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Firefighter Swiss's army tool: Halligan

The Halligan Tool: A Versatile Firefighter's Best Friend

Welcome to our blog post dedicated to the incredible Halligan Tool! If you're unfamiliar with this versatile tool, get ready to discover how it has become an indispensable companion for firefighters around the world.

What is the Halligan Tool?

The Halligan Tool, also known as the Halligan bar or simply "The Halligan," is a multipurpose firefighting tool that has revolutionized the way firefighters handle various emergency situations. It was developed by Deputy Chief Hugh Halligan of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) in the early 1940s.

Key Features and Functions

The Halligan Tool features several essential components that contribute to its effectiveness and adaptability:


The adze, positioned on one end of the tool, consists of a flat, wide blade with a beveled edge. It is primarily used for prying and chopping, making it invaluable for breaching doors, windows, walls, and other obstacles.


Located on the opposite end of the adze, the fork features two curved, tapered tines. This component is ideal for leveraging and twisting objects, such as removing door hinges or manipulating debris.


The pointed end, often referred to as the "horn" or "pike," is situated between the adze and the fork. With its sharp tip, it allows firefighters to puncture materials and create purchase points for prying and manipulating objects.

Versatility in Firefighting

The Halligan Tool's versatility makes it an indispensable asset for firefighters in various scenarios:

Forcible Entry

During forcible entry operations, the Halligan Tool's adze is used to breach doors, break windows, or remove obstructions. The fork and point can be used to create leverage and manipulate locks, hinges, and latches.

Search and Rescue

In search and rescue operations, the Halligan Tool aids firefighters in locating and extricating victims. The pointed end can be used to penetrate through debris, while the fork can help in lifting and moving heavy objects.


Firefighters can employ the Halligan Tool to create ventilation points by breaking through walls, ceilings, or roofs. The adze allows them to cut or pry open materials, enabling the release of heat, smoke, and toxic gases.

Vehicle Extrication

When it comes to freeing individuals trapped in vehicles, the Halligan Tool is a valuable tool. It can assist in prying open doors, bending or cutting metal, and gaining access to the interior of the vehicle to perform rescues.


The Halligan Tool has undoubtedly revolutionized firefighting operations since its creation. Its versatility, durability, and effectiveness have made it an essential tool for firefighters worldwide. From forcible entry to search and rescue, ventilation to vehicle extrication, the Halligan Tool continues to save lives and protect communities.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Halligan Tool and its invaluable contributions to firefighting. Stay tuned for more informative posts on our blog!

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