There are several emergency types that first responders answer to. Firefighter extrication tools come into action when it involves rescue operations. That’s when a person has had an accident and gets trapped.
What is extrication?
Extrication aims to create an opening that allows access to the victim quickly. Once created, the first responder can remove them safely.
Common rescue scenarios include a building’s rubble, a vehicle accident, and many other diverse combinations.
To minimize the risk of further injury, firefighters must use the proper extrication techniques to avoid damaging the victim’s body.
What are firefighter extrication tools?
Firefighter extrication tools are devices that help to rescue people who get trapped in vehicles, a collapsed home, or other confined spaces. These rescue tools can cut through metal, glass, and other materials quickly and safely.
This equipment includes various devices, from hydraulic spreaders and cutters to airbags and saws. Each device helps first responders remove people from multiple situations.
In addition, firefighters carry a variety of personal protective equipment, such as helmets and gloves, to help keep them safe while they work.
With the right equipment and training, first responders can extricate victims from even the most complicated situations.
Types of firefighter extrication tools
The most common type of extrication tool is the hydraulic cutter, which uses powerful hydraulic jaws to cut through metal and concrete.
Other standard tools include rams, which are used to push and pull apart debris, or spreaders that create an opening in compacted wreckage.
Shears and saws can break through metal, glass, and other materials.
Most fire departments carry an assortment of equipment, tools, and kits for any possible emergency.
They are valuable devices, as they can cut through metal, wood, and concrete. This makes them ideal for situations where time is of the essence.
In addition, hydraulic cutters can be used to create ventilation openings in facilities that are on fire.
By cutting through walls and ceilings, firefighters can create gaps that allow heat and smoke to escape, making it easier to extinguish the fire.
Consequently, hydraulic cutters are an essential piece of equipment. Firefighters have proven their usefulness repeatedly in field operations.
This simple device can break through walls and doors, allowing firefighters to reach people trapped inside burning buildings. They help clear debris and create ventilation shafts.
In addition, rams can be used to prop up collapsing ceilings and walls, giving firefighters a chance to escape from collapsing buildings.
Rams come in various sizes and shapes and contain multiple materials, such as wood, metal, or composite plastics.
In ancient times, people would decorate their rams with fire symbols or other images that would strike fear into their enemies hearts.
Today, rams are essential to many first responders’ toolkits and have been used to save countless lives.
They can open doors, windows, and vents, allowing firefighters to enter a burning building and rescue those trapped inside.
They are invaluable for venting smoke and heat. In addition, the spreaders can help to create an escape route for firefighters who may become disoriented in the thick smoke.
Spreaders come in various sizes and designs, each with advantages and disadvantages.
As a result, firefighters need to consider their needs before selecting a spreader.
They can cut through debris, including walls, floors, and ceilings, making them essential for accessing trapped victims.
They can cut through metal, allowing firefighters to access areas that might otherwise be inaccessible.
In addition, shears can be used to cut through electrical wiring, helping to prevent fires from spreading.
While many diverse types of shears are available, choosing a durable and well-made pair is essential. A good pair of shears will last for many years. Furthermore, they can make the difference between containing a fire and being unable to control it.
Firefighters rely on saws that can cut through debris.
The most common type of saw used by firefighters is the chain saw, which features a rotating chain that tears through the wood.
However, chainsaws can be dangerous, requiring regular maintenance to keep them in good working order.
Another option is the circular saw, which uses a blade to make clean, straight cuts. Circular saws are lighter and easier to maneuver than chain saws, but they can be less effective in cutting through thicker materials.
In addition, firefighters use saws to create ventilation holes in burning buildings. These holes help to improve visibility and reduce the risk of smoke inhalation.
Ultimately, the type of saw a firefighter uses depends on their availability, training, and experience.
How have firefighter extrication tools evolved?
Over the years, firefighter extrication tools have become more efficient and effective at rescuing people from all situations.
The earliest extrication devices were little more than brute force devices. Their purpose was to break through debris and get to the person as quickly as possible.
However, these devices frequently caused more harm than good and resulted in many injuries.
Today’s extrication tools are much more sophisticated and minimize the risk of injury while getting the job done.
Newer devices use hydraulics and other technologies to apply force more precisely, making them much safer and more effective.
In addition, new materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber have made these gadgets lighter and stronger than before.
One example is a unique gadget called the Jaws of Life, for which we have an entire article.
As a result, today’s extrication tools are different from their primitive predecessors.
What happens if someone uses extrication tools the wrong way?
If someone misuses extrication tools, they can cause severe damage to the victim or the rescuer. The most common mistake is using the wrong gadget for the job.
For example, using a saw to cut through metal instead of a cutter can cause the metal to splinter and injure the victim.
Another mistake is using excessive force that can cause damage.
For example, a first responder may forcefully use a pry bar to open a door. By doing so, he can break the door frame or crush the victim’s fingers.
Finally, incorrect placement of the tools can lead to injury.
For example, placing a hydraulic ram on a victim’s chest could cause their ribs to break.
Furthermore, the equipment can cause injuries if not operated on with care. That is because the blades on these tools are sharp, and the jaws can exert tremendous force.
Because of these risks, it is essential that only trained personnel use extrication tools.
Firefighter extrication tools can successfully extract someone trapped from a vehicle, building, or other confined spaces during a rescue operation.
They allow rescue crews to break through and remove people from places that won’t let them out of their own accord.
They are now an essential toolkit of a first responder in any rescue operation scenario.
However, care must be taken only to let trained personnel use them.