Rescue Tools for Tomorrow
The single most dangerous opinion in fire and rescue services is: “this is how we’ve always done it”. The world is evolving and changing at an ever-increasing pace and continual advances in rescue tools and equipment are necessary for technology to keep up with the different demands these advances pose.
To keep up with these rapidly shifting challenges the CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Services) Commission for “Extrication and New Technology” is encouraging and facilitating communication and collaboration between fire services and other emergency services around the world. Innovation requires the necessary flow of information about new products and their usage, to build consensus, efficiency and share knowledge.
New vehicle technologies and the many types of motor vehicles on the road present fresh challenges for fire services and rescue organisations. All motor vehicles on the road today have multiple potential hazards that may confront emergency responders. Some of those hazards are independent of the type of propulsion system used, such as compressed gas or the explosive cartridges used for air bags. Advancements in safety standards in the industry safety standards have also altered vehicular structural requirements and this has brough about a concurrent increase in the usage of advanced high-strength steels and new materials such as carbon fibre. Reinforced or high-strength structural steel has not just increased in strength but is also being put in more locations within vehicles and nearly every large vehicle manufacturer has said that in the future they will incorporate more improved, high-strength steels and composite materials into future designs.
The number of electric vehicles on the road is rising rapidly due to a growing emphasis on superior fuel efficiency, and the risks associated with batteries, energy storage systems, self-driving technology etc… make rescue operations increasingly difficult. The type of drive system can have a direct effect on particular aspects that affect vehicle extrication, for example: high-strength structural elements which are required to support the main battery in an electric vehicle.
In response to these new challenges and requirements that technological advances regulations now pose the amount and variety of rescue tools and equipment available to fire and rescue services has increased dramatically.
Rescue Tools Examples:
- Combination tools
- Reciprocating saws
- Angle grinders
- Disc cutters
Once the need for a particular tool has been acknowledged, it is essential for the user to select the most suitable tool required for the task at hand. Most manufacturers offer a wide range of tools for different scenarios, from smaller tools designed for use in confined areas, to heavy- duty equipment necessary for larger, more demanding tasks, or in scenarios where space is not at a premium. It is recommended to select the smallest suitable tool for the job to help to avoid injuries and issues with manual-handling. This will reduce potential risks to the operator and lessen the necessity to rotate crews, which will in turn speed up the extrication process and avoid excessive stress to any potential casualties.
Manufacturers are required to offer effective guidance on the best practice for usage of their tools. This should include how to connect the equipment, its correct usage, advantages, possible techniques and particular difficulties and limitations, as well as the specific maintenance requirements to make sure that the tools are ready for any situation. Fire and rescue services are also responsible, under legislation and regulations, to maintain effective policies and practices and to provide adequate information, training and supervision to their employees about potential risks and the means by which these risks can be reduced.
With their new SMART-FORCE series, WEBER RESCUE SYSTEMS are heralding a digital revolution in the rescue tool market. The SMART-FORCE series of rescue tools illustrates the necessity of the digitalization of the industry.
- Revolutionary cutting technologies and Milwaukee M18™ High-Output™ batteries
- Optimized for underwater use
- Communication via WLAN/UMTS connection
- Web interface for device management & mobile app with smart features
- New cutting technology SMOOTH CUT enables the world’s first F7 cutter
The new series of SMART-FORCE rescue tools, integrate smart functions into the rescue devices themselves. This makes it possible for equipment to communicate vital information via a WLAN/UMTS connection and offers many additional functions for device control and management within the WEBER web interface for device management & mobile app with numerous smart features.
The powerful M18™ High-Output™ Milwaukee battery provides more speed for longer, and the intuitive design and robust and underwater capable housing make SMART-FORCE devices more than just a rescue tool. New SMOOTH CUT cutting technology enables the world’s first F7 cutter to NFPA standard.
- Rescue work is possible in salt water up to a depth of 3m.
- A scale monitors the pressure range of the tool during its operation
- For even faster work, the e3 series has a turbo function.
- The rescue tool also provides feedback about the current battery capacity.
- A direction indicator shows whether the unit is opening or closing.
- For the safety of the user indicator lights warn of incorrect handling and a temperature indicator warns of overheating of the unit in case of extreme load.
Data from the equipment is processed by LUKAS’ web-based database Captium, which has been developed with Microsoft. This database will then transmit technical reports, safety analyses and a full overview of all the devices connected to the database. The Captium database will also provide location and status updates for all rescue tools in the fleet. Captium updates automatically, in real-time which allows users to react quickly to any issues with the equipment to solve any problems faster and more efficiently. If there are errors, the e³ CONNECT devices automatically alert the responsible users after their most recent data transmission as soon as the devices have connected to the Captium software. This powerful error detection system is vital to maintain device health and longevity.
Innovation is at the heart Holmatro Rescue Equipment’s philosophy, and their next generation battery-powered rescue tools deliver unmatched performance at a higher speed. Especially when it really counts. The new Pentheon series of rescue tools are faster than all other rescue tools on the market.
- Stepless speed maximization feature
- Ultimate control with the new two-mode control handle
- On-tool charging makes battery management simple
- New technology means Pentheon batteries will last longer than ever
- Temperature management for working in extreme weather conditions
- Pentheon tools can be used while being fully submerged in water
- LED indicators and Diagnostics software to monitor battery health
- Compact, inline design, easy to manoeuvre – motor, pump, and battery integrated into the design
- Inline control handle with 360° access and integrated LED lights for easier handling
When saving lives, time is of the essence as even a few seconds can make the difference between life and death. Holmatro has introduced an innovative to the Pentheon series of rescue equipment called “Stepless Speed Maximization”. This is a mechatronic inside of the tools which monitors and automatically adjusts motor and pump settings to optimise their performance and provide the highest possible speed for a particular load.
The Pentheon series of rescue tools have built in speed control for the safety of both the user and potential casualties. This allows the user to switch between high power and low power modes at any moment throughout a rescue operation. Pentheon series equipment has been designed to function in all weather conditions, even underwater. In extreme temperatures, Pentheon tools will automatically switch to a lower power mode. This mode does not reduce force, however, which allows work to continue in difficult scenarios and under high loads.
Holmatro’s new inclined cutter in the Pentheon series of tools is a leap forward. With a first of its kind, 30-degree angled jaw, the Holmatro Inclined Cutter not only improves user comfort but also maximises the ability to work in tight and awkward spaces. Inclined cutting is a revolutionary cutting technology.
Rescue Tools for Tomorrow is written by David Blackbourn Contributing Editor at Marcus Media.