GRATIS — The Village of Gratis Fire Department recently purchased new Genesis Rescue tools to replace old tools which have been used since the 1980s.
According to Assistant Chief Chris Allen, as new cars are produced, they are made with higher strength steel, making the old tools obsolete. Replacing outdated tools with new ones will allow the department the capability to provide quick, efficient rescues when the seconds matter the most.
“In motor vehicle accidents, drivers and/or passengers may become entrapped or entangled in the vehicle and cannot get out through the normal modes of escape. In these cases, the victims will need to be extricated by rescue personnel on the fire department. That is where extraction tools come in. These are tools that are hydraulic powered are used to cut, spread and/or push the metal components of the vehicle so that the victim may be rescued by the fire department and can receive emergency medical care as quickly as possible,” Allen said.
“In the auto manufacturer industry, technology is constantly evolving to produce stronger, lighter, and safer vehicles for consumers. While this is a positive factor, this also means that they are using exotic and laminated metals such as boron and ultra-high-strength steel reinforcements, which requires an enormous amount of compression force in order to break through it. If rescue tools are not current with the auto industry technology, these high strength metals can ruin tools very quickly during an extrication attempt, as they simply are not designed to withstand the strength of these metals.
“Rescue tool companies, such as Genesis, work in conjunction with vehicle manufacturers to design and produce tools to withstand the strength produced by advanced vehicle technology. They also collaborate with insurance companies to seek out the vehicles that present rescue personnel the greatest difficulty during rescue and extrication, in order to produce tools with the greatest effectiveness.”
He added, the previous set of extrication tools, produced by Holmatro, was acquired by the department in the 1980s. They had a set of cutters, spreaders, a ram, and the hydraulic pump. A set of tools typically has a life expectancy of 20 years and the department had their tools for 35 years. The technology was outdated and replacement parts were becoming obsolete.
The new set of tools is produced by Genesis. The department has cutters, spreaders, mini cutter (to cut brake pedals and other small things in tight work areas), and a ram. The hydraulic pump they have now also allows them to use two tools simultaneously, instead of just one at a time, which allows for multiple firefighters to work concurrently to perform a more time-efficient extrication.
In addition, the department also acquired a battery-powered combination tool which is powered by 28-volt batteries and allows one firefighter to quickly begin extrication in an emergency and has greater mobility than hydraulic powered tools. This combination tool can both cut and spread.
Allen added, “The fire department purchased these tools with funds that were budgeted for this purpose, as well as from funds that were raised by the community through events such as the annual boot drive, pancake breakfast, and spaghetti dinner. We greatly appreciate all of the support we’ve received from the community.”
“We continue to thank the community for your continued support.”
The department will be having a training on cutting cars on Monday, Feb. 12, with the manufacturer of the tools.