I am looking for tried and tested equipment for use in "Machine Extrication" rescues. I have seen various articles and ideas  recommended equipment for use when making specific kits for limbs and digits that have become entrapped due to industrial accidents, and rescues involving vending machines, etc.


Some years ago we responded to an incident on our Boardwalk in which a young female had become entangled in uncommon type of pretzel-making machine, involving her fingers and hand, up to her wrist. Often disassembly of the machinery becomes the best option. However due to construction, the majority of the machine that needed to be removed was of solid, single-piece construction. I was fortunate to have the resources of some very talented, skilled firefighters with a variety of trades skills and experience with mechanical equipment working the incident.


This brings up another point. While the younger generation joining our ranks are more skilled electronically, mechanical apptitude is becoming scarse. Anyways, with ALS intervention givings us some much needed time, we began to formulate various plans. Problems with heat transfer, vibration, and extreme angles all tied together each time something was attempted. In the end, we disassembled as much of the machine as possible, and transported the pateint to the ER with the frame and gear assembly. While her injuries were not fatal, she did suffer some permenat damage.


There have been several incidents since then, but none as mechanically challenging. I am looking for information on who uses what, besides the average hand tools, porta-power jaws, etc. Specifically, what type of saw is best...electrical, pnuematic, battery...and what type blade. We have the standard assortment of recip saws, but they produce too much vibration. Whizzer-type saw is what I am looking for.


Gimme some thoughts, please.

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I've run with two different heavy rescues that carried pneumatic tools for heavy machinery disentanglement. We had a pneumatic impact wrench to speed the dissasembly and a couple of pneumatic "Whizzer" saws to cut the metal. We also carried LOTS of WD-40 and an entire box of spare abrasive wheels for the Whizzer saw.

Brotherhood Instructors has a good article about "Man in Machine" calls here.

Some of the best machinery extrication around is the Farmedic program.
Even though their Man in Machine training is farm-oriented, most of the principles apply to industrial machines as well.

Whizzer saws are also known as Pneumatic Rotary Cut-Off Tools. The best ones use about 90 CFM of air and have a steel or Lexan blade guard.

The disadvantages - they throw sparks when cutting ferrous metals and they use a huge amount of air. If you can, add air chucks to your apparatus air brake systems for extra air. It also helps if the local factories have an in-house compressed air supply system. If they do, make sure that you carry adapter pigtails with chucks to connect your tools to their air.

For the really heavy stuff, there are Oxy-Acetyline torches, Petrogen torches, and plasma cutters.

I hope this helps.
Jeff, the Rotary Cut-Off tools come in two types - a 90-degree version (the classic Whizzer saw) and the in-line version shown here.

Here's a short clip of the classic Whizzer saw.

Thanks. Exactly what I am looking for. They have run the FarMedic program in a few other counties around here, and one or two of my staff had it, along with large animal rescue stuff. Even used that not long ago! The info on the blades and all is what I needed.

The problem we run into from time to time is such incidents that occur on our ("World Famous") Boardwalk. It made National news a few weeks ago due to a fall froma 156' Ferris Wheel. Anyway's, everything we do up there must be with portable equipment as most of the Piers are inaccessible by vehicles.

We have good amount of almost every type of extrication/stabalization/lifting equipment here. It was just that damn Whizzer with the proper angle and blade that eluded us. I will now make the trip off shore to the appropriate large chain store and make said purchase. Thanks Chief!
I'm glad I could help.
Years ago, I attended an agricultural rescue grainy program at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo, California. The most important thing I learned was to make use of air drive tools to simply disassemble the machinery, piece by piece vs. cutting or attempting to cut the metal, which in the case of agricultural farming equipment is a good idea because of the thickness and size od the components. Air bags might also prove to be helpful in controlling the removal of disassembled components. Perhaps you might find it useful to employ the same philosophy. Taking things apart prevents any heat generation from occurring when faced with the patients skin and tissues being in close proximity to the area you are working on.
Dissassembly is not always an option with heavy industrial machines. You can also use a trickle flow from a hoseline to handle the heat issues when cutting heavy metal.

I agree that heavy metal cutting isn't a first choice.
Chief, I wish I knew you were working on this project earlier. Brotherhood Instructors is having out first "Man-In-The-Machine" class next weekend in Fergus, Ontario. If you want to go I know a guy that can hook you up with a spot. We will be doing all types of machinery extrication scenarios and using a pretty extensive collection of tools. I'll be sure to get you some pictures.

As far as the cutting tools go, I like 2 types. The pneumatic wizzer saw works great but has its disadvantages. It goes through air very quickly, we carry a 1 hr cylinder for running the air tools. Second, the blades go quickly, just make sure you have plenty of spares. I prefer to have 2 wizzer saws in the kit so one can always be in use while the other is getting a blade change. The second tool I like is an electric 4 1/2" angle grinder. This tool works great for cutting metal and when there is electric present doesn't require the air supply of the wizzer saw. A good angle grinder is less than 100 bucks.

Heat transfer to the patient is a huge concern when cutting metal. One quick way to make a heat sync is to wet a towel or nomex hood and wrap it around the metal between the patient and the area being cut.

Disconnecting primary and secondary power to the machine is obviously a huge priority when dealing with these incidents. Stabilization of the machine with cribbing, chocks, straps, etc is less obvious but equally important. Many times the machine has stored energy or tension still on it.

I'll be in Wildwood Mon-Thurs, lets get lunch... or a beer if you can get your permission slip signed!
You can also use heat transfer paste or welding and cutting cold wrap to prevent heat transfer between a saw or torch and the patient.
Chris, Thanks, look me up. i have some $$$ left in the budget (going fast but damn I am like a ...like one of you guys in bar with a fist full of twenties. Except I don't drink cheap beer).

Let me know about that class. I aint gonna get to Canada no time too soon though, but I would be interseted in something like that down here.

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