Tools of the Trade: Technical advances boost safety
By Pete Methner
At the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis in April, many firefighters had the opportunity to participate in the hands-on-training, or HOT, sessions
By Pete Methner
Hurst’s new Streamline technology coupling can be connected and dis-
connected under pressure and while wearing gloves.
At the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis in April, many firefighters had the opportunity to participate in the hands-on-training, or HOT, sessions. One of the areas I focused on was the hydraulic tool displays by the various rescue companies. This year, IDEX released its new Hurst Jaws of Life Streamline technology a comprehensive and advanced product range for technical rescue. Hurst has combined pneumatics, hydraulics, shoring and stabilization products and the Streamline technology provides the first complete product package with a reliable range of rescue tools that are faster, easier and safer to use.
The Streamline technology coupling combines the advantages of single coupling and two-hose systems, simplifying the connection and disconnection with one single coupling. This single coupling eliminates miscommunication between rescuers when calling back to the pump to dump pressure or to apply pressure at the power unit.
The Streamline coupling can be disconnected and connected under pressure. The advantage I found with this type of coupling is that you can still monitor and inspect both pressure and return lines to the power unit.
Unlike other technology, burst pressure on both hose couplings exceeds 44,900 PSI, which is very impressive.
The other nice feature is that the coupling can be rotated 360 degrees and it won’t disconnect or kink the hoses.
One of the complaints I hear now and again is that couplings are difficult to change while wearing structural gloves. The Streamline coupling can be changed with gloves on and the ease of connection and disconnection is impressive.
A more important feature that I like is that you can still run up to 100-foot hose lengths off of the hose reel and the coupling can be retrofitted to your existing Hurst high-or low-pressure system. That means departments do not need to buy new tools just to acquire these new couplings, rather older tools can be retrofitted for a small cost.
These Streamline couplings have an integrated pressure control valve, which makes dumping pressure obsolete.
And luminescent hoses now facilitate working in low-lit areas, which, again, are covered again by a 4:1 burst ratio.
Another feature that is not new to Hurst this year but has become standard is the Streamline Star-grip control valve that allows operators 360 degrees of safety while operating the tools and eliminates worry about pinched hands. This Star-grip control can be operated with only a one-quarter inch turn anywhere on the handle.
Among Hurst’s new tools for 2009 is its Streamline heavy duty cutter.
Hurst’s new SP310 Streamline spreader has a multifunctional tip that can be used for spreading, peeling, pulling and squeezing without having to change the tip. It is the largest tip in the industry and has a flared base to ensure that the metal you are spreading against stays off of the tool arm.
The more aggressive serrated face of the tip will ensure a grip that prevents the tip from slipping toward the patient when opened fully.
The SP310 also has a nice balance between 57,500 pounds of spreading force at a distance of 28.3 inches and a weight of just 43.2 pounds. This tool would work great for auto, bus and heavy truck extrication.
The SP512 spreader is a little smaller in length and offers up to 121,400 pounds of spreading force at the tip. With a smaller spreading distance of 24 inches, it weighs in at 57.1 pounds.
The larger, Streamline S510 heavy-duty cutter will cut any A, B, C post and side-impact bar on today’s modern passenger vehicles with ease. It offers a cutting force of up to 169,000 pounds, weighs 42.3 pounds and has an opening of 7.2 inches. It will tackle any large rescue incident involving rail, aircraft, naval or natural disasters as well as military or armoured scenarios. With a faster opening time, this tool is quick to deploy when needed as either a first-response tool or a support tool.
The Streamline technology will offer as many as six different cutters with force ranging from 41,000 to 236,000 pounds.
Hurst is also the first to launch the Triple Stage Rescue Ram. It’s small – just 18 inches long when stored – lightweight and has high resistance against lateral load.
It has the capability to extend 32 inches and push up to 30 ton in the first stage, 14.5 in the second stage and 4.5 tons in the third stage. It would be an asset in building collapse and disaster management. Streamline technology also offers both single-and dual-piston rams in different lengths.
Hurst’s power units are available in three sizes and deliver 10,150 pounds of operating pressure.
At the heart of all this new technology are, of course, Hurst’s power units. With single-tool operation and the larger simo and trimo units, the biggest advantage is that tools do not have to be disconnected while in motion. The operator of each tool also doesn’t have to wait for the pressure to be dumped and doesn’t have to worry about stealing power from the other tool.
The simo and trimo units each have separate pumps within the body of the reservoir. This has no effect on the other tools. The power units deliver 10,150 pounds of operating pressure and are still the lowest in the high pressure systems.
Another new product courtesy of Hurst and the auto manufacturers that will benefit rescuers is the crash-recovery system. Hurst provides the computer program on a DVD that can be loaded onto you department’s in-cab computer or onto a laptop. At an accident scene, simply type in the make and model of the vehicle and rescuers have quick and easy access to important details.
The system will tell you where the battery is located and provide information on air bags, including the number of airbags in the vehicle and the module location. Rescuers can also access a dissected view of the vehicle and all the safety systems in place.
New Genesis cutter
Another manufacturer, Genesis, launches its new All 9 cutter this year. It is made of high-strength aircraft aluminium and aluminium alloy forgings and has a wear-resistant anodized finish. The blades on the All 9 Cutter are made of forged steel.
The All 9 cutter had a D handle that can rotate 360 degrees or be removed when working in confined spaces, and it has a variable speed deadman control with load-holding capabilities and an over-pressurization relief.
The All 9 cutter produces more usable force at the centre and root of the blades. This force is available at the beginning of the cutting cycle when it is needed most.
The All 9 cutter also comes with a rechargeable LED lights that are built directly into the guard. It has a blade opening of 7.1 inches and a maximum cutting force of 231,000 pounds. It weighs 48.3 pounds and operates at 10,500 pounds of what?
I am waiting for the Genesis All 9 cutter to arrive so I can field test it.
Whatever rescue tool you use, use it safely and wisely. Rescuers must know their tool limitations before attempting to spread or cut through today’s technology.