Firefighters are constantly working with tools and rescue equipment with various tactics and skills. So it’s imperative that firefighters know some solid quality knots in their career. Me personally I’m a knot head so I’m all about rope work. Here are some knots that I use regularly and every firefighter should know very well.
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I highly recommend these two knot books for your department or personal collection.
The Half Hitch
The Half Hitch is the most basic knot and is the building block for many other knots… if there was one knot to learn, its the Half Hitch!
Its uses are endless and is extremely simple. Its basically rope wrapped around an object, then taking the working end and looping it around the standing end. We will also cover this knot again as it builds other knots.
The Clove Hitch
The Clove Hitch is literally the same knot as above but tied twice.
It consists of one half hitch running one direction then with the same working end tie another half hitch going the opposite direction.
This provides a fantastically simple binding knot. On the job this is used for tying off extension ladders and hoisting tools as well as anything else a Firefighter needs to make up on the fly.
The Bowline Knot is one the most widely used knots in the Fire Service.
This knot dates all the way back to the 1600s where the first record of it appears. The Bowline knot provides a fixed loop with little chance of slippage great for hoisting equipment and tools and is sometimes used in rope rescue operations.
The Figure 8 on a Bight
Lots of Knots are used in the Fire Service for tying things off or securing equipment… but there are a few knots that are literally life saving.
Let’s talk about life safety knots.
This is the knot that most will use during rappelling and operations where the knot will support a suspended person.
This is a popular climbing knot as well due to its strength and minimal chance of slipping and coming untied. As the name states the knots forms a the shape of an eight ending with a loop on the end to clip in with a carabiner. If there’s a knot that you should add to your protection equipment, it’s this one!
The Butterfly Knot
This is interesting knot and used slightly more with the Ropes Rescue Tech Crews in Fire Departments rather than a standard New Firefighter.
This knot forms a loop in the middle of as long running rope without having to use either in of the rope. This provides an additional clipping point on long lengths of rope without much work or slack needed. This also allows the rope to be loaded in three different directions. Useful for tensioning systems when you are making a taught line.
The Truckers hitch
This last knot is actually a combination of a few knots.
A truckers hitch is a type of taught line traditionally used by Haulers to secure loads down.
There are a couple ways to tie this knot but its typically done by securing one end of the rope to a stationary object with a Clove Hitch.
Then taking the working end running it whatever length is needed around another stationary object then back on the standing in towards the clove hitch.
Here I personally tie a slip knot on the standing end. Once that fixed loop is tied the working end is passed through the loop and pulled back on its self.
This pulls a lot of tension on the rope to secure the object down. Finally tie a half hitch or two around the two standing ends to hold the line taught. This creates crude pulley system of a 2:1 ratio.
All Tied Up
So this isn’t a complete list of knots used in the fire service (As you could find a use for many knots out there) but a good list to have in your toolkit. Keep in mind that these knots will often go by different names and some variations to them. Get out in the bays, pull out some rope and practice, practice, practice.