Sunday, April 06, 2008


Elyria Township – Firefighters in Elyria Township spent the day Saturday training with a new piece of equipment that could potentially save their life one day.

Captain Tim Midkiff of the Elyria Township Fire Department said that they are the first Department in the State of Ohio to institute the use of the Petzl EXO. The EXO is a Personal Escape System that provides firefighters with a fast, reliable means of escape from a burning structure. A firefighter trained and equipped with the EXO system can quickly deploy the unique anchor and rope, then move rapidly towards an egress point and descend to a lower level. The self-braking EXO device can help prevent the firefighter from falling or losing control of the rope, allowing him to concentrate on getting out of the building. “The first time we saw this device was when the Technical Rescue Team from the County was invited to do some training at the Cleveland Fire Academy. We were in the process of applying for a FEMA Grant at the time so we decided to include this item into the application.”

Midkiff said that the grant was approved but not for the amount that would cover the cost of the EXO 100%, he said that at that point the Township trustees stepped up and said that they would cover whatever the grant did not so each Firefighter could be equipped with the device. “We are very fortunate that our Trustee’s are proactive in that sense, they have always supported our Department and they recognized the need and the benefit of the EXO and when they saw that the grant would not be enough to cover the purchase they stepped up in a big way and we are certainly grateful.”

Brett Bruehler is a Firefighter with the Avon Fire Department and also co-owns the company REVAC-USA along with Lorain Firefighter Dan Russell. Bruehler and Russell were conducting the training on Saturday in the Gross Plumbing building on Lake Ave; a site that Bruehler said was perfect for training. “Dan Gross not only allowed us to use this building for the training, he modified the window area by removing shelving and other obstructions so we could properly train the Firefighters. That is an enormous benefit to the Department having such cooperation with a local business such as Gross Plumbing.”

Bruehler said there were three testing stations set up throughout the building that Firefighters had to go through.

Station 1: A simulation of a rooftop exit where the Firefighter could have their feet against a wall during the escape.

Station 2: The Shaft Station. With an open elevator shaft the dynamics are different in that you have a free fall instead of having a wall where you can have your feet against.

Station 3: The Window. Bruehler said the EXO would be used on a window 9 time out of 10 in real time situations. The EXO System has a hook that is designed to work on a windowsill.

The pack that holds the system becomes part of the gear on a Firefighter and is self-contained. If needed the Firefighter deploys the unit by pulling the hook out and the self-camming device which is all hooked to the harness system. The Firefighter would find a remote anchor, hook up and bail out. The self-camming device prevents the Firefighter from falling if something happens. If for some reason he lets go of the device, it locks and he stops.

Captain Midkiff says that the addition of the EXO to their Department is a huge benefit. “The loss of a Firefighter for any reason is unacceptable and we are going to do everything we can to ensure their safety. It’s already been proven in New York City where it saved the life of a Firefighter there so I find it to be greatly beneficial for our Department.”

Bruehler said that he believes more and more departments will be adding the EXO to their equipment lists in the near future. He just hopes that communities are more pro-active then reactive in securing them. “Unfortunately in Firefighter equipment history, too often we are reactive. The national push is “Everyone Goes Home Alive” and this is just another tool that we now have in our grasp that can make sure guys, if they are in a compromised structure, can get out safely and go home alive.”

To see more photos from the training session: CLICK HERE

For more information on REVAC-USA you can visit their website at:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great device , shame you didnt provide any pictures of what is included in the kit. sure we saw pics of them useing it , but that didnt give us much of a real view of the device

4:09 PM  
Blogger TMC NEWS said...

To the anonymous poster who was upset that there weren’t close up detailed photos of the EXO. If you are that interested in the device I believe a link was provided to REVAC-USA for additional information and if you need more you could always google it. The piece was not a promotion for the device, it was a story on ETFD getting the device and the training day.

Sorry if you feel we failed you.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well like the first poster . if the public is more aware of what they are funding , then more likely they will buy into new equipment . dont look like constructive critisim is welcome here .........

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Michael Petruzzi said...

After reading the entire article and looking at all of the photos I had a pretty good idea that the device consisted of a red hook, a self camming device and rope. What else did you need to see? If you want to see close ups of all of the components maybe you should check out the chronicle or journal coverage of the new tool and the training that the fireman went through. Oh wait, they didn’t cover it.

There was also a link at the end of the story if you really wanted to research the item, SHAME you didn't look there or of course there is always google, SHAME you didn't look there.

TMC keep up the good work and I still vote that anonymous posters should be deleted.

Michael Petruzzi

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Eric L. said...

I second Michael.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous James said...

I clicked on the link and on that site is a video of how the device works and how it was made and everything i guess mr Anonymous is a lazy bastard..


10:02 AM  
Anonymous pete said...

i second eric's second of Michael

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it be tacky if I were to say that I second Petes second of Erics second of Michaels comment

Ray Ray

4:48 AM  

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