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Life Shear

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  • Life Shear

    Anybody have experience with Life Shear or any other comparable explosive powered cutting device? Promo pictures in trade magazines lead me to suspect that there are lots of things that you couldn't "get at" with, but the idea of one bang, the post is cut, is appealing. Are they inordinately expensive? Do the charges require any special handling or storage? Does the noise and it's effect on victim or rescuer outweigh the benefit? Capt. Dan

  • #2
    Hi Capt Dan:

    A few years ago I use the Life Shear in my extrication project (Hand Tools) at the Municipal Fire School at Texas A&M in College Station.

    We were asked to use it to see if it would work on cars. The Life Shear was used to cut rebarb at the Oklahoma Murrah Building to help clear the way for tunneling.

    It was a new product at the time and we broke 3 of them. They have since been reworked as I understand it so they can withstand the "rigors" of extrication.

    One problem I saw was that once the charge ignited, and the cutting blade went into the car, it did not always cut the post. The rebarb they cut in Oklahoma was solid and it worked very well (this was according to the manufacture rep that taught us how to use it before classes started, I was not at the Murrah Building), but with the A and B posts being hollow, there was enough absorption of the energy that sometimes multiple attempts had to be made in order to completely go through the posts.

    The charge is electrical, and there was a box where you stored them, but if you dropped one or hit it with a hammer it was not supposed to go off.

    When we used it the list was approximately $1,700.00, and you ordered cartridges as they needed to be replaced.

    When the charge went off, it did sound like a gun, and it usually surprised the operator along with the victims, since it has a delay on the trigger of about 2-3 seconds from the time you push on the firing mechanism to the actual charge going off.

    Wilson Fire (Equipment or Apparatus, I forgot the complete name) in New Braunfels was the local vendor for the Life Shear.

    I think it would be worth a call and see if they would let you play with one for a while. It's been a few years since I used it and I know that they have made improvements to it.

    Hope this helped.

    Ed Brando


    • #3
      LifeShear was a product that was poorly marketed, and my personal opinion, poorly designed and manfactured.

      Last year at the Hurst dealers mtg, we were informed that the Hurst dealers network would marketing the LifeShear product.

      The product was much "more stout" than previous versions, but didn't work a whole lot better.

      This year at the mtg, no mention of the product was made, no information is printed in the catalog and no pricing in the new price lists.

      With all that I can only assume that the dealer network is no longer the contact for the product.

      Probably didn't help, except you know where not to look.

      "Performance IS Everything"


      • #4
        Thanks for the input everyone, especially those of you who responded via email. For anyone else that has an interest in the Lifeshear, we can buy 5 cordless or lots of corded reciprocating saws for what one Lifeshear would cost. 'Cip saws have proven much more versatile than anything communicated to me about Lifeshear and you can actually find someone who will sell you one. Capt. Dan

        [This message has been edited by friday (edited April 11, 2000).]


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