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By Carl J. Haddon
Innovative marketing, clever advertising, and eager salespeople often like to tell us what they think we want to hear about a given product. Amongst those claims is the age old classic: “It cuts like a hot knife through butter.”
Although the RHYNO, produced by We Cut The Glass, LLC, Windshield Cutter does not use the aforementioned phrase in its advertising, after using this tool, I have to say that “this thing cuts through laminated windshield glass like a hot knife through butter!” In all sincerity, my statement is not a product endorsement, but a fact.
Having never seen this product before, I was first introduced to it at an annual training event in Pennsylvania in mid September. I was asked to teach an NVT Extrication class, and a local fire product dealer offered the RHYNO Windshield Cutter for use in the hands-on training portion of the program.
The rep walked up to a training vehicle, jabbed a hole into the windshield with the cutter, and proceeded to use the “glass shear,” much like one would use a sheet metal shear through thin metal. The product also comes with what the manufacturer calls a “mini halligan bar” to make the purchase hole, for those of us who aren’t comfortable in jabbing the shear through the laminated glass. The result was laminated glass cut without the traditional manual “sawing motion,” without the traditional flying glass particulate and dust and without the sharp jagged edges left by traditional windshield cutting methods and tactics.
In addition to the speed and ease with which the glass was cut, rescuers could cut around a partially ejected occupant, thereby allowing the person (or part of the person) to be removed from the glass, as opposed to the glass having to be removed from the person.
The RHYNO Windshield Cutter comes as a kit, which includes the following:
- 14.4 Volt RHYNO Windshield Cutter Tool
- Two Lithium Ion batteries
- Two Suction Cup Glass Lifters
- Cutter blade wrench
- Mini Halligan bar
- Carrying Case
- User’s Manual
Since new vehicles will soon be required to have side windows with laminated glass to help minimize occupant ejections, we will encounter more and more challenges with glass and its removal. We Cut The Glass, LL Chas introduced a rescue tool that addresses those challenges. Additionally, this doesn’t appear to be a tool just for the fire service. Law enforcement and other first responders could also benefit from having such a tool in their response vehicles.
CARL J. HADDON is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board and the director of Five Star Fire Training LLC, which is sponsored, in part, by Volvo North America. He serves as assistant chief and fire commissioner for the North Fork (ID) Fire Department and is a career veteran of more than 25 years in the fire and EMS services in southern California. He is a certified Level 2 fire instructor and an ISFSI member and teaches Five Star Auto Extrication and NFPA 610 classes across the country.