Halligan bar

Halligan bar

A Halligan bar (also called a Halligan tool) is a special tool commonly used in the fire and rescue service. It was designed by and named after Hugh Halligan, a First Deputy Fire Chief in the New York City Fire Department, in 1948, based upon the well known Kelly tool. [ [http://www.firefactory.com/FE.pdf "Forcible Entry Reference Guide - Techniques and Procedures,"] "New York City Fire Department", December 2006, Accessed December 29, 2007.] The Halligan is a multipurpose tool for prying, twisting, punching, or striking. It consists of a claw (or fork), a blade (wedge or adze), and a tapered pick, which is especially useful in quickly forcing open many types of locked doors. Either the adze end or fork end of the tool can be used to break through the latch of a swinging door by forcing the tool between the door and door jamb and prying the two apart, striking it with another Halligan, a Denver tool or a flat-head axe. Using a K-tool and the adze end, a lock cylinder can easily be pulled. There are many other uses of the Halligan tool, including vehicle extrication and opening of walls.

A particularly useful variant of the Halligan has a heavy sliding collar on the shaft. Once the prying end of the tool is wedged into position, the sliding 'hammer' is used to force the wedge, allowing for proper seating, prior to prying. The adz end is also assisted by using the sliding hammer to generate forced traction on a hooked cylinder.

The true Halligan is a forged tool, of one piece construction, available in a number of lengths, and of various materials, including titanium or stainless steel. Carrying straps or rings can be found.

A Halligan bar and a flathead axe can be joined together (and partially interlocked, head-to-toe) to form what is known as a "married set", or "set of irons" — a particularly useful combination.

They are standard equipment for fire departments worldwide.

Note: The Halligan bar shown to the right is made of multiple pieces of metal that are pinned together at the "mating points". Some consider this is not a true Halligan and is what some firefighters call a "hooligan" tool.


Additional reading

*Essentials of Fire Fighting; Hall, Richard and Adams, Barbara, Eds.; 4th Ed., 1998: Board of Regents, Oklahoma State University. ISBN 0-87939-049-2

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