIF 8800 Gas Meter
2 – 5200 MSA T.I.C.
4 – Halligans
2 – Axes
2 – Lobster Tools
4 – 6’ Hooks
2 – Mauls
2 – Hydra Rams
3 – Maps
3 – Search Ropes
1 – Tag line bag
8 – Spare 45 min. cyl.
7 – Spare 60 min. cyl.

Hi-Angle Compartment Chauffeur’s Side

Equipment Bag
300 Ft. Safety
4:1 Mechanical Advantage
3:1 Mechanical Advantage
Main Line
Main Line 300 Ft.
200 Ft. Rope
Utility Bag (Edge Rollers)
Jump Suits
600 Ft. Rope Bag

Haz-Mat Compartment Chauffeur’s Side Top Shelf

Elevator Keys
Pipe Crimper
Tac Stick w/ A/C Tester
Clip Board Resource Guide
Resource Books i.e. Niosh Guide, ERG, Fact Sheet
APD 2000
(2) Additional Ludlum’s w/ Ultra Radiacs
Bottom Shelf
Dewalt Batteries w/ blades and Batt. w/ cord
Marine Radio and spare Handie Talkie
Spare Batteries (AA, 9v, D)
Leak Kit
Ph Paper (note: don’t meter in 9-5 range)
Leak Kit A
Leak Kit B
Plug and Dyke Kit
Glass Suction Handles (125 lbs.) w/molding remover

Dive Compartment Chauffeur’s Side

2)Comm. Lines 200Ft.
Dive Comms.
Spare Scuba Set-up
(2) Throw Ropes
Extra Fins
(2) Set-ups w/Tanks, BC’s, Pony Bottle, Regulator
(2) Extra Tanks
(2) Bags for Divers w/ Knife, Gloves, Light, Harness

Center Aisle     Crew Compartment

Extra Scott Mask
(3) Bolt Cutters various sizes
Trombone Tool
Extra Long Halligan
(2) Life Jackets
Fire Window Blanket
Decon Equipment

Crew Compartment Officer’s Side Front

6 – Level A’s
4 – Hi Angle Helmets
2 – Mustang Suits