Phoenix Firefighter Develops Customized Big Spike Tools

Little Spike and Big Spike
Little Spike and Big Spike

Big Spike Tools, which the company describes as the ultimate knock-down, punch-out, vertically-ventilating firefighting tools, are available for fire departments worldwide.

The tools have been designed, tested and used by working Phoenix firefighters in more than 50 fire situations, according to Phoenix Fire Captain Mike Schamadan.

After years of fighting fires with traditional tools such as pike poles, axes and saws, he said he used his experience and knowledge to develop newer customized tools to make firefighters’ jobs easier and safer.

A 20-year fire veteran and a working ladder captain, Schamadan began adapting new shapes and materials to improve traditional firefighting tools in 1999.

“We just needed a quicker way to vent the ceilings and demo the walls,” he said. “The traditional pike pole doesn’t take out enough material with each strike. The Big Spike and Little Spike are much more efficient.”

Big Spike Tools feature three main components:

The foot of each Big Spike Tool is a serrated and gridded footplate made of Tenzaloy, a special aluminum alloy. The foot is used to batter, pound and punch through roofs, walls, and ceilings.

The spike, also made of Tenzaloy, is used in the venting process to open and pull ceiling and wall material. The design helps firefighters avoid pulling ceiling debris directly down on themselves. The spike end also serves a handle for extra leverage when serious holepunching is required. Ladder crews often use the spike end to open padlocks and door restraints.

The pole is a 2-inch diameter, resinreinforced fiberglass pole, making the tools strong, very lightweight and non-conductive.

The standard Big Spike is 78-inches long and weighs 11 pounds. However, if roof pitch angles or ceiling heights in a community require a longer Big Spike, custom lengths can be ordered at no additional cost.

The Little Spike is 30-inches long and features a “coal shovel handle” at one end, and either the foot or spike at the other end, making it ideal for close quarters venting and overhaul work.

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