Beatrice (NE) Tests Extrication Equipment

Beatrice Fire and Rescue (NE) workers are in the process of testing extrication equipment from four different vendors before choosing which equipment to buy.

Fire and rescue Chief Brian Daake said the current extrication equipment dates back to the early 1990s, and needs to be replaced to keep up with new vehicle manufacturing techniques.

“In the passenger vehicle protective systems, the technology has changed so much even in the last 10 years in how they roll the steel, the type of steel and how the vehicles are manufactured,” Daake said. “The tools that we have just don’t have the strength to be able to be able to extricate somebody who’s trapped in a vehicle.”

The new purchase follows Beatrice Fire and Rescue being awarded a FEMA assistance to firefighters grant in early February. The grant will provide $46,550 for the equipment, which is 95 percent of the expected total cost.

Specifics on the new technology differs based on the manufacturer, but in general new extrication cutting sheers are rated at around 12,000 pounds of force, spreaders at 60,000 pounds of force and rams — which can be used to lift a collapsed dashboard off a passenger — are rated at around 36,000 pounds of force.

Those numbers compare to the current equipment’s stats of 2,000, 15,000 and 17,000 pounds of force, respectively.

To test the equipment, Fire and Rescue worker Jeff Hays said each of the department’s three shifts will take a turn deconstructing an older vehicle donated by Beatrice Scrap, while each contributes to testing the equipment on a late-model Mitsubishi Outlander, donated by State Farm Insurance with the help of agent Cami Saathoff.

After all shifts have had a turn trying out the equipment, rescue workers will fill out an evaluation on which tools worked best before administration incorporates price into a final decision in the coming weeks.

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