|Champion’s BEAST 600 cutter|
|TNT’s SLC 29|
Powerful New Hydraulic Cutters
TNT Rescue and Champion Rescue tools showcased their respective new hydraulic cutters at this spring’s Fire Department Instructors Conference trade show.
TNT came out swinging with a new SLC 29 cutter. Claiming to “eat Boron for breakfast,” TNT’s latest tool boasts 269,000 pounds of cutting force. With this release, TNT breaks into the exclusive 250,000-plus pounds of force club of hydraulic rescue cutters. Available in 5,000 psi and 10,500 psi versions, the new TNT cutter is one of only a few with claims of cutting forces able to handle the rigorous demands of today’s new vehicle metals.
Shunt Valve Coupler
TNT also showcased its new NEXUS coupler, a shunt valve coupler that replaces standard hydraulic fittings on the end of the rescue tool’s pigtails, and/or on the ends of the twin line hydraulic hoses. The coupler allows “hot swapping” of rescue tools or can allow you to add sections of hydraulic hose while the working hose is under pressure.
Across the Indianapolis Convention Center hall, Champion Rescue Tools debuted its new BEAST 600 hydraulic cutter. Claiming an unprecedented 502,000 pounds of cutting force, the BEAST 600 claims to easily handle any and all new vehicle technology, as well as to double as the “ultimate USAR tool.” This version of Champion’s latest BEAST rescue tool will only be available as a cutter, as opposed to the original multi-tool BEAST, a cutter and spreader with interchangeable heads. The original BEAST claims 372,000 pounds of cutting force. The BEAST 600 adds 120,000-plus pounds of cutting force, claiming nearly twice the force of most competitors’ tools.
Other hydraulic rescue tool manufacturers showcased such accessories as lighted handles, swivel handles and other creature features. A number of rescue tool companies exhibited new products outside the scope of traditional cutters and spreaders. AMKUS displayed its ARRS1 Rope Rescue System and a new PTO-based power unit. Holmatro also showcased a new PTO-based power system. Some tool companies added airbags to their lines of products, while others displayed their tried-and-true products.
Paratech introduced its new all-in-one vehicle stabilization strut, which combines an attached heavy-duty ratchet strap, a twist lock collar adjusting mechanism, lightweight design and a multi-use tip. These struts have a 10,000-pound rating and a 2:1 safety factor.
Extrication glove manufacturer Dragon Fire, has new lines of extrication, structural and wildland firefighting gloves, most of them available with bloodborne pathogen barriers.
With the economy being what it is, coupled with the current value of the dollar, an increase in international visitors was experienced by most rescue tool manufacturers. The list of countries represented by visitors at FDIC included Canada, China, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and India.
FDIC’s extrication training programs were well attended, and the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads (FOOLS) party was very popular this year. It is always a great networking opportunity and this year was no different. It was fantastic to see and interact with our brothers and sisters, fellow instructors, business people and most importantly, our readers. Seeing and speaking with all of you reminded me why I postpone retirement and stay in this fantastic brotherhood that we call the fire service.
A New Twist
In an attempt to be reader responsive and make this column a bit more interactive, I am soliciting extrication-related challenges that you face while on duty. Whether it be a certain vehicle or type of vehicle that presented a challenge or a certain maneuver that you were unable to perform due to the model of vehicle or the limitations of your rescue tools, I would like the opportunity to help you overcome these challenges.
Additionally, I welcome the input of others who may have found ways to succeed in similar situations. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to help a number of you through this column and classes I’ve taught. However, I realize that I am only one firefighter/instructor with my personal experiences. Hopefully, we will be able to lean on each other’s experiences and make us all better and safer while on scene. Please send your submissions to [email protected].