Why battery-operated rescue tools should be in every fire crew’s arsenal
A dual battery system gives firefighters an edge on extended run time on scene
Sponsored by TNT Rescue Systems
By Yoona Ha, FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff
We expect firefighters to be nimble and adaptable when it comes to facing life-threatening situations. Just as we depend on them, firefighters depend on rescue tools to enter buildings, extricate passengers from car wrecks and save victims in confined spaces, just to name some of the many ways they respond to calls of distress.
Having the right tools for the job is incredibly important. With the continuous innovation in the fire service industry, now there are more options available than ever before. Although battery-powered rescue tools are relative newcomers in the market, they’re increasingly sought after by firefighters who want to use lighter tools that are easier to control and maneuver into some of the hardest-to-reach places.
Dave Morgan, senior vice president and director of operations of TNT Rescue Systems, said the demand for battery-operated rescue tools has steadily increased over the years.
Morgan is often seen demonstrating the efficiency of these battery-run tools in fire departments across the country and at countless fire service trade shows. He shared some insights with us on how battery-run rescue tools can make a difference.
Battery-run tools give you more control
TNT Rescue Systems’ Storm2 Series includes a line of cutters, spreaders, rams and combination tools that can run on one or two batteries.
“One of the biggest challenges a rescuer faces is the uncertainty as to how much flexibility a situation offers,” said Morgan. “Sometimes you respond to calls that involve vehicles in tight and inaccessible positions–this is where the versatility of the tool shines. That’s why we’re seeing so many departments switch from legacy gas-fueled rescue tools to battery tools.”
For instance, the EBFC-320D has two receivers for two batteries that can be removed to make more room so the tool can be used to make initial cuts or spreads to create more space for extraction and to eliminate any tool impingement against the car.
Traditional hydraulic tools often come with a gas-powered pump that offers about three hours of run time.
With battery tools every maneuver made drains the run time, which is often why it’s difficult to predict how long they’ll last, with TNT Rescue Systems' dual battery tool the run time is extended giving the rescuer a longer run time on scene than other standard single battery tools on the market, a variety of factors still need to be considered when using battery tools including:
- The material that’s being cut through
- The battery quality (which depends on how it’s been maintained)
- The user’s level of experience
This is where battery-run tools can make a huge difference. Not only does it not require firefighters to carry around an 80 pound power unit, and on average tools that way around 45 pounds with long hydraulic hoses, instead it offers firefighters the ability to simply pick up the tool and batteries, go anywhere and get to work. It’s a lightweight solution that doesn’t wear down firefighters.
Power without compromise
One fact that often raises eyebrows, according to Morgan, is that the TNT battery-run tools have the same cut and spread force as the legacy hydraulic hosed tools. A hydraulic pump can generate up to 10,500 psi and give instant power to traditional rescue tools, which allows them to perform at their max cut and spread force.
So how is it that the same tool that's battery-run can generate the same amount of power as these legacy tools? Simple. Years of proprietary research, design and engineering by TNT Rescue Systems has given rise to battery-powered tools that help firefighters get the job done.
TNT also offers a free trial and a lifetime warranty for every tool they sell.
“Imagine what that says about us as a rescue tool company, that we’ll offer a lifetime warranty,” said Morgan. “It saves our customers a lot of money, because breakdowns can be costly.”
If you do the math, unlimited opportunities for repair and maintenance can save you big bucks in the long run. Those repairs can add up, and unlike a car, repair for rescue tools aren’t usually covered by insurance once the warranty expires.
Morgan knows that behind every purchasing decision a fire chief or purchasing committee has to make comes many hours of cost and benefit analysis and many conversations with manufacturers and firefighters on the tool that’s in it for the long haul.