A Well-Kept Secret– Blackhawk’s Breaching Sledge

FORCETHEDOOR. If you’re in the fire service, own a cell phone or computer and don’t pay regular attention to Andrew Brassard’s “forcethedoor” posts on Instagram, you’re not taking life seriously (or you’re taking it too seriously– I don’t know). Andrew’s over 3,000 posts read like a post-Doctoral photographic dissertation on fire service anthropology– Dr. Brassard. It is so cool; but, words don’t do it justice. Take a look.

A WELL-KEPT FIRE SERVICE SECRET. The significance of forcethedoor here, is one of his recent photos of an Indianapolis Firefighter wielding an unusual handtool. A sledge hammer-like tool with a wide adze (instead of a maul’s customary cutting blade, or a typical sledge hammer’s…spare sledge hammer). Not surprisingly several people responded with the popular “What’s that tool?” or “I’ve got to have one of those.” As best I can tell, I had the same reaction when I first saw Blackhawk Tactical’s “Dynamic Breaching Sledge,” the tool the IFD guy appears to be carrying, but with a replacement solid fiberglass handle. I don’t think I’m alone in having at least 8 to 10 “favorite” tools. Be that as it may– this is one of mine.

Blackhawk Dynamic Breaching Sledge

Everybody knows how cool sledge hammers and mauls are. So, why’s this tool a best kept fire service secret? Because Blackhawk doesn’t devote much marketing to the fire service– just as many fire service suppliers ignore the law enforcement community. But, this one’s a gem. It has been produced in at least three different versions at various times.

The first version I saw was distributed by Council Tools, a mass marketer of basic fire service axes, sledge hammers, Halligan-type bars and other hand tools. This version had a 36″ polyethylene over fiberglass handle with an exaggeratedly wide, thick, and long adze extending from a 10 pound sledge hammer face. The long adze threw off the balance of the tool. It was awkward to use.

Council Tool Breaching Sledge
The original Council Tool Breaching Sledge– too long and ungainly for fire service application. That seemed to be OK– it wasn’t really marketed to the fire service.

Later, it showed up in a second version marketed by Blackhawk. Their version used used a shorter, improved ergonomic handle. More importantly, they shortened the adze which resulted in a far more balanced piece. But, its 10 pounds seemed excessive. And, the adze was still too wide and thick for forcible entry, its intended purpose.

Blackhawk Breaching Sledge Knife Country USA

Blackhawk apparently made the same assessment.  Not long after their first altered version of the Breaching Maul appeared, it was followed by a third version (their second) which featured a usefully narrowed, thinned, and shortened the adze. The flat surfaces of the adze were ribbed which did a great deal to hold the tool in its work. Weight was reduced to 8 pounds. Nice tool.

Blackhawk Old 10# Upper- Newer 8# Lower
The shorter length of Blackhawk’s original version of the Breaching Sledge (top left and in the enlarged photo) was a big improvement. But, at 10 pounds, it was a boat anchor and its adze was overly wide and thick. The [so-far] “final” version (lower left) of the tool trims down every aspect of the head and should make it a fire service classic.
Blackhawk B & L-1
A comparison of light (top) and heavy (bottom) versions of Blackhawk’s Breaching Sledge.
Blackhawk B & L-2
The original The proportions of the adze on the heavy Breaching Sledge (left) made it less efficient for getting into gaps and gave up leverage when using it to pry inward swinging doors using the “lever” method.

BUT, HOW DO YOU GET ONE?  Its a little like legalized gambling. There are lots of suppliers of Blackhawk’s Breaching Sledge, but they all seem to share a bewildering failure to distinguish between the two versions. Most descriptions of the tool show contradictory photos and weights. The model number is generally given as #DE-BS, but, I’ve yet to see conclusively whether its the larger, heavier tool or the smaller one. NOTE: Blackhawk markets Council Tool’s original 36″ handled configuration as the DE-SBS, “Super Breaching Sledge.” Probably the best way of getting what you want is to call one of the many dealers and ask about weight: according to Blackhawk, the larger one weighs in at about 11-1/2 pounds overall weight, the smaller one is around 9 pounds (the DE-SBSd is 12 pounds).

IMPROVING ON A GOOD THING. Having used the lighter version of the Breaching Sledge as a primary personal tool for several years, it has definitely earned personal preference. Immediately upon its arrival, one of our standard departmental “fruit loops” was added with 8mm cord to enhance carrying and hoisting the tool and securing it on the tip of a roof or ground ladder. It also got reflective tape identification.

