Through the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, we have been able to purchase new rescue tools, stabilization struts, and cribbing. Starting in September of 2015, vendors were brought in to show us their wares and allow us to see what was available. These presentations lasted through October. Through the presentations, it was decided that we would be looking at battery powered tools and what vendors had the best service.
In November of 2016, three vendors were brought in so that we could use the tools, struts, and cribbing in real world usage on actual cars. The members of Sugar Grove and Lander got to run all of the tools and other parts to see what we liked the best. What we found is that they were all great.
In the end, we decided on a bid from T&R Rescue Solutions for Genesis E-Force tools, Kodiak Struts, and Res-Q-Tec cribbing. The items were delivered March 11th. That night we unpackaged our new equipment and went over the basics. On March 12th we went to North’s Auto to work with the tools and get trained.
Kevin Romer with T&R Rescue Solutions brought us our new equipment and ran us through training so that we can properly use these new resources.
The tools are all battery operated. This means that one person is all that is needed to run them. Our old system required one person to run the tools, another person to run the gas motor / pump for the unit, and that hoses connect the tools to the pump. Without the tether of the hoses, we are not limited in where we can take the tools. As you can imagine, these new tools are also a lot quieter than the gasoline pump. This will help us communicate during an extrication as well as reduce the confusion for the patient.
The struts are totally new for us. Neither Lander nor Sugar Grove has previously carried struts. These units greatly aid in stabilizing vehicles in difficult positions. Our new struts are completely adjustable and can keep a vehicle on its side or roof from budging at all even when we are cutting, climbing, or taking a patient out. They are very quick to deploy and are amazingly versatile.
We have carried cribbing for a long time. It has traditionally been hardwood pieces with a strap
on each end. The new cribbing is a plastic composite material. This material is impervious to the vast majority of chemicals, is unaffected by water, and has a crush rating of 60,000 pounds. Those are all things that cannot be said of hardwood cribbing. The pieces are manufactured so that they lock together similar to kids building blocks.