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  • Extrication Tool Show Down

    Where have YOU seen the best demonstation of extrication equipment, the widest variety of brands? At TERC competitions? At trade shows? At fire related conferences? Is there any event where ALL of the manufacturers are represented? Our dept. should finally have our new Holmatro duplex pump, spreaders, cutters and rams any day now. Am planning on purchasing either Power Hawks or TNT combo tools with small pumps for every engine in town, through the Captain's Rescue Fund. I would really like to see what Phoenix and Genesis can do, even though their lack of response indicates to me that service would be a nightmare here in Midland. Would also like to see all the new stabilization products available, or see someone open up a car faster with hand tools than with hydraulics. How 'bout it? Even replies from prosthelytes of the Hurst faith are welcome, though lets not argue who has the best tool- just where to see the most different kinds. (see Hurst vs Holmatro in this venue if you want to see a spirited discussion). Capt. Dan

  • #2
    Wow Dan, can of worms there. I have been saying the same thing for quite a while now. I would love to see a major magazine or a noted rescue guru do a side by side of all the "new" ideas. For example: "Tension buttress cribbing system A was much quicker and easier to use then system B" or " Although the results were very close, system C is less then half the cost of system D, therefor dollar for dollar system C is the wiser choice" I have seem examples of this for foam, nozzels, LDH etc. Now, heres the problem. I have great faith in my products and even though they are spreading rapidly I'm still a "little guy" The reason that you don't see many Zmag ads is budget reasons (you have no idea how much that can be). No I have looked into the possablity of such a report and this is what I found. "No major magazine is willing to shead a dark cloud over a major advertiser" A full page, full color ad in Firehouse magazine can run well over $6,000. Do you think that they would publish results showing that a $295 system can outperform a $4,000 2 suitcase system? (No names needed here). Especially when the "Big guys" are a major part of their paycheck. Tell you what Dan, you put it together and I'll have my tools there. I'm just not sure how you can get the results out.



    • #3
      My best exposure has been at the State Fire School in Ohio. After taking the Advanced Auto Extrication and then the Commercial Rescue classes, you get to use about everything that is available in this part of the country.

      A side-by-side is certainly the way to go. All tools will make claims that they open and close at a certain speed. The REAL test is to put them under a load and see how that affects their performance.

      If you are interested in my opinions I have developed after using several brands, send me an e-mail. I REFUSE to get into a "my tool is better than yours" debate. I do not feel this forum is the place to do that. ALL hydraulic tools will do the job. Most shortcomings in performance can be overcome by technique.

      Richard Nester
      Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

      [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited July 13, 2000).]


      • #4
        Funny....Consumer Reports have been doing these side bt side deals for years with various products, the thing is they are 1. either they are not worried if someone will pull their ad or 2. the products they compair don't advertise with them!
        I understand what z-mag is saying here.
        Why not see if Consumer Reports would do something like this?
        If word got out (maybe here) that they did a "tool report", I bet they would sell a few extra copies.
        You could be dam sure that who ever did the best, copies of that issue would be handed out free at their booth at all the trade shows, in addition to their new ads!
        I would like to see it myself.
        What do you guy's think?


        • #5
          BC White,

          I LOVE the idea, so much infact that I e-mailed Consumer Reports a request to do just that and included a link to this forum (along w/ propper credit for your idea).

          So now heres our chance - if some more people stand up and voice an opinion to CR then perhaps we'll see a tool shoot out in the near future.

          You can send your own e-mail in to Consumer Reports at : http://www.consumerreports.org/Special/emsend.html

          Take Care - Stay Safe


          • #6
            Some Ramblings on this good idea, I'd like to do it for the Magazine I write for. My Trouble is to get all the products together. The Companies, if they want exposure have to be willing to support the magazines and their writers.
            One point to consiuder is that Consumer Roeports doesn't take Adds for there magazine. Car Magazines do, and MAYBE that does create a bias. But these guys (Car Manufactures) Know that Honest publicity (Good or Bad) is Publicity. they also know that Ford guys are Ford guys, Chevy guys are Chevy guys and Mopar guys are Mopar Guys ( OK all of them should be guys and gals). Any big swings from one product to another ain't gona happen. What this would do is expose the products and drive improvements in the field.
            Be Careful what you ask for Mike, YOU have an excellent product and it is used in two Squads I run with (CFD & WGI) but know your R&D department is gona have to kick it up a Notch or two (Considering you are one of the most agressive in that area, just think what the rest will have to do) As you said THIS IS A CAN OF WORMS but I DO HOPE it can happen

            Carl D. Avery


            • #7
              Thanks for the vote of confidence Zmag, but I don't have the resources to do as I would like. Blazes, it's all I can do getting a particular brand through municipal purchasing- and the Assistant Chief of Operations is pulling his hair out over that. It's not that I have any particular bias (my pick was TNT), but the line personnel were promised that their evaluation would be the deciding factor and thats what they picked after we solicited demonstrations from any and every brand of equipment that would show up. I just feel that in order to stay on the leading edge (if we ever get near it), it is incumbent on us to see the best and newest that everyone can come up with. As a few, (not all by any means and no names mentioned), become surly when asked to show their equipment and fail to make the follow up sale, I feel like going where they already are may be a better way to get the information I crave. I have put forth the idea of starting a Rescue Rodeo, but support is flat. Putting together a TERC team has been met with yawns. A New Car Day, like I read about in these forums, HA HA. So I will have to go and watch somewhere else. Capt. Dan


              • #8
                Follow up on the Consumer Reports Idea.

                In reply to my e-mail to consumer reports I recived the following :
                Dear Stephen:

                Thanks for your e-mail regarding tools used in fire service.

                We only test goods and services available to the average consumer that is
                sold in the market place. We do not evaluate in-house professional products
                that may be used in various industries.

                However, we thank you for considering us.

                Thanks again for your e-mail.


                Customer Relations Representative


                I am not discouraged - I still urge all of you to write consumer reports and have anyone and everyone you know with access to an email account to write them as well.

                The Direct Address is [email protected]
                or you can click the link in my above post and fill out their form.
                Perhaps if enough voices are heard they will realise we are a larger market than they percive us to be.

                Take Care- Stay Safe


                • #9
                  I emailed consumer reports, no response. Had a feeling they wouldn't tackle something as esoteric as X-tools. Carl Avery's idea sounds intriguing. Several manufacturers tout their tools as "Offifial tools of the so-and-so". Wouldn't it be awesome if a car magazine would test all the X-tools ( incorporating something like UL tests along with something flashy like a dismembering a retired racing car with a roll cage and including the smaller tools and manual tools for local dirt tracks) and maybe see if they could tie it into the "X MEN" craze, especially now that the movie is out and doing very well. Wouldn't that be a magazine excerpt to pass out everywhere?! I think I'll look into getting permission from the manufacturers of all X-tools to put their tools on trading cards. If the magazine supplied the cards and fire dept's sold them as a fund raiser for extrication equipment, do you think it would catch on nationally? Would Amkus, Curtiss-Wright, Genesis, Holmatro, Hurst, Kinman, Lukas, Marvel Comics, Nike, Hi-lift, O Connell, Paratec, Phoenix, TNT, or Zmag go for it? Which magazine would you approach Carl? Does anyone know how to find out if "X-Tools" is already a registered trademark? Maybe fire extinguisher manufacturers would do the same and sell some to pit crews, or kids would have a favorite and rum-dum their parents into carrying one in the car or putting one in the kitchen- wouldn't that be fantastic? Would "Firehouse" be interested? Capt. Dan


                  • #10
                    Well, I'm flattered to be considered in such a fine group of tool manufacturers. Since I manufacture accessories that work with ALL brands of tools (my tools would make a good boat anchor without another tool to work with), I am able to comment without being biased (I hope...).

                    Here is the problem as I see it with a complete, end-all, head-to-head hydraulic tool evaluation: who's better, Ford, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, or Dodge? Not even an organization like Consumer Reports would dream of trying to decide that. Each has strengths and weaknesses, different models, and change year to year.

                    Try to take all the hydraulic tools available and compare them based on (you'll think of a few more catagories, I'm sure) size, strengths (open & closing, and where on the arms), ease of operation, weight, geometry (including tips), tool range, effectiveness on different vehicles and in other area's like Heavy Rescue and Confined Space Rescue, intrinsic safety, cost, reliability, maintenance needs, maintenance cost, spare parts needs and cost, training availability and quality, etc, etc, etc. Do this for each manufacturer, for each model of tool they make, and do it all on a level playing field with unbiased judges (riiiiiight). Then do it each year to accomodate the new tools, pumps, tips, etc that the manufacturers produce. You are talking about a HUGE project, at a huge cost. You will also be subjected to enormous scrutiny, abuse, and probably law suits. Ummm... I think I'll pass...

                    As for the X-Man cards... Sure! Now, who do I want as my model: Carl Avery in a skin tight black leotard, or a ripped swimsuit model from our local university. Hmmm... I'll have to think on that one for awhile.

                    Stay low!

                    Tim O'Connell



                    • #11
                      Sure, destructive testing would be prohibitively expensive. If X-tools were cheap, I'd have a collection with one of everything. But testing all brands need not be to destruction and some testing would be better than nothing. All the manufacturers make good tools- Nothing I've seen so far is junk. Each tool has it's advantages and disadvantages. My tool box at home has tools in it from Sears, Snap-on, Matco, etc... Car magazines ecstatically extol the virtues of Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, etc... yet everyone manages to sell some cars. It would be nice if all the info was in one place- somewhere that salesmen could tout the virtues of their tools side by side with everybody else. Someplace where one could find every brand without it becoming a major research project. Someplace where the maker who can't be at every department at once could roll out his new tool and the fellow looking for a new tool could be sure he would find it. Someplace where they could post ideas about convincing the local councilman, selectman, chief or PA that "We need this stuff and when will you budget our trip to the instructor school?". Nobody knows everything and networking with others is the best way to sharpen skills (as this forum is proving). If there is a major event anywhere that is anywhere close to being this comprehensive, I'd love to go there, but it will have to be one trip as I will pay for it out of my own pocket.Capt. Dan

                      p.s. One of these days, I will have one of your excellent "boat anchors" Mr O'Connell.

                      [This message has been edited by friday (edited July 26, 2000).]


                      • #12
                        Boy you guys know how to get me in trouble! Well I am starting to do something about it. I do not see the Comparison being a winner takes all kinda thing. What I do see is possibly working a fire academy and trying to reproduce scenarios as much as we can. I would like ideas from you all on some standard tests and times you may want. Like time to open and time to close the tools unloaded. ONE question I have is how to measure that same thing under Load and how much load. lets hear some iunput. Oh my idea is to lay out all our findings and both subjective opinions and objective observations of the group of participants. (After all people do drive Chevys and Fords no matter who wins the comparison). My goal would not be to pick a winner, My goal will be to lay out facts and observations and then LET you the buyer and user make YOUR Choice from an informed perspective!

                        Carl D. Avery


                        • #13
                          Praise the Lord and pass the hydraulic fluid! How about for objective criteria: weight-ready to go, no load opening and closing times, MSRP, cost of replacement parts (i.e. tips, blades, hoses, etc...), third party testing results (U.L., other), regulatory compliance (NFPA, ASTM, OSHA).
                          Cutting times (valve on to shear thru) on 13/16" cold-rolled steel bar (simulating nader pins) , 2" x 2" x 3/16" square tubing (simulating structural members), and 2 3/8" x 3/16" flat stock- for cutters; widest opening at tips. Ease and speed of blade replacement.
                          Not sure on fair and consistent objective comparison of spreaders w/o a lab, but I'm really not planning to do much extrication in a lab, so.... Ease and speed of tip replacement. Spreading time on 4" x 4" x 3/16" tubing? Time to raise vehicle to full travel of tool? Same goes for rams.
                          For subjective criteria- ergonomics, balance, availability of accessories (i.e. chain shackle attachments, tips, etc...), length of service on 1 tank of fuel for gasoline powered units, sound levels, ease and speed of deployment, ease and cost of maintenance, aesthetic appeal, user experiences (fire departments, racing organizations). I'm sure others can improve on these preliminary off-the-cuff suggestions. Capt. Dan


                          • #14
                            Dan those are some excellent suggestions, Lets keep-em coming. Not sure we can use em all But a great start

                            Carl D. Avery


                            • #15
                              How 'bout it Hurst fanatics, Amkus fans, Powerhawk proselytes, Holmatro boosters, Genesis afficionados, Lukas devotees, Phoenix
                              admirers, Kinman enthusiasts? Can anyone think of subjective AND/OR OBJECTIVE tests for X-Tools? Capt Dan


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