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General Overview of Frame Spreader Use
Following are some precautions and tips you must consider
when using this tool:
1. Ensure the person creating the tool is a competent welder.
2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment to protect
your eyes, head, ears, body, and so on.
3. Use a heavy gauge material that can support the pressure
the tool will create while in use. Steel was used in the
4. Find the appropriate sized steel tubing. The hydraulic ram
cylinder has a diameter of 2¼ inches. The three-inch square
steel tubing that was used has a clear interior measurement
of 25⁄ 16 inches. This measurement works perfectly, leaving 1⁄ 16
of an inch of clearance to facilitate a nice, tight fit.
5. The three-inch square steel tubing was cut to 15¾ inches.
6. A four- × six-inch steel heel plate ¼ inch thick was cut.
7. The heel plate was centered at the base of the steel tubing
and welded to the bottom.
8. The tool was painted to match the colors of MFD Engine
9. Optional: You can weld a handle to the body of the tool. We
decided against this because the handle could potentially
limit the tool’s positioning if it were used in an operation
other than forcible entry.
In these tough times when budgets are tight and discretionary
spending seems to be shrinking by the day, creativity and ingenuity in the fire service are musts. If you have members in your
department who are skilled tradespeople and can fabricate a tool
like the Frame Spreader, make them feel like a valued member of
the team and ask them to create a tool that fits the job.
For the past two years, the MFD’s Engine Company #6 used
the Frame Spreader on 12 calls, each call ending with a successful outcome as well as positive feedback from the crew. The
Frame Spreader isn’t something that you will use every day, but
it is another tool to add to your ever-growing fire service “
toolbox.” Hopefully, it will benefit others in the fire service.
Author’s note: If you or one of your members is interested in
creating your own Frame Spreader, contact Mike Donegan at mdo-
ADAM J. HANSEN is a 10-year veteran of and a lieutenant with the
Milford (CT) Fire Department (MFD), where he is assigned to Engine
Company #7. Prior to joining the MFD, he served as a volunteer
with the Branford (CT) Fire Department. Hansen has a bachelor of
science degree in fire science (fire administration) and a minor degree
in criminal justice from the University of New Haven. He is also a
nationally registered paramedic and a state certified fire service
instructor I, fire officer I, incident safety officer, aerial and pump
operator, and trench rescue technician.