Two functional modifications were also made to the adze. First, since I planned to use the adze regularly for prying, I shortened it about 5/8″ to improve (slightly) its mechanical advantage and balance– I can see that some people would be reluctant to give up the added surface area for pulling wall materials, especially lathe and plaster. Secondly, since part of the appeal of the adze for me was its application to forcible entry. So, toward that end, bevel (angle) on the end of the adze was reversed to provide more surface area against the door stop when using the “lever” method of forcing inward swinging doors. The photos below provide a before and after comparison of the adze modifications.

Blackhawks Small Compared

AND THE HANDLE? I’m definitely ol’ skool and I one of the first things I do to a new axe, maul, sledge, etc. is exchange its polyethylene over fiberglass handle for a straight Nupla solid fiberglass version. That appears to have been the case in the top photo– hard to tell. But, I have to admit that Im really fond of the stubby stout handle that comes with the Blackhawk Breaching Sledge. Maybe after I loan it out a few times and the handle takes a bath, I’ll change over. But, for now, it seems just right.

Nashville (TN)– The Hawk’s First Dance in Nashville

C.F.T. RAIDS THE EXPO. In mid-October, 2019, our good friend Robert James, RJ, and members of Capital Fire Training’s (CFT) travelin’ roadshow, took Nashville by storm,  delivering an ambitious array of lectures and HOT classes at the 2019 Firehouse Expo. Among their collaborators were Edwin Feagins and other members of Nashville’s Rescue 13.MW RJ & Rescue 13 Expo

HAWK TOOL FINDS A NEW HOME. From time-to-time, RJ takes along a few of our tools on teaching assignments. A couple of “Monster” Halligans and Hawk Tools went with him to Nashville. As things turn out, one of the Hawks stayed behind. Apparently, the NFD troops have been takin’ the tool out at night, showing it a good time. In any event, it looks like it’s been adopted by Rescue 13 and will be making the NFD its new home.

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Rockville (MD)–Hawk Rides New Aerialscope

ROCKVILLE’S A PRETTY BUSY PLACE. Running out of three houses, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, is a busy outfit. They ran a total of 20, 239 incidents in 2018.  In February of 2019, Rockville’s Board of Directors announced its purchase of a new 2018 Seagrave Aerialscope, to be designated Tower 703 and running out of Station 3. In 2018, its predecessor, a 2007 Pierce rear-mount aerial tower owned by Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue, answered well over 2000 calls. That was an increase of 200 over the previous year. So, the Seagrave will have its work cut out for it.

RIDIN’ ON THE “HOOD.”  Of course, we’re delighted to have our tools riding to work anywhere on anybody’s fire apparatus. But, as noted elsewhere in an earlier post, Phase II Hawk on Charlotte (NC) Truck 13, we take special pride when one secures a particularly prominent spot. And, a ride on the front bumper extension (as what we call the “hood ornament”) is about as prominent as you get– a real cause for celebration.

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 6.57.09 PM0Well, we’re celebrating. Good friend Robert James, a Rockville Captain, sent us a photo of a bright green 6′ Hawk/Raptor, mounted on new Tower 3’s “hood,” with a big smile on its face. And, for icing on the cake, Capt. James included a video clip of the tool being used to drive a Halligan to gain entry at a recent structure fire. Life is good.

Hawk Phase II in Frederick (MD)

CITIZENS TRUCK COMPANY NO. 4?  Here’s another of Trevor James’ classic B&W shots of fire action in Frederick, Maryland. We don’t have any background details on this photo, but, given what we’ve often called “The American Truck Company’s” unique inventory of Hawk Tool prototypes, it is a safe bet that this short, Phase II’s off of one of their rigs. As is always the case when one of these oldsters shows up, any and all additional information would be most welcomed.

Hawk Hx Phase II Trevor James Time

Veteran “Falconers”

“VETERAN ‘FALCONERS’?” “Falconry” is the ‘hunting of wild quarry, in its natural state, by means of a specially conditioned bird of prey’– generally a hawk, falcon or eagle. Since fire in a structure is pretty “wild quarry in its natural state,” we couldn’t resist the temptation to extend the falconer label to those who are hunting fire with a Hawk [tool], as well.

KNOW A VETERAN FALCONER? This series of posts recognizes firefighters who: 1) have had a good deal of firefighting and/or rescue experience, and 2) have lots of experience with, and at least a slight partiality to, the Malven Hawk tool.  If you know a person who fits our description of a veteran falconer, please email us photos and background information.  We’ll spotlight them in a future blog.  Contact Fred Malven:  malven@malvenworks.com.

 

 

Hawk Tool Geneology

IOWA-AMERICAN HERITAGE. Given Iowa-American Firefighting Equipment’s relatively short life, it is surprising how widely distributed their products were. Their forcible entry tools, for example (Halligans, Hayward Claws, San Francisco bars, etc.), show up all along the West Coast, from California to Washington.  And, we’ve run across their well-known 8-pound pick-head axes in places as widely separated as Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, and Indianapolis, Indiana. There is even an example of their equally popular 8-pound flathead axe– one found in the devastation of the World Trade Center– on display in the 9/11 Memorial in New York.

Iowa-American (IA-AM) started as one of many producers of common fire service hand tools, primarily those used by the Fire Department of New York– the New York pike pole, the Halligan hook and Halligan bar, plus the previously mentioned flat-head axe. They also offered refined versions of other popular East Coast hooks, including the so-called Universal hook and Sheetrock (or Drywall) hook. Perhaps most notably, they started producing several unique, “signature” tools for individual departments, like Boston’s  “Rake,” San Francisco’s ultra-light hook, and a derivation of the defunct Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol’s “Patrol Bar,” making them accessible to the fire service at large. However, in spite of their broad range of offerings, as they launched an aggressive marketing campaign, it became clear, that Iowa-American had virtually no original, unique new products of its own design.

THE FIRE SAFETY GROUP. During this same period of time period– the early 1980’s– the Fire Safety Group (FSG), an ad hoc group of Iowa firefighters, was delivering a variety of two-day weekend courses aimed at a renewed awareness and expanded application of traditional municipal hook and ladder or “truck company” methods to suburban and rural fire operations (see background on the Fire Safety Group at the Hook + Ladder University website). IA-AM supported the group by providing some of its tools for use in FSG’s courses.  And, in return, FSG instructors provided regular feedback and recommendations concerning those and other IA-AM products.

ORIGINS OF THE HAWK TOOL. Having made extensive use of IA-AM’s version of the Halligan hook in field training and in emergency operations, MalvenWorks founder Fred Malven experienced the tool’s numerous virtues as an overhaul tool. But, he also noted its limitations in performing certain other closely-related “support operations” functions. Having had previous interest, formal training, and experience in product design, he took on development of a tool that addressed these more broadly-based functions, as well. This was the beginning of what was to become the Hawk Tool. Its design followed a fairly normal, step-by-step, phased product development process. Over a period of three years, the project produced a nearly continuous stream of sketches, working drawings, wood study models and working prototypes. The prototypes were intended to be building blocks, steps toward the development of a single new tool. They were never intended for sale. But, with the success of a series of glossy catalogs, Martin Vitale, Iowa-American’s owner, was anxious to get new tools on the market. Consequently, virtually every time a newly revised prototype was prepared for field evaluation, a fair number of them were produced, added to the company’s catalog, and sold, side-by-side with previous prototypes and the company’s other hooks.

Although this rush to market incomplete designs was irritating and frustrating, at this point in time, the move has netted some fortunate outcomes from a historical archival standpoint. First, due to the success of the firm’s catalog marketing, each of the various prototypes enjoyed a surprising volume and geographical distribution of sales. So, there is a good physical record of each phase of the design process. And, since many of them are still in day-to-day use, the effectiveness of early design intentions can be studied through the experience of current users.

As designers and long-time, regular users of the Hawk Tool, we’ve always been interested in finding and documenting early examples of the tool, and even earlier examples of prototypes. And, whenever available, we’ve really relished accounts of user experiences with the tools– good, bad, indifferent; exciting or mundane. Only recently did it occur to us that some of our customers might also be interested in the history of their tools. So, in this section, we will gradually put together an account of significant steps in the development of our tools, starting with influences on the Hawk Tool.

OVERVIEW OF HAWK TOOL DEVELOPMENT. But, first, at the risk of sapping all of the fun of discovery out of the process, we’ll begin with a brief summary of Hawk Tool design process. It began with the goal of creating a multi-purpose “support operations” tool combined some of the best attributes of other tools we’d used. Because of its popularity (and its availability, due to our collaboration with Iowa-American Fire Equipment) much of the early work (especially phases I & II) involved modification of the highly successful Halligan HOOK. Readers will need to remember that this discussion revolves around FDNY Chief Hugh Halligan’s hook design, not his even more famous Halligan BAR.

In general, the design process progressed in five phases:

  • Phase I added width and a sharper, keener edge to the Halligan Hook’s “bottom” (i.e., downward-pointed) blade.
  • Phase II further flattened the downward blade, “corrected” the Halligan’s unnecessarily blunt point, and added some length and angle to the Halligan’s rear-facing “adze.”
  • Phase III (the first significant departure from the Halligan) introduced the first of three distinctive features of the Hawk Tool, the so-called “cross-cut” blades– one downwardly-rounded, longitudinal edge intersecting at 90° with the original downward-pointing, transverse blade.
  • Phase IV introduced the tool’s most distinctive feature   But, for now, suffice it to say that the evolution of the tool can be distilled down to five steps or phases before it reached (much later) its current configuration. The most significant end-products of each phase are summarized below.
MW Vintage Hawk Tools Phases
The early influence of Chief Halligan’s hook on the Hawk design process is clearly visible in the Phase I and II prototypes. Only at Phase III did the tool take on a character of its own. Inspired by Prince Georges County (MD) firefighter Richie Clemens’ Clemens Hook, the new design focused on surpassing the Halligan’s performance, especially in terms of 1) “chopping” ability, 2) ability to penetrate walls, ceilings, and floors, and 3) overall versatility (especially the multi-functionality of its working edges). NOTE: The Phase V Hawk was the final (“finished?”) design offered by Iowa-American for series production. The design underwent significant revisions before being reintroduced as part of the Aazel Corporation’s line, in late 2011, and might be considered a Phase VI Hawk Tool.

In future posts, we will identify and discuss some of our interesting encounters with the Hawk’s ancestors.

Phase II Hawk on Charlotte (NC) Truck 13

“HOOD ORNAMENTS.”  The tools found on the front bumpers of a rig are an interesting subject in their own right. Other than the make, color, markings, lighting, and maybe the function of a unit’s front end, the tools mounted on the bumper often give a first-time visitor their first impression of a station or department. They’re sometimes a pretty good representation of the character of the crews that staff them. Are they traditionalists or early-adopters of the latest fads? Are the tools clean, dirty, or dusty? Do they look like they’ve been burnished by frequent use or never been used? Are they freshly painted, labeled, claimed by station or department markings, stickers, lettering, or “uglied up” to discourage misappropriation by others? What do they have to say about the people who ride their unit?

It’s hard to imagine all of the reasons why a specific tool (or set of tools) might be selected for this special status. But, a few explanations are:

  • They came mounted there when the unit was delivered.
  • The bumper is the only place they’ll fit or can be removed easily.
  • They are the most frequently used items.
  • They are important “must-have” parts of a set of tools/equipment that deploys from the front.
  • They’re the favorites of a particular station, crew, crew member or officer.
  • They’re scarce examples of “signature” tools that were once hallmarks of local operations but are no longer available.
  • They somehow symbolize the unit or crews mission, objectives, attitudes, identity, shared experiences, etc. and can, in a way, be likened to “hood ornaments” on a car, signaling information about the vehicle, its functions, and its occupants.

In general, the tools found there are selected because they address the highest priorities or most common functions addressed by the crew.  So, in some stations the front-mount tools change every time the crew changes, reflecting individual or group differences. One shift may reflect a group of traditionalists who prefer a few proven, multifunctional “classics.” The next crew– maybe a group of “early adopters”– might switch them out for the latest new tools on the market, and so forth.

But, policies concerning equipping can vary considerably from station-to-station and department-to-department.  So, if a rig’s front bumper arsenal stays the same day-after-day that may indicate that it’s prescribed and regulated by the department. It might indicate that a crew/department has, over time, refined, standardized and policed its equipping. At the other extreme, be a sign of ambivalence. Who knows? But, it can be a source of interesting speculation.

PHASE II HAWK ON CHARLOTTE’S TRUCK 13.  An excellent first example of both front bumper tool loads and vintage Hawk prototypes in the field was found in a photo of Charlotte, North Carolina’s rearmount aerial, Truck 13 (Photos are from Charlotte Fire Department & Station 13 web sites).

As pictured at the time, on their 2004 Spartan/Smeal (in the bottom photo above), Truck Company 13 mounted a six-foot NY Roof Hook and a four-foot Hawk Phase II prototype with a large aluminum D-handle. In comparison to a Halligan/NY Roof Hook’s narrow profile and blunt point, the photo above shows the Phase II Hawk prototype’s sharper, more focused penetrating tip and wider lower “chopping” blade to good advantage. What is particularly eye-catching are the wide, bold color identification markings on the tools and their apparent high maintenance level.

It certainly isn’t clear (or expected) that the Hawk prototype was a standard fixture on Truck 13’s bumper set. On a busy rig, a tool is lucky to get a ride on the front, at all– never mind finding a spot as a regular. In fact, one gets the impression from photos of Truck 13’s 2015 Spartan/Smeal replacement, that tools may no longer be carried on the front bumper. Nevertheless, its a good day for us every time we receive a photo of one of our tools earning a front-row seat.  Greetings and thanks to Charlotte’s Truck 13!

2nd Alarm Fire, Frederick City, MD

2ND ALARM, WARREN WAY.  On July 28, 2019, Frederick City and some adjacent companies caught a job involving a series of modern, wood-frame row houses. As is commonplace, these included the attendant challenges of interconnected void spaces, combustible chimney enclosures, irregular roof configurations and tight juxtaposition of units. Add heat and humidity and you start to get the picture.

Having lived in Frederick and Frederick County for a short time (during the early stages of Hawk Tool development), the area has long held a special personal attraction and affection.  There is probably no place on earth where the probability of seeing a Hawk Tool at a structure fire is higher than in Frederick, Maryland.  As evidence of this, you could look to a recent array of photos by fire photographer Trevor James (Facebook, posted 07-28-19). It is riddled with shots of firefighters and their Hawks.

SEASONED “FALCONERS.” In common usage, a falconer is a person who hunts wild game with a falcon or hawk. We’ve expanded the idea to identify individuals who hunt fire with a Hawk Tool. Trevor’s collection of photos of the Warren Way fire (from which the photos above and below were drawn) includes four such hunters. Regrettably, we haven’t yet been able to identify them all by name.

FREDERICK CITY AND COUNTY, MARYLAND– HAWK TOOL INCUBATOR. The proliferation of Hawk Tools in the Frederick and Frederick County area is no accident.  Fred served with the Vigilant Hose Company No.6 from 1984 to 1986 while working as a contract course developer for the National Fire Academy– both in Emmitsburg (northern Frederick County). He later lived in and ran with Frederick’s Citizens Truck Company No.4 for six months while on sabbatical leave from Iowa State University– again, while doing work for NFA. Most of the final refinement of the [Iowa-American’s version of] the Hawk Tool (phases IV and V) was completed during his stay at Citizens. And, of course, the crew at Citizens made introductions at surrounding stations, with the result that prototype tools ended up on many of the Frederick units.

More recent return visits to Emmitsburg and Frederick led to new introductions to– and personal and departmental acquisitions of– the Hawk Tool. Without the input and support of those folks, the current refined tool would never have been realized.  And, without Trevor James’ friendship, and frequent inclusion of the tools in his images, its resurrection would have gone largely unnoticed.

Thanks, folks.

JD DuCharme, Firefighter, Beaver Dam (WI) Fire Department

NICE LOOKIN’ TOOL TEAM.  A while back, we got a note from Southern Wisconsin firefighter JD DuCharme with a shot of his well-put-together tool team, a Lone Star Axe “Piglet” and a five-foot Hawk Versatool (Hawk head with a Raptor end).

JD DuCharme Hawk:Piglet EDC

OBVIOUSLY, NOT JUST FOR LOOKS.  A short time later, JD sent a couple of helmet cam snaps of his tools getting into mischief at a residential job. At first glance, the Hawk Tool is hard to detect in the bottom shot. JD’s ex-military.  I think he must have his hook wrapped in some kind of high-tech “worker” camo scheme, or something? It blends right in.

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THE PIG AND HAWK: A POPULAR COMBO. JD’s in good comapny– two other of our favorite heavy hitters have commented on frequent use of the Hawk/Pig tool team– Wichita’s Isaac Frazier and Baltimore’s Tim Brozoskie.

Nevada (IA) Community Fire Department

THE NEVADA COMMUNITY FIRE DEPARTMENT.  Having worked for 35 years with the Nevada Community Fire Department (NCFD), Nevada, Iowa, it would be unthinkable to consider anyplace else the birthplace of the Hawk Tool.  The department has tolerated an infusion of Hawk Tools (and other experimental equipment) on its apparatus for years.  And, Its members have effectively become Malvenworks’ primary research and development team.

Nevada is the county seat for Story County, approximately 30 miles north (on Interstate 35) and 7 miles east (on US Highway 30) of Des Moines, Iowa’s capital.  NCFD  serves a suburban/rural fire district of approximately 144 square miles and a population of approximately 9000.  Within its boundaries are 12 miles of Interstate 35 (connecting Kansas City, MO and Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN), 12 miles of US Highway 30 and the junction of Union Pacific Railroad’s former Rock Island North/South “Spine Line,” and its busy double-track, East/West “Overland Route” mainline, roughly 45 linear miles of the busiest rail line in Iowa.

EVOLUTION OF THE DEPARTMENT.  Iowa was designated as a separate territory in 1838 and became the 29th state in 1846.  Nevada was first platted in 1853. Its fire department was established in 1860, a year before the start of the American Civil War (as a point of reference, the Iowa City Fire Department– arguably the oldest in the state– was authorized in 1842).

The department is now part of Nevada’s Department of Public Safety and is, itself, comprised of two divisions, Fire Protection (which includes selected technical rescue incidents, Haz-Mat first response, and initial response to environmental emergencies) and EMS (which performs medical first responder services).  It is staffed by a career Chief (Director of Fire and EMS) and a nominal membership of 50 volunteers, most of whom are cross-trained for both functions. The agency responds to approximately 700 calls a year, roughly 70% of which are calls for emergency medical services.

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CURRENT APPARATUS.  The department currently operates a Sutphen 70′ “Mini-Tower” and two Spartan engines– one a Spartan/Toyne engine-tank, the other a new Spartan/Toyne rescue engine.  Nevada also houses two tankers, two 4WD Ford wildland units, and a medium-duty 4WD Ford rescue squad.  For several years, the department operated a heavy rescue squad staffed primarily by EMS providers.  However, over the years the extrication function has shifted to fire personnel. Now both of the departments engines are equipped for extrication service, providing greater flexibility in responding to rescue calls and freeing more EMS responders for medical service at motor vehicle and technical rescue incidents.

Nevada Apparatus
Nevada’s principal apparatus, counterclockwise from left center: Truck 110 (70′ Sutphen Tower), Rescue Engine 210 (1500/750 Spartan/Toyne), Engine 310 (1250/1000 Spartan Toyne), Colo Fire & Rescue’s Rescue Pumper 904 (background).

HAND TOOLS & EQUIPMENT.  Nevada has, for many years, carried a generous inventory of hand tools on its front-line apparatus.  And, the equipment carried by major apparatus has tended to be fairly uniform in type, number, and mounting locations.  For example, the cabs of each of the engines and the ladder truck carry two Hawk Tools, two Halligan bars, a flathead axe, a pickhead axe and two Clemens hooks.  The Hawk Tools are mounted by door on the officer’s side of the rear riding compartment as shown in the photos below (upper right and bottom): one is mounted by itself, the other is mated with a Halligan bar. The second Halligan bar is mounted with a flathead (conventional “married set” fashion).  Each paired set of tools (Hawk/Halligan and Flathead/Halligan) is secured in a PAC Irons-Lok.  On the opposite side of the riding compartment are the pickhead axe and a “closet hook-length” Clemens hook.

Elsewhere, in one or more tool compartments (example below, in top, left photo), these units carry a fairly standard complement of chainsaws, positive pressure ventilation blowers, forcible entry “married sets,” thermal imagers and a Pulaski axe, longer Clemens hooks, an Odd-job hook (also called a Universal hook), wrecking bars, crowbars of varying lengths, and bolt cutters.

BIRTH OF THE HAWK TOOL.  The Hawk Tool was most directly influenced by the development and delivery of “hands-on” courses on truck company operations.  However, the truck company course, itself, was a direct result of working with the Nevada Fire Department.  The department has long embodied a very active group of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders, outstanding community support and a moderate– but persistent and varied– volume of emergency calls.  The   most direct inspiration for the Hawk Tool’s development was the department’s long-standing tradition of “truck work.”  Its Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was organized in 1913, making it one of the very earliest “truck company” operations in the Midwest.

All-in-all, the Hawk would be hard-pressed to find a better, more innovative, place to call home.