Chainsaw and the fire service, keep it simple.
When I worked at the Oakland Fire department, we used a large power head, a Stihl 044 and/or MS 440 chain (No special saw… fire service design etc or special fire service chain). Saws were equipped with carbide tip chains using a 404-7 sprocket and .404” 20-inch bar. This set-up is for structure fires only(See below). We bought the Oregon generic carbide tooth semi chisel design in a large roll and made up our own chain. It worked great.
This way we could replace broken teeth and have a chain with a full set of teeth for every fire. We also sharpened the teeth with a carbide tooth sharpening jig. They were the saw of choice on every pitched roof op. The OFD regularly does vertically vent roof ops because of a large quantity of balloon frame housing stock.
Chain of choice (Below)
Bar of choice for the OFD (Below)
Most of the small engine 2-cycle problems are from new blended ethanol gasoline (never had a saw not start or run well when taken care of). Any saw exposed to an air lean environment like heavy smoke will not run perfMake sure to understand the problem with modern gasoline blends. Buy non-ethanol blend gasoline for your small power tools, as ethanol attracts water. Damage to your equipment will result without quick use of ethanol blend fuel both in the saws’ tanks and in storage fuel cans. This is a major problem for the fire service with limited rapid use of mixed fuel and prolonged storage. By the way, you can get straight gasoline at most marine gasoline pumps; this is because the water absorption issue is a well known problem in the marine boating community.
Any chainsaw chain design, that protects the tooth too much, limits its cutting ability. Most fire service specific designed chain has this problem. You do not need a chain that cuts slow at the cost of preserving teeth. The bullet type chain is in my opinion the worst, almost none of the tooth is exposed the rake is huge and making the tooth almost useless. Sure it will last, but at the cost of functional operation.
Above: Note not only the very large rake but the small amount of cutting edge exposed on the tooth
Think of a chopper blade on a cir-saw, it has a deep gullet to provide both rapid removal of debris and full tooth exposure. Fire service chain saw chain does the opposite of that, there was nothing wrong with generic carbide tooth semi chisel design chain. You can even file the rake down a bit to make it even cut faster.
Please- GO OUT AND TRY IT- buy a generic carbide tooth semi chisel design chain you will be shocked it how it out performs fire service special chain. I recommend Oregon Chain and make sure not to buy their special fire service chain either. With increased price and expense does not always come increase performance. Fire service employees need to know the general physics regarding how tools work as well as proper care and maintenance of equipment. Only this knowledge will lead to the best and proper tool selection.
Captain Dennis Legear Oakland (CA) Fire Department