Fire Axes

Just a quick one:

In many action-based films, games and TV programmes, characters find fire axes available in boxes on the walls of large buildings, easily obtainable by breaking the glass, rather like a fire alarm. These axes are then almost always used as weapons in a subsequent fight.

Is it really the case that these lethal weapons are so easily available? I have never seen one in the UK, nor on my single visit to the States. I can’t imagine one would really want amateur fire-fighters wielding these things.

Is their existence just a cinematic device?

ps. The plural isn’t ‘axs’ in the US, is it?

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them in the UK somewhere, although not for a while.

Pretty sure they had them at the school I attended.

Never seen one? They are everywhere around here. Hotels, office buildings, etc. They seem to be phasing them out lately, as I don’t think I have seen them much in newer construction, but they are there. But they aren’t a cinematic device by any means.

They used to be code-required items in certain situations, just like many buildings were required to have fire escapes and metal fire doors. But newer codes don’t require them anymore, I suppose because modern buildings are built differently.

That seems fairly bizarre. Fire hoses and extinguishers I can understand. And they have tiny little hammers in UK trains to break the windows in an emergency. But how often would a layman (non-fireman) need to hack down a door? And how wise would it even be to try?

They do seem to be falling out of favor as building codes change. An axe would be of little use in this building as the walls are concrete and the doors are steel.

Well, they’re not really for laymen. They’re for firemen who find themselves in a burning building with the need to hack down a door and they don’t want to go back out to their truck to get an axe.

We had a blue one in my father’s office in Vienna.

That explains it, thank you ever so.

Where else would you find a lethal weapon in a hurry?

I for one, welcome our new axe-wielding overlords…

I would have to class the ax along with the standpipe hose system and the fire extinguishers found in buildings, as for tenants only.
A Fire Department will arrive at a fire floor with there own equiptment. They will NEVER rely on fire tools put in the hallway of a business or residential building by the buildings owner. Anything like that, which is open to the general publics use, could not be relied on to be in workable condition.
Rich building or poor, these tools are constantly vandalized or stolen. They are in no way, anything that a Fire Department would even remotely, depend on.
YOU, the civilian who lives or works on a floor that has these items…it’s up to YOU to notify building management about any problems you may see. As I said, they are there for the tenants use, in a panic situation, if you can’t wait for professional help to arrive.