7 Jun , 17

Fireman’s Carry and other skills

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I have done the fireman’s carry enough times to be considered a court approved expert witness. Im not kidding. I think I might be in the thousands.

Fireman’s carry, opening bottles with no opener and backing trailers are the skills focus in this article. I will reveal a simple saying that will forever stick in your head so when you are backing your boat down a ramp with 15 people waiting to launch,  you will look like a rockstar.  In fact don’t be surprised if someone asks you for help.

Men were once responsible for plowing the field, building the house, and transporting the goods. Now, we can simply hire someone else to do the work for us. We spend most of our time engaged in technical professions rather than manual labor. The essence of what it means to be a man has changed over the last few hundred years.

Being a modern man means knowing more than just a few skills—it means being well-versed in a broad range of abilities. Below are a few of the skills you need to “be a modern man”. These skills will get you through your modern life with confidence that you can handle whatever problems arise.

Do A Fireman’s Carry

Basic training, Battle School, Platoon PT , Para Course, Firefighting Courses, Rappel Course , Basic SWAT course… I have done the fireman’s carry so many times it is bordering on ridiculous. In fact I might have as much time walking by myself as I do with someone draped on my back… ha just kidding… but it’s fun to tell trainees that when they are crying about carrying their teammates.

If you are training for a profession that requires you to potentially perform a rescue you can bet you will be doing fireman’s carrries.

In training there are 2 rules… 1. Always pick the heaviest guy or girl to lift. 2. See rule number one.

If you aren’t in  a profession that requires rescuing other people you still may find yourself in a situation that requires you to perform a fireman’s carry.

What do you do if you’re hiking and your buddy gets injured and can’t walk? You can’t sit around waiting for rescue services to find you, so you have to “self-rescue” and find your own way out of the situation. But the fact that your buddy can’t walk (due to injury or unconsciousness) makes things difficult. You’re going to have to carry him if you want to get back to civilization.

Enter the Fireman’s Carry: the most effective way to carry someone to safety. It’s used by everyone from the Boy Scouts to the Fire Department to the Special Forces. It provides a way to distribute the person’s weight as evenly as possible across your shoulders and back, making it easier for you to haul the person over long distances. You’ll find it reduces the strain on your body and increases your chance for self-rescue.

How to Do the Fireman’s Carry:

Step 1: Get the victim on their feet. If they’re unconscious or badly wounded, this may be easier said than done. Roll them onto their stomach, kneel by their head, and wrap your arms under their shoulders and armpits and around their back. Shift your weight backward and use your leg muscles to push you upward as you raise the victim to their feet.

Step 2: Get under the victim. As they’re upright, place your right knee between their legs, grab their right hand with your left, and drape their right arm over your shoulder. Stick your head under the victim’s armpit and wrap your arm around the back of their right knee. Squat to let their body drape over your shoulder. Shift the body around until the weight is distributed evenly on your shoulders and upper back. The weight should rest on both shoulders, not just your right shoulder.

fireman's carry - Alpha NationStep 3: Grab the right wrist. Your right arm will be around the back of the victim’s knee, and pass the victim’s right hand toward that knee and grip it tight. This will “close the knot”, giving you control of the person’s body weight with just the right hand. Your left is free to carry a weapon, repel attackers, or control your descent of a steep trail.

This position takes a bit of practice to master (getting an unconscious person onto your shoulders is tough!), but once you get it right, you’ll find it’s a highly effective way to carry someone long distances. The distribution of weight on both shoulders reduces the strain on one side of your body. Your upper back, core, hips, and legs will help to carry the weight, enabling you to go longer without feeling tired.

Bonus: The Ranger Roll

This is badass… seriously.

Trying to get an unconscious victim to their feet long enough to roll them over your shoulders is NOT easy. The U.S. Army Rangers have a brilliantly simple and effective trick to get someone up onto your back for the Fireman’s Carry:


Amazing, isn’t it? This one will also take a lot of practice, but once you master it, you’ll find you can get anyone on your shoulders in a matter of seconds.

Open a Bottle Without an Opener

No matter where you go, you will always find that need to be opened. Perhaps the six-pack your buddy brought is a regular bottle top and not a twist-off, or the soda you bought on your vacation is in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one.

Fun Fact: Beer is the safest liquid to drink in case of a nuclear apocalypse. The airtight seal of the glass bottle is impenetrable and last for years. But only proper bottle tops will work—twist-off tops may not hold the  seal as tightly.

One downside of relying on a bottle opener is that you can’t always travel with it. Maybe it comes with a knife blade that the TSA won’t allow on your flight, or it’s too bulky to fit into your camping gear. There will always come a time when you find yourself with a bottle that needs opening but no bottle. So what do you do?

Use a countertop/surface with an edge

The edge of a countertop or table could be just what you need to open the bottle. Place the edge of the cap against the corner of the table or countertop, press the bottle against the counter, and smack the top of the bottle downward. If done right, the top should pop off the bottle.

Warning: This bottle-opening method could “take a bite” out of your table or counter. Concrete edges may chip off. With wooden tables or counters, the bottle could leave what look like teeth marks in the edge. Tile and glass will certainly break. You may even damage imitation marble or granite.

ONLY use this method on a counter or surface you know has a durable enough edge to pop off the top without taking damage.

Try a Lighter

Using a lighter isn’t the easiest or most effective method for opening bottles, but it comes in handy in a pinch.

To open the bottle, press the flat side of the light against the bottle top and. Use your finger or thumb as a fulcrum and push the sparking end of the lighter downward. The flat end will push upward, popping off the top.Open Bottle With A Lighter - Alpha Nation

Warning: DO NOT use a fancy Zippo lighter for this—the bottle top could damage or scratch the stainless steel. Use a cheap plastic lighter whenever possible.

Use Silverware

Spoons are the most useful pieces of silverware to open a bottle, but you can use a fork or knife as well. It’s all about the thickness and strength of the handle and tip.

Spoon: Insert the tip of the spoon beneath the teeth of the bottle cap and, using your finger or thumb as fulcrum, push downward on the handle. The tip of the spoon should pop the top off easily. If it doesn’t get it first try, insert the tip at the same place and repeat.

Fork: Do NOT use the tine end of the fork, but the tip of the handle. Place the tip under the cap’s teeth and, using your finger and thumb as a fulcrum, push downward on the tine end.

Knife: Do NOT use a steak knife or serrated knife. Work with a butter knife, and use the tip of the handle instead of the blade. Insert the tip beneath the bottle cap and, using your finger and thumb as a fulcrum, push downward on the blade end. The top should pop off easily.

Warning: Fancy silverware (made of real silver) could be damaged by this trick. Only use stainless steel silverware to open bottle tops. Spoons are the best option (less risk of damaging the bowl tip.

Use a Vending Machine

If you’re near a vending machine, look for the slot where you insert the coins. Place the cap inside the slot and push down firmly or give the top a smack. The top should pop open (but it won’t slip down the coin slot).

Warning: Only do this if the coin slot is made with metal. You could break/damage/ruin a plastic coin slot if you use it to open a bottle!

Use Your Car

There are two ways your car can help you open a bottle:

  1. Use the seat belt. The average seat belt has a latch that should be just wide enough for you to slip the bottle top into. Not all seat belts have the right design, but most have an opening that’s perfect for opening bottle tops.
  2. Use the door latch. Open the car door and look at the metal latch on the vehicle’s body (not the door). The metal latch is more than strong enough to open a bottle without wearing or being damaged. Tilt the bottle AWAY from you and hook the cap on the underside of the latch. When you pull the bottle downward, the top should pop off nicely.

Just be careful not to damage your car!

Use a Ring

If you have a durable ring made out of titanium or stainless steel, you can pop open bottles in a second. Now you have an actual reason to wear that jewelry!

To open the bottle, slide the edge of the ring up and under the teeth of the bottle cap. Curl your finger around the cap and lift your hand in an “up and forward” motion. The cap should come right off.

Warning: Gold and silver rings will be damaged by bottle cap teeth. Only use a ring you don’t mind damaged or one made out of a more durable material.

Your finger will hurt at first, as the ring and bottle will place a lot of pressure on the bone. However, after a few weeks of regular practice, your body will adapt and it won’t hurt.

Try a Hammer

If you’ve got a hammer with thin claws (a framing hammer, claw hammer, or roofing hammer), you can use the claw to pop open the bottle.

Turn the hammer upside down, insert the tips of the claws under the bottle cap, and, using your finger and thumb as a fulcrum, pull the handle away from your body. The cap should pop off.

Back A Trailer

back a trailer - Alpha NationWhether you’re a trucker, a camping enthusiast, or a guy who wants to take his family on a cross-country road trip, it’s important you know how to back a trailer accurately. It’s a lot more challenging than you’d expect, so get a lot of practice before taking the trailer on the road!

How It’s Done

  • Remember: the trailer will go in the OPPOSITE direction of the rear of your car. Turn the wheel left to make the trailer go left and vice versa.
  • Always start with your trailer and vehicle in as straight a line as possible. That will give you greater control over the angle of the trailer.
  • Look over your shoulder or use your driver-side mirror. Ignore the rearview and see everything with your eyes.
  • Go slowly. You’re going to have a very hard time getting this right the first few tries, so go slowly and adjust as you park.
  • Try to reverse to the left (the driver side). It will give you a full view of the trailer in your mirrors.

Pro Tip – If you never want to forget how to back a trailer remember this simple but effective phrase – ” Turn Towards Your Mirror To Make It Disappear” – This means when you see the trailer or boat in your mirror and you want it to change direction, simply turn your steering wheel in the direction of the mirror you see the trailer in and it will change directions.

If you can master these skills, you’ll be ready for anything.  There are always going to be challenges in your daily life, but a well-versed man is able to cope with a broad range of situations, emergencies, and problems!


Todd Lamb is one world's most trusted sources of Health and Fitness information and programming. He has dedicated his life to the service of others having served as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment in the Special Service Force and as 17 year veteran Police Officer with 10 years on SWAT and 4 as a Team Leader. Todd is dedicated to transforming the lives of 1,000,000 men through honest science based information backed up with years of practical experience in Tactical Operations. Todd is a Best Selling Author of multiple best selling fitness programs and the book STAND APART

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