Support group opens doors for firefighters

Posted Monday, Sep. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When fighting a fire, a five-ounce piece of hinged plastic and steel might not seem like an effective tool. But in an emergency, a door chock could give firefighters a way out.

“Usually the hose is a lifeline, but in a life-saving situation, we’re going in without it,” said engineer Kevin Rhodes, who works out of Fire Station No. 1. “We have to keep the doors open to get back out.”

Mansfield firefighters were using the fire hose or wooden wedges they carved to hold doors open in emergency situations. But thanks to the Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association, all Mansfield firefighters now have at least two Fat Ivan door chocks to hold doors wide.

Invented by a Cincinnati firefighter, the three-inch bright yellow door chocks have a steel hook to hang over door hinges to hold the door open and a magnet embedded so firefighters can stick them to their helmets until needed or metal doors.

“Some of their homemade wedges weren’t holding,” said Houston Mitchell, vice president of the CFAAA, which began seven years ago to support the fire department and to buy non-budgeted items. “These won’t slide out and the door won’t go anywhere.”

The CFAAA spent $2,934 for 200 door chocks so that every Mansfield firefighter/paramedic could have two and more to keep on each apparatus. The door chocks -- which were delivered earlier this month -- will be especially useful when running up stairwells of multi-story buildings, like hotels, or in buildings with a lot of doors, like schools, firefighters said.

“It’s something that was needed,” said Assistant Fire Chief Eric Peterson said. “It’s not something that was necessarily in the budget, but it’s another piece of equipment that will enhance what we do.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

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