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  • Rescue Tool

    Our county just received a grant for $80,000 to purchase extrication equipment. I would like to hear from anyone who has Hurst, TNT, and Holmatro as these are the choices we have narrowed down to. Pros', Cons'from the people who use these the most.

    Is a low pressure system better than high pressure? Does one REALLY outperform the other? These comments will be forwarded to the people who will be making the final decision.

    Thanx for any feedback and stay safe.

  • #2
    Keep in mind, All these tools do perform and perform well, It is Like Ford vs. Chevy, each camp has it own suppoters and detractors. While I aplaud you for seeking out imput from other. Never underestimate the importance of YOUR crew doing an HANDS ON evaluation. Preferably side by side. If you are Plopping down $80K you have some POWER to get all the vendors together at one time. I also strongly encourage you to Check out the "support" Network each specific vendor has, that can very important at 0 dark:30 and your tool craps out (and they all do one time or another). So to sum up, PUT a LOT of Value in your TEAMS evaluation of the tool, They are the crew that is going to use the tool and if they Like it they will get more out of it! And again the Tools all work well, so when it breaks the NEXT big question is HOW well does the VENDOR back up their tool. So these are my Humble recomendations. I know that I did not specifically address your question but I do think this is good advice too.

    Carl D. Avery


    • #3
      Well - you can stick me right up front in the holmatro camp.

      I will be 100% honest. Holmatro is mostly all I have ever worked with (some limited time on Hurst).

      As far as tool performance - I would suspect they are all very similar. As Carl pointed out - the most important factor is your people. What tools do they feel comfortable with ?

      Second most important is your sales/service rep's ability to stand behind his product (I will gladly stand & sing praise for our service rep any day of the week !!). You're $80k tool set won't do you much good if there down for repairs or service.

      Now - back to being honest. One of the biggest things that I DO NOT like about holmatro tools is the actuator control. Most other systems have some type of wheel or thumb switch on the tool for open/close whereas Holmatro uses a twist grip (much like a motorcycle throtle). For most people this might not be a big deal, but for a smaller guy like myself, I have trouble putting the tool in any position above chest height. I usaully end up opening/closing the tool inadvertantly when trying to lift it (but like I said - thats a "me" thing and I have developed a way to work around it).

      Good luck with your purchace, be sure to come back and let us know what all you bought.

      Take Care - Stay Safe

      [This message has been edited by N2DFire (edited October 02, 2000).]


      • #4
        Holy crap. $80,000, buy one of each and you wont have a problem.

        We were faced with the same decision in December of 1999. After some demo's from some different companies, and many hours looking over the specs, our decision did not come down to performance. The decision was based on two reasons. First, the department in the next town provides lots of mutual aid for us, and vice versa. They run with a certain brand of tools, thus we wanted to have the same brand so that both departments were familiar with the tools operations. Second, the dealer has provided top notch service and support for our area which is over 500 km north of a major city (Edmonton.

        So in the end, we chose Holmatro, not for the performance, but for the service and consistancy.

        [This message has been edited by HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENT (edited October 02, 2000).]


        • #5
          Well.. I see my personal preference didn't even make the "short list"... But the others post some important points.

          Service is an important issue. Does your dealer have a demo set on hand that he/she will switch out with yours should it need to go back for factory service? And what is the expected turn-a-round for such a replacement.

          Mutual Aid is also an interesting thing to look at. Beyond same brand familiarity, also look at keeping high pressure and low pressure in the same neighborhood. Even more important... make sure your fluids are the same if possible. If someone accidently plugs their tool into your power unit and mix them up, you're both out of service.

          High vs. Low pressure is something to look at. I will repeat it again, ALL TOOLS will do the job in the hands of someone who is competent and understands the capabilities of the tool they are using. I have used many, and never had a problem doing what was needed to be done. Now, with that said, I am a low pressure fan for these reason:

          #1 - Simple hydraulic principles dictate that you generate force through higher volume. A low pressure tool is a "high volume" tool. When you put the tool to work, the pump supplies a continuous supply of fluid which means the tool works at the same speed whether it is under load or not. A high pressure tools relies on the power of the pump pressure to accomplish its task. When it is under a load, the pump must build up pressure to move the smaller volume of fluid. The result is, that when the tool is under a load, it will slow down.

          #2 - Since the pump works harder on a high pressure tool, it is more prone to stress. The same stress is exerted on the hose, coupling and seals. Such stress has to create more chances of failures.

          #3 - You need heavier, reinforced hoses for the high pressure tools. These tend to be difficult to move around and sometimes get in the way. (In fairness to the high pressure tools, the high presure tool itself is usually smaller... so you need to weigh the pros and cons here).

          #4 - Are there any high pressure tools that are REALLY Made in the U.S.A? High pressure is a European thing... some U.S. tool manufacturers have high pressure tools for sale, but in reality they are made in Europe and assembled in the U.S.

          Ok, now that I have muddies the waters... congratulations on the grant! With $80,000.00 you should be like kids in the candy store!

          Richard Nester
          Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

          [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited October 29, 2000).]


          • #6
            MetalMedic hit it right on the head. One thing to consider is what the other departments around you have. In a rural setting, like I'm in, there are times when there are more than one team working on extrication. I've used both hurst and holmatro. Both work well. They have a few differences in the control handles. I suggest having a rep from both come to your station and do a demo. Also find out what there service is like. That is what sold us on holmatro.


            • #7
              Well, listen to all of the above. I've used both Hurst and Holmatro, and I must say that I prefer the Holmatro hands down. It's considerably lighter and is just as strong as the legendary HURST.


              • #8
                If you have $80,000 dollars you need to try all of the brands. Why only look at two or three. You are about to make a major purchase which your department will have to live with for a very long time. You need to compare all of the tools with a "Hands-on" demo. The Amkus "Ultimate" has un-matched performance, and the money is well worth it. However, if you do not look at other systems, you'll never know, and you'll miss out. It's free to try, so why not?


                • #9

                  Amkus Ultimate System

                  oh yeah.


                  • #10
                    I am sure your department will come up with a logical way of determining the proper tools for your individual organization.

                    I constantly read or hear "I like this better than that" and personally some of the fighting on the forums over the tools will completely turn me off a particular tool. It may not be the tool, I just relate the sales pitch and cut throating with the tool representatives and it seems to be the same people over and over again.

                    As a suggestion, have those that will be using the tools get together and try as many tools in your area as you can. If you let the people that will be using the equipment use and decide which they want, there will be less problems for the department. "You wanted it, you got it!"

                    Concider the following:
                    1. Do the tools meet the needs of your department?
                    2. List objectives that you can think need to be met by a tools. Use this for each company on a written evaluation.
                    3. Have the membership field test the equipment and evaluate the tool according to a perdetermined standard set by your members, not Extrication.Com, the tool maker, or someone out side of our department. This should be done by the commitee selected to evaluate the tools. Or have the same members do the testing to be consistant, but do allow anyone to work the tools. Make sure that you get a good sampling of those that work the tools by stature. In other words, you have someone with a small frame, they may find it very difficult at best to use a 32-inch spreader. But can master a combi-tool. Someone with a large frame may not have a problem toting around the "Big Rigs". You need to get a feel of everyone not just those actually doing the testing that day.
                    4. Narrow down the tools to two choices, bring them back for one last department testing. Take one vehicle and on one side use one tool, on the other side use the other. Do exactly the same techniques. On the same car, there will not be much difference for one side to the other. Two cars of the same year model could be like night and day, one tool may have a easy day while the other. Using the final test on one vehical doing mirror cuts should help you out.
                    5. Put a clock on the evolutions, explain to the people that this is not a race, use a steady pace doing exactly the same for each tool. This will give you a better idea if one tool seems to work faster.
                    6. You may want to look into priority selection of the types of tools needed. Such as do you need a large ram when a medium will do, the apply the savings for other equipment or add-ons. I like having a 32-inch tool, one medium ram, large O-cutters or straight tip that crosses over and a combi-tool or even an alternative to the hydraulic tools for multipurpose tools.
                    6. How is the service with the vendor as for names of departments that their tool is in use?
                    7. Contact other chief officers to see how the service is. Not the membership for this one, on the average, the chief officer will have a better idea without trying to give you an opinion of the performance of the tool, rember your department will be doing that.
                    8. Will they provide a loaner while yours is being repaired or serviced.
                    9. Is your current system interchange able with other tools. If the tools you now have work well, just you have new money coming in, why change when you can add on and buy more equipment. There are two companies that are interchangable, same connectors, same fluids and same operating pressure. Many of the parts come from the same supplier.
                    10. What will the vendor do for you?
                    11. Check weight, load forces, price and determine priorities for all the data you have gained and now make a choice.
                    12. Also see if the vendor will allow you to test a demo set out for a week to see if the troops are really happy, for $80,000 you best make the right choice.

                    Ron Shaw

                    Ron Shaw


                    • #11

                      $80,000.00 will buy you anything that you want. As far as I am concerned, MetalMedic and Ron Shaw have summed it all up perfectly. There will be no excuse if you obtain the "wrong" type of equipment. (of course, is there a wrong type?) Do your homework and use common sense in making the decision that will best benefit your dept.
                      Be grateful that you have this sum of money to use as leverage. Most of us are not so fortunate. Keep me informed as to your final decision and reasoning. Good Luck!

                      Bill Spirka, Wilmington Fire Dept.


                      • #12
                        I would like to inform you of a new tool that
                        will work with whatever brand ram you choose
                        to buy. It is called The TarHEEL Ram Stabilizer. It can be used anywhere on the rocker panel of a vehicle depending on the size of the ram you choose to use. You can
                        see it at www.thetarheel.com


                        • #13
                          I too am an Amkus advocate. Our department, as well as several surrounding communities have Amkus, and I am very satisfied with their tool. We are currently looking to raise money to buy a set of their "Speedway Cutters". (which can be seen on their web site) If you don't know what I am talking about, visit Amkus.com and see. They can take out those wide "C" posts with just about one bite. (if not one) Not several like the regular sized cutters.



                          • #14
                            You need to evaluate all of the possible tools yourself and decide what is right for you. Compatability can be an issue, but not around here -- we use Lukas, but within 5 miles you can find Holmatro, Amkus, Hurst, Genesis, and others.

                            Something else to think about are accessories. Be sure to get preconnected hose reels to mount on your vehicle. Also include some saws, air bags and other equipment.

                            Are you going to be using a single "rescue" truck? Or are you going to get a couple of sets and spread them around?


                            • #15
                              I Like the idea of Reels, but I also got to say take a Close Look at PPUs Personnal Power Units. I know that there are advocates on both sides of this argument. But before you go out on a spending Spree. Make sure you evaluate YOUR needs. Reels can be very good and allow for rapid deployment. However PPUs Have advantages of mobility and of course working at distances from you Rescue rig and working at Scenes that are Spread out over a large area. If you decide on PPUs make sure you evaluate the units carefully, that is that they are capable of Working all the tools all the way.

                              Carl D. Avery


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