A fire axe is a type of axe which has been designed specifically for the use of firefighters, and it includes several features which make it ideally suited to emergency services in general. The primary distinguishing feature of a fire axe is the head, which features a classic axe blade on one side, and a pointed pick on the other. Companies which specialize in selling supplies to emergency services personnel often carry these axes, and they can also be ordered directly from manufacturers.
A typical fire axe is mounted on a long haft which has often been treated to be fire resistant. The haft is attached to the head especially firmly, so that the head does not fly off at inopportune moments. Typically, the head of the axe is also painted in bright colors which make it easy to distinguish in conditions of low visibility, and the pick and head may be painted in different colors so that firefighters can be sure they are working with the right end.
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The dual head design of the axe allows firefighters to carry one tool instead of two. Using an axe, they can cut down doors, quickly pry off trim and door jams, and lever away material like sheetrock and paneled ceiling tiles. Some axes are also designed to cut through electrical wires or to cut off gas, although these features may drive up the cost of the axe. Fire axes can also be used to quickly gain access to vehicles and perform other tasks which a fireman might need to do. The design of the axe is intended to promote safe, rapid, and efficient extrication of people and goods from fires.
Some construction workers, especially in demolition, also use fire axes. The rugged design of the axe makes it convenient for a wide range of applications, and some people also appreciate the company guarantees which often back the axes. These axes are also designed to be very lightweight, making them less of a strain to use, and they typically come with holsters designed to be clipped onto belts, complete with sturdy material which covers the blade of the axe and pick to prevent injuries.
As with any sort of bladed tool, a fire axe can potentially be dangerous if it is not handled properly. Firemen typically receive training in the use of an axe before they start their jobs, and they are expected to ensure that their equipment is in good working order so that it is ready for use in an emergency. In the case of a fire axe, an inspection typically checks to make sure that the head is secure, and that the blade is still sharp.