The pike pole. Probably one of the most recognized item part of the firefighter's arsenal, along with the axe and ladder, hence the name Hook and Ladder company.
But with today's tools available, isn't a pike pole a tool that is around because of tradition more than for it's usefulness?
It seems to me that a pike pole is not great at anything it does. I know there is technique involved at pulling ceiling and it is not just a matter of pushing and pulling like a mad man. But even with good technique, I think it is time to open our minds and use other tools. Tools that are more efficient and safer.
I will address three different hooks and my limited experience with them.
The Roofman Hook: With it's slight modifications from the Halligan or multipurpose hook, the Roofman hook will do anything a pike pole will do, only better. Plus, it has great prying capability. It is a great tool for overhaul, ventilation, roof operations and forcible entry.
The Plaster Hook: This tool will pull large sections of drywall with little effort. It is also really good at moving insulation. A great tool for the task of tearing down drywall and plaster. It also has it's place for roof operations.
The Trash Hook: We've all been in situations were you are trying to flip smouldering debris in order to extinguish hot spots or to ensure the fire is out. A pike pole does a lousy job at that. A trash hook works like a rake, grabbing material and allowing to lift it and flip it over to expose other burning material.
I would like to know what your department uses. Do you use any of the hooks I mentioned and what is your opinion on them? Do you use any other hooks I have not mentioned?
Most people train until they do it right.
Professionals train until they can't do it wrong.