Rescue Tools and hydraulic rescue tools are used by firefighters and emergency rescue crews to rescue trapped victims from collapsed buildings or more commonly road traffic collisions (RTC’s) also known as road traffic incidents (RTI’s). Fire Rescue Tools and hydraulic rescