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DANGERS FROM HYDRAULIC RAM BRACE

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  • DANGERS FROM HYDRAULIC RAM BRACE

    I Teach auto extrication classes and we have had one injury involving the steel brace used for securing a hydraulic ram. A firefighter actually lost a finger. A department we were teaching requires documented proof that these are dangerous and not just a fluke accident. Does anyone have any information.

  • #2
    Can you clarify that a little?

    Do they want to use their ram plate and you won't allow it in your class?

    Was the unfortunate incident caused by the plate or improper use of the plate?

    If you had an "accident" using a tool properly and don't think the benefit of that tool outweighs the risk why would you even consider using it again?

    BTW we don't use plates either but not because of any bad experience. In our case we have no experience with them and haven't felt the need to seriously evaluate them.
    _________DILLIGAF

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    • #3
      No failures around here to my knowledge. What brand of brace was it, or was it home made? What exactly happened to cause the accident... perhaps we can all come up with some solutions so we can all go home with all our fingers and toes!

      [ 09-10-2001: Message edited by: MetalMedic ]
      Richard Nester
      Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

      "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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      • #4
        It sounds to me like a case of fingers in the wrong place at the wrong time....

        As a side note, there are injuries, some minor and some serious, performing auto extrication all the time- do we stop using the tools that caused them? No.

        We must learn from these incidents and adapt and overcome to prevent them re-occuring.
        Luke

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        • #5
          Our department has homemade braces. Our experience has been that these are not a very good idea because they do not fit well with the majority of vehicles and they tend to shift when pressure is applied. No one has had an injury...YET. We try to stay away from using that brace.

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          • #6
            I have seen advertisements about a hydraulic ram plate that squeezes onto the rocker panel. It's even appeared in this forum as an advertisement disquised as a post. Has anyone, other than the manufacturer or salesmen, used it and will you comment on your likes and dislikes? I don't recall what it is called. The picture looked like a ten ton manually pumped ram with squeezing jaws and push plates for rams to heel against.

            [ 09-14-2001: Message edited by: DD ]

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            • #7
              This is a fairly easy topic... either the "O" Plate ot the "o" Plate Jr. available from dealers throughout the country.

              All info is found at www.rescue42.com

              These are the cream of the crop of this category. A tool that will do "MORE THAN ONE THING" and is cost efficient to boot.

              Check it out...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DD:
                <STRONG>I don't recall what it is called. The picture looked like a ten ton manually pumped ram with squeezing jaws and push plates for rams to heel against.

                </STRONG>
                The name of the tool you are describing is the "Tar-Heel" as in the nickname for the North Carolina University (I think..). I have not used one or seen one in person. They sent me a nice brochure with several pictures. The device looks like it would do the job, but for my department, it was a bit pricey for such a specialized tool.
                Richard Nester
                Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

                "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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                • #9
                  Go with the O'connell plates. They are great and multi purpose. They are not cheap, but you get so many different uses out of them they earn their keep.

                  The only issues we've ever had with any type of ram stabilizer is when they haven't been used properly. I don't suppose you videotape your training for later review? This might shed some light on it.
                  Susan Lounsbury
                  Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
                  Griffith Volunteer FD

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A Posting From Forum Moderator Ron Moore

                    I can understand how an individual could be injured by a ram base support slipping out of position. Usually when they move, it is when under load and it is a sudden shift or movement.

                    Hands being in the wrong place can be one reason for injury but there are other potential injury areas.

                    Have your tool operators watch for the tool's "action' as well as its' 'reaction.

                    Any time that power is applied to a tool and there is no apparent movement of either the object being pushed or the base support, be careful! You have loaded 'stored energy' into the equation and can have sudden, unexpected movement.

                    Another telltale signal that a ram support may shift is apparent when the pushing tool no longer is pushing into the ram support at its' balance point. Every base support and every placement of that support on a vehicle has its' ideal 'balance point'. This is like the center of gravity for an object; the point at which the object is equally balanced in all directions. That is where you want to be when a base support device is put into place.

                    Pushing too high or too low, too far to the inside or the outside of the base, pushing too far back or too near the front are all out of balance situations that should be avoided. Especially if the support leans outward towards you, watch out! You're not balanced any longer.
                    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
                    www.universityofextrication.com

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