Hydraulic extrication tools powered from the ground up
Pentheon Series rescue tools from Holmatro give firefighters 21-century rescue tool technology that can take on modern vehicle extrication challenges
Sponsored by Holmatro
By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocus
It’s 2 a.m. on a rainy Saturday night, and you and your crew are responding to a report of a vehicle over the embankment on County Line Road 202. Unfortunately, you’re all too familiar with the territory you’re heading toward. Just last year, on a snowy evening, you responded to a call on the same stretch of road and found a car over the embankment, upside down and against several trees.
You remember that call because of the three unconscious teenagers you found in the car. But more so because of the great difficulty in getting your hydraulic rescue tools, power plant and hoses down that snowy embankment so you could get those kids out in time. You're hoping it's going to be different this time.
ENTER THE PENTHEON SERIES RESCUE TOOLS
You wouldn’t be as worried about time and tool logistics if you had the new battery-powered rescue tools from Holmatro. The new Pentheon tools have been designed to be lighter, easier to handle and take up less compartment space on your fire apparatus, but without sacrificing the cutting and prying power you need in an emergency. This advancement in rescue tool engineering and design has resulted in unmatched operating speed.
MORE THAN JUST A COMPARTMENT SPACE ISSUE
Too often when extrication tools are replaced, the deciding factor in many cases is what tools and accessories will fit in the available compartment space on the truck (and there’s plenty of other emergency service equipment competing for that space). Not only are hose-powered hydraulic rescue tools cumbersome for agencies with limited space, but they can also be challenging to deploy once firefighters arrive at an incident where they’re needed. There are the tools (e.g., spreaders, cutters and rams), the power plant and the hoses that must be deployed, coennections made and then power initiated before the first actions can be taken.
Holmatro’s Pentheon Series tools make those problems a thing of the past. Not only are the tools easier to control, but they also enable a fire department to rid itself of all those pesky components and reels of hose and cordage. They can reduce several risks associated with having, operating and maintaining hose-power hydraulic rescue tools:
- Potential for exposure to caustic hydraulic fluid while connecting or disconnecting hoses (e.g., on an emergency incident, during training or during maintenance)
- Carrying a hazardous material – gasoline and gasoline/oil mixtures – in compartments on fire apparatus.
- Needing to store gasoline and hydraulic fluid in the fire station.
BATTERY POWER WHEN YOU NEED IT
The battery for all Pentheon Series rescue tools is integrated into handles to reduce dimensions. This approach makes these tools more compact and lighter than other battery-powered tools. For example, the Pentheon Series spreader measures 38 inches long, 11 inches wide and 11 inches high, and weighs in at only 43 pounds – and that’s with the battery.
Holmatro’s unique on-tool battery charging means there is no need to set up chargers outside of the truck. According to Dan Crowbridge, Holmatro’s rescue and training consultant, a criticism of battery-powered anything in the fire service (e.g., portable radios or gas monitors) is that those tools are only as good as the last person who remembered to put the battery on the charger.
Holmatro’s smart battery charging system is designed to mount the batteries on a truck, where they can charge off the truck’s electrical system or inverter.
“Now a fire department has the ability to daisy-chain up to three battery chargers from one power source,” said Crowbridge. “Then, from each charger, I can run a cord to the back of the tool where there’s a magnetic plug. That’s a very cool thing, because all you need to do is push it in. No twisting or locking is necessary because it’s a magnet.”
The two magnets quickly connect, and the attraction maintains the electrical connection, allowing the tool to be charging whenever the power source is active. (Note: A full battery charge cycle for the series’ lithium-ion batteries is 45 minutes.) With the extra batteries and tools constantly being charged while the fire apparatus is running, the risk of running out of battery power at the wrong time is reduced.
“I don’t have to think about unscrewing the cable first. All I do is grab the tool and just walk away from the truck, and the magnets will separate and I’ve got a fully-charged fresh battery tool ready to go – and I still have batteries in the charger that are fresh,” said Crowbridge.
Our philosophy at Holmatro is, the more things we can make an automatic process for the firefighter, that’s an advantage to the firefighter,” -Dan Crowbridge, Holmatro Rescue and Training Consultant
TAKE TWO: BACK TO THE SCENE
You arrive on the scene on County Line Road to find an almost identical “over the embankment” car crash. This time, on this crash, it is different. You and your crew are making your way down to the crash site with Holmatro Pentheon battery-powered rescue tools in hand. As soon as you reach the upside-down vehicle, you find two teens still in their seatbelts, but they’re screaming and crying, and that’s music to your ears!
An even better sound is the Pentheon spreader and cutter crunching and cutting through metal as the rest of your crew quickly gets right to the critical task of cutting their way to those kids. It seems like only minutes before they’re inside and stabilizing those teens for removal from the car for medical treatment.