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firehoouse-expo-chainsOne of the reasons I love social media sites like Facebook is how one fire service related picture can spark constructive conversation.  For example, Howard Eagan posted a picture from Firehouse Expo in Nashville that shows chains and hooks in an apparatus at a booth and tagged Eric Rickenbach and added this is why training is needed. You are absolutely correct… from the show floor in Nashville.  That picture got Eric to post a comment and from there I asked him to write a few words about why chains for rescue proposes is a HOT topic.

Eric J Rickenbach – from RescueTechs

It always seems like chains and rigging are an afterthought when it comes to equipping rescue trucks. They are one of the least thought about pieces of equipment that is carried. And buying this equipment without any research could lead to disastrous consequences. “High test” chain is usually grade 43 with a working load limit (“WLL”) of 5400 lbs., and it is not recommended for lifting or rescue purposes. Grade 80 (WLL = 7100 lbs.) or grade 100 (WLL = 8800 lbs.) alloy chain is recommended for rescue work, and both can be used for overhead lifting applications. (Yes, and regardless of how much someone may argue the point – we do sometimes “lift” in the rescue world.) Will it cost you a little more? Yes, but you are also purchasing a safer tool with much greater abilities. Properly used and maintained chains and rigging will last a long time. If your agency is looking to add/update your chains and rigging the best people to ask are the heavy towing/recovery folks. These folks work with these tools every day and they will be able to help you pick the correct chains and rigging to do the job safely. One last comment, just like any other tool in the rolling tool box, you need to train regularly with chains and rigging to remain proficient and safe when using them.

Mike Smith, Absolute Rescue's Editor in Chief, is a veteran of the fire/rescue service in Michigan, who also works in the automotive industry as a designer. Have an idea of suggestion for the site? Contact Mike here

Heavy Rescue

Large Animal Rescue

Working with their past experince, the Patterson Fire Department’s completed their 4th horse rescue in the past several years.

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Horse Rescue

Per the post from the Patterson Fire Department’s Facebook page:

At 0732, 25th of August 2021, the Patterson fire department was dispatched for a public assist to a local farm. Patterson’s heavy rescue, 22-6-1, arrived on scene and found a 31-year-old male horse, named “Dozer”, in distress. He had apparently fallen and managed to get himself stuck between a rock and a fence line. At first, the crew attempted to assist the horse in getting up by shifting his position. It became apparent that additional equipment was going to be needed to help Dozer out since he had become too exhausted to get up on his own. After some discussion, it was established that the best plan of action was to use a Paratech bipod system. It would be used as an artificial high directional with TU-32 griphoist’s assistance to lift the horse up. With a lot of sweat and effort, the crew was able to lift the horse up onto his feet. After some much-needed fluids and rest, we were happy to see Dozer trot away, unassisted.

An interesting fact, this is Patterson Fire Department’s 4th horse rescue in the past several years, all with successful outcomes.

Photos below from Andrew Akin

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Building Collapse

Rescue Methods BGSU 2021 Rescue Tech Series

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Bowling Green State University State Fire School Certified Rescue Tech

These courses are NFPA compliant and covers all six disciplines of technical rescue operations. Students will utilize the latest and greatest equipment and will put learned skills to the test in intense hands-on scenarios.

General information on the Certified Rescue Technician Program.

Class Schedule

  • Rope Rescue Technician
  • Water Craft Ops / Swift Water Ops
  • Confined Space Technician
  • Vehicle & Machinery
  • Trench Rescue Technician
  • Structural Collapse Operations

Rescue Methods BGSU 2021 rescue tech series with structural collapse ops.

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Quick Tips

Motor City Monday Extrication Tip; Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacters have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combact these strong steels. It’s our job to stay

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Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

Like everything in life, vehicles are changing, well vehicles keep changing. World leaders are pushing green vehicles which will increase our interactions with electric vehicles.  First off, let’s look at the common acronyms of several common green and traditional vehicles.

  • BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle
  • PHEV = Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • HEV = Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

Unlike BEV, PHEV, and HEV, the term ICE refers to the engine itself, rather than the type of car. Normal/traditional gasoline and diesel cars have internal combustion engines.

Electric Vehicles present several challenges to firefighters with battery fires leading the way.  The automakers are designing and engineering extremely strong protective cages around battery packs. We are no strangers finding boron, martensite, and press hardened steels in the pillars, roof rails, and fender wells.  However, in a BEV, the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements will have boron and martensite steels to protect the battery pack from collisions that could comprise it.  In the images below, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E has this strong steel in the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements.  The automakers can tie in the strong rocker panels into the front fender wells requiring us to make deep cuts during a dash lift or roll.


The image below shows the different testing vehicles are subjected to and a strong battery cage can not only protect the battery pack, but also the occupants of the vehicle.

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacturers have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combat these strong steels. It’s our job to stay current where the automakers are using strong steel.

Images from several Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) 2021 Presentations.

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