Ability of current Rescue Tools to Cut, Shear and Bend High Strength Metal Alloys and Composite Materials

With the introduction of high strength metal alloys and composite materials into vehicles, we have found that current rescue tools do not have the ability to cut, shear or bend these materials.  The Fire Protection Research Foundation have task together a group to gather information regarding the issues being faced by fire and rescue personnel in the field.  1) Identify extrication scenarios where rescuers have faced high stength metal alloys and composite materials resulting in problems of cutting, shearing and bending using rescue tools.  2) Assess high strength metal alloys currently being used in vehicle manufacturing and future use in vehicles.  3) Develop a field inventory of powered rescue tools in use today according to their age and capabilities.  This will include air chisels, reciprocating/sawzalls, spreaders, O-cutters amd rams.


Please forward your comments, scenarios and information on your rescue tools (age of tool, operational ratings and type of tool). 

E-mail:  lewfirechief@yahoo.com


Thank you for participating and providing this information.  Be Safe!


Lewis R. Austin, Chairman

NFPA 1936 Standard on Powered Rescue Tools





Views: 1690

Replies to This Discussion

Had the chance to practice on a 2011 Honda, could not cut the A post, we spent 4 hours looking for other solutions. Leaning towards a circular saw with metal cutting blade, seems to work the best. Light weight, easy to control, no or mimunal sparks and does the job. Bottom line is we can not attack extr. the same way we have for the last 20 years. Need to start with the weak points of the cars, roof, rear window, etc. make a big opening where you can. Traditional ways of attack on the A or B posts is too time consuming. Learn about vehicle construction and understand where to attack.
have you tried res-q tek. haven't had a problem with them failing to cut or spread yet.
The boron-rated Genesis cutters and combi-tools work fine on high-strength steel alloys.

"Boron Capable" is a trademark of Genesis Rescue Systems.
Genesis boron-capable cutter vs. sawzall demonstration

I haven't been able to find an online price but would suggest that if you're interested in the system, you'll need to price out the pump, hoses, cutter, spreader, ram, combi-tool, and whatever accessories you want as a package deal. Depending upon the dealer, that can affect the price of the individual components.
What tools wouldn't cut the 2011 Honda A-post? Brand? Model number?
It was an older Hurst cutter, not sure of the model. I will have another chance in the next month, this time we will be using our new model Hurst cutter and I will let you know how it goes.
Thank you for your comments. Yes, we in the fire and rescue are being faced with new challanges and need to look outside the box until tools are updated and new techniques are developed. Be safe!
Has any one used the New Halmatro tools with CORE technology? Played with it a bit but haven't got to try it on any high strenght stuff. The Cutters are rated at 205,000 psi so i would think it would be cable of cutting the high strentgh alloy stuff. We run the older version of Halmatro tools but hopefully will be getting a grant in the near future to buy a new set and have a set of tools at all 3 stations.
We looked at the Holmatro CORE system but eliminated it as an option early in the selection process.

The problem is that the CORE system still has two hoses - Holmatro just buries the power hose inside the larger-diameter return hose. That completely eliminates the possibility of inspecting the side of the hose loop with the highest pressure and the highest probability of failure during use.

I prefer the twin-hose, single-coupling systems. Genesis and Hurst both make them. We bought Genesis based on their tools having features that Hurst does not. The Hurst tools were a close second in the competition. No other tool even came close to our specifications.
If the Holmatro High pressure line were to break it would break in-side the low pressure line - preventing anybody from being hurt. If you want to inspect it you can simply remove the coupling and take out the high pressure line. But if you have no damage to the outside low pressure line - how is the inside high pressure line going to be damaged. Do your homework next time. A true and complete evaluation of any tool is the only fair one.
You apparently have very little experience with hydraulic rescue tool hoses. They can fail from repeated wear in the fibers in the hose wrap, they can fail from bends at the coupling swaging, they can fail from materials defects, and they can fail just because anything manmade will eventually break.

If the high pressure line breaks inside the low pressure line while in use, the only thing that tells you that there's a problem is degraded tool performance and maybe the inability to actually cut the car. You also probably won't be able to find the leak in the field and replace only the hose with the problem, then keep extricating. You'll have to remove the entire system from service, or have a trial-and-error hunt for the leaking hose while the patient waits on your team to figure it out.

"Do your homework next time." Frankly, that's a B.S. statement. I did my homework, as did the evaluation team on my department that discarded the idea of buying any Holmatro product because they can't perform as well as either the current Hurst or Genesis products. Another place the Holmatro tools didn't stack up against either Hurst or Genesis was that their tools don't have all of the features we wanted.

Oh, and we figured that out during a "true and complete evaluation". A really complete evaluation shows that you can settle for Holmatro, but if you want the best, the Holmatro won't even make it to the finals with the Hurst and Genesis products.

If you want a hose system that hides problems from you, the Holmatro Core technology is fine. If you don't, stick with a twin-line system that promotes immediate field troubleshooting if there's a problem during the extrication.
Very Little experience with hydraulic hose - just 28 years.
If you did your homework?
Why is Holmatro the number 1 selling tool on the planet?
There not the cheapest! In fact they are the most expensive.
Bargain-NO Quality/Value-YES facts don't lie.


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