“Badaxx” makes an impression on Madison Township


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Imagine a Swiss Army knife-like version of a firefighter’s ax that can rip through an asphalt shingled roof with ease, serve as an anchor to rappel out of a burning building and glow in the dark.

The Badaxx is the newest tool in the Madison Township Fire Department’s firefighting arsenal, a $300 implement that impressed those attending the Madison Township trustees’ meeting June 21.

Madison Township Fire Lt. Mark Ballenger demonstrated the lighter weight ax—which he first saw at a firefighter’s conference. He said the tool is well worth the cost, considering its on-scene capabilities and critical time-saving features.

“Firefighters are somewhat resistant to change,” said Ballenger, “So I did some demonstrations and I think, so far, people are pretty impressed. It definitely has a different feel to it. It’s unlike anything else.”

According to Ballenger, the surface of a typical flathead ax gums up with sticky asphalt when used to access a roof during a fire. This increases the time it takes firefighters to create a vent to battle a blaze. The Badaxx rips through the same roof with relative ease.

If a firefighter becomes trapped, the high-tech ax can be driven into a floor or wall joist and used to anchor a rope as an emergency exit out of a burning building. The handle incorporates hydrant wrenches and the ax’s design also enables users to generate more force with less effort.

“This is a lifetime tool,” said Ballenger, “and takes the place of two other tools. You can use it to drive through floors or walls and to exit a building. We purchased one ax and it will be placed in service on our new engine.”

The Badaxx was designed by Spokane veteran firefighter Scott McCann and funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

“The design features are such that you are not left wondering what will I do next?” Ballenger. “They are designed for firefighters, not for what you need when you go to the store for an ax.”

Other township news

•The trustees approved a $2,500 resolution for gently used Blue Card CTC computers, programming and storage that can be used for a fire simulation system

If purchased new, the iPad configuration would cost approximately $9,600.

“This is a computer training system on wheels,” said Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Fasone. “It’s lightweight, portable and the software is also a big deal. They only had two (at a recent conference), so I spoke up pretty quickly.”

According to Madison Township Fire Chief Robert Bates, the system simulates variable and repeatable fire scenarios.

“The simulations are basically a fire,” said Fasone, “and each iPad is a piece of equipment. It is the closest thing to putting you in a scenario.”

Bates said the conference cost where Fasone acquired the equipment was much less than expected and even though the purchase of the Blue Card system was not in the department’s budget, the township still saved money.

•Lt. Kent Cheek was presented with a retirement flag after 27 years with the township as a firefighter, primarily at station 182.

•New Public Works Superintendent Dave Watkins proposed a new way of filling road holes that involves less manpower and a spray patching system. Currently, four people are needed to patch deteriorating roadways.

With the Durapatch system, only two individuals are needed, freeing up workers for other projects. The cost to purchase the machine is $56,000 with payments spread across five years after an initial down payment. However, the township is investigating a short-term lease agreement at $5,000 a month.

•Trustees approved resolutions asking Franklin County’s COCIC to acquire three land parcels in Blacklick Estates on Fontaine, Fullerton and Wyncote on behalf of the township, which did not sell at a Sheriff’s sale and are in the forfeiture process.

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