The Box Light

An essential part of a firefighter's load out is a flashlight.  One of the best options is in the form of a "Box Light."  The box light provides anywhere from 2-4 hours of light in the form of a solid beam that can help cut through smoke or illuminate the surface below it.  The box light helps illuminate our presence and can help with accountability.  The box light is a necessity for a firefighter that is performing a search. In addition to what I mentioned above, the box light can be left at a door, on top or bottom of the stairs, or at the bottom of a window during VEIS to help with orientation with in the structure.  Using the box light to sweep below the smoke helps illuminate the area we are about to commit to, gives us a better look at the floor lay out, and can help pinpoint victims or hazards. 

Anytime we run a call at night a box light is a must, whether it be EMS, public service, etc.  Having that light can help you read house numbers, spot tripping hazards and illuminate the area you are working in.  There are several brands available some have halogen bulbs others are LED.  The LED's are brighter however the halogen doesn't reflect back off the smoke as much as the LED's do, it does a better job of "cutting through the smoke."   Its all about personal preference.  I choose to carry the Advanced Lighting Corporation FD 1 LED hand light.  The FD 1 series of box lights has been the standard issue box light for the FDNY for close to 30 years.  It's rugged, simple and very reliable. 

I added a couple of things to my light that make it more functional for me.  First I wrapped the handle with O2 tubing and grip tape to make for a non slip grip that helps with having gloves on. The second is I attached a diving knife in a scabbard to the front of the seat belt strap just above the release buckle.  I added this as an additional measure to assist me in cutting my way through an entanglement.  I wear the light across my body under my SCBA at waist level with the light hanging by my right hip.  Some use a carabiner, "light drop buckle" on the SCBA waist belt, or wear it up high under their arm pit on a strap.  Whatever method you choose, develop a system that works for you and TRAIN with it.  Get used to having that box light on you and practice your searches, forces, ladder throws and hose stretches with it.  That way you will be comfortable with it when it's time to go to work.  Practice turning it on and off with your gloves on and removing it should you become entangled, then putting it back on once you are freed.  If you don't use one, try carrying one, if you currently use one keep building your skills and confidence with it!  

Be safe and be aggressive - Puzz