New tools expand mobility of rescue company

Junction Fire Co. puts eDRAULIC cutters, spreaders into service

Sentinel photos by LAUREN KERSHNER Brad Shehan uses the eDRAULIC cutters to cut a portion of a vehicle, including the seatbelt.

LEWISTOWN — The use of hydraulic tools is not a new concept for fire companies in Mifflin County. The use of eDRAULIC tools, however, is fairly new.

Junction Fire Company recently purchased a set of Hurst eDRAULIC tools.

“These tools have more than just your standard vehicle rescue application,” Chief Scott Beers said. “We can take these anywhere.”

In fact, mobility is what prompted the fire company to look into purchasing the tools.

The new blue and white cutters and spreaders are lighter than the traditional hydraulic tools the company currently has. In fact, not only are they lighter, Beers said, but they also do not require much to operate.

Using a new class cutter, a firefighter from Junction Fire Company practices cutting glass faster than just breaking it.

Currently, the hydraulic tools require a gas powered generator to operate. The new tools are operated from a rechargeable battery pack.

“We can get them into more situations,” Deputy Chief Terry Beers said.

For example, Scott explained, they can take these tools into a factory and use them as industrial rescue tools.

“We don’t have to take as much with us, if we have to walk to rescue site,” Scott said.

He added that for a building, like First Quality, that is just a large building with multiple doorways and equipment, company members can easily walk with the equipment to the site.

Austin Treaster, uses the eDRAULIC spreaders to crush a portion of a vehicle to make it easier to cut in half.

While the company always made its rescue tools available for industrial use, it was not always easy carrying the equipment.

“Before we would have to carry not only the tools, but also the generator and cords to power them,” Scott said.

Had the new tools not been purchase, the company wanted to purchase some kind of trailer and cart to transport the generator and tools.

Now, they only need the tools, battery packs and a connector to a 110 outlet.

Scott said the idea of being able to plug the tools into a standard 110 outlet will add even more mobility.

Both Scott and Terry said the factories were very supportive of the purchase of the equipment.

“Some of them even helped contribute to the overall cost of the equipment,” Scott said. “We are very appreciative to our local factories for their support.”

Looking at the traditional application of the tools, for vehicle rescue, Terry said they did not trade strength for the mobility of the tools.

“The cutting and spreading capacity of these tools is slightly greater than that of those tools we have connected to the generator and hoses,” he said.

The tools have already been used in a situation that was difficult for the traditional rescue tools.

“There is nothing wrong with our current tools,” Terry said. “This is just something else to help our residents.”

During a training session on Nov. 12, company members were able to practice cutting apart vehicles at Parson’s Towing to get used to the new tools.

“These are just going to be able to help us with the new cars,” Randy Haubrick, rescue captain said. “These tools can even cut apart some vehicles easier than our other tools.”

Another new tool to help with vehicle rescue is a glass cutter, which can cut through the safety glass on a front windshield of a car.

“More and more vehicles are coming out with a safety feature that slows the shattering of glass,” Haubrick said. “That is great, but it makes it more difficult to rescue someone trapped.”

This new tool cuts through all of that, making rescue easier, safer and faster.

Both the eDRAULIC and hydraulic tools will be used on the equipment at the fire company.

“Each have their advantages,” Scott said. “We will continue to carry and keep both in service.”