Rescue Squad Gets New Extrication Tools
 
By Assistant Chief Christopher Harris
August 7, 2017
 

Recently, officers and firefighters in our company had been looking into purchasing new extrication tools for our rescue squad to meet the demands of new automotive technology and due to the possible need to replace a special hydraulic pump that has nearly come to the end of its service. Over the last several years, many manufacturers of hydraulic rescue tools have made tremendous progress in battery powered extrication equipment to meet the demands of the fire services rescue needs. Most departments were looking for the same things we are, which included portability, weight, ease of use, rapid deployment, increased spreading/cutting capabilities and ease/reduced cost of maintenance.

For many years and currently, we use very good Hurst Rescue tools that are hydraulically powered by a pump (electric or gas). One of the spreaders (Jaws of Life) was originally purchased in the mid 1970's and continues to provide us with excellent service. These units have served us well, but they can at times limit movement around the rescue scene because of hydraulic lines and can sometimes take a bit longer to deploy. Some of them are extremely heavy and bulky to work with and if the incident is too far away from the unit, it requires us to haul a portable pump, multiple hydraulic hoses and the spreading and cutting tools closer to the situation. Also, when using the hydraulic line systems, we must use extreme caution to not get debris or dirt into connections which could end up in the lines and stop the tools from working.

One other thing that we found is that we also needed to keep up with new and different technologies in auto manufacturing. Vehicles are now using much stronger metals in the passenger compartments. Though these metals are very tough, they can still be damaged and can still trap passengers in the vehicle. We have found that our current equipment which operates at 5000 psi, may not be able to deal well with these new products and we are forced to use different methods to complete our job.

With all of this in mind, we began researching and testing a couple of different hydraulic rescue tool manufacturers' equipment. We found that most of these systems were able to exceed our current equipment's capabilities as well. After all of the research and testing was completed, we made the decision to purchase some of this new hydraulic equipment technology based on how it met our needs.

On the afternoon of Monday, August 7, 2017; we placed 3 new Hurst eDraulic rescue tools in-service. The tools include a SP333E2 Spreader, a S700E2 Cutter HSS and a R421E2 Ram. Each are battery operated and have the capability to be plugged into a 110V electric cord for constant use if the batteries are depleted. Each unit has a spare battery as well. The enclosed hydraulic pump systems for each tool, provide 10,000 psi working pressure and eliminates the possibility of contaminating the hydraulic fluid. Deployment of the equipment only requires a firefighter to pick-up the tool and go to work, as there are no hoses to pull or work around and each of the units either weigh the same or are only slightly heavier than those we currently use. They are capable of spreading, cutting or pushing the metals used in today's vehicles as well.

And, to top that all off, there is a reduction in the cost of maintenance. The other systems require us to service and change the hydraulic oil annually at a high cost. The new units will still be serviced annually, but only require hydraulic oil changes every 5 years and much less oil is needed to change it out.

Though we have these new tools, we will continue to keep some of our older system on the unit. This allows us to still have the capability of working on multiple vehicles at the same time. If you have questions about our new equipment, stop by and ask. We would be happy to show off our new stuff.

 
SP333E2 Spreader and S700E2 Cutter HSS. These are located in the passenger side rear compartment.
SP333E2 Spreader and S700E2 Cutter HSS. These are located in the passenger side rear compartment.
R421E2 Ram, spare batteries/chargers and a 110V power converter cable are located in the passenger side rear compartment as well.
R421E2 Ram, spare batteries/chargers and a 110V power converter cable are located in the passenger side rear compartment as well.
 
JL-500 Cutter, 72A Spreader (Jaws of Life), the MOC Cutter and two short hydraulic Rams, located in the driver side rear compartment. These tools must be connected to hoses and a pump provide hydraulic pressure.
JL-500 Cutter, 72A Spreader (Jaws of Life), the MOC Cutter and two short hydraulic Rams, located in the driver side rear compartment. These tools must be connected to hoses and a pump provide hydraulic pressure.
MOC Combi tool, two long hydraulic Rams and other miscellaneous rescue equipment are located in the driver side rear compartment as well. Again, these tools must be connected to hoses and a pump provide hydraulic pressure.
MOC Combi tool, two long hydraulic Rams and other miscellaneous rescue equipment are located in the driver side rear compartment as well. Again, these tools must be connected to hoses and a pump provide hydraulic pressure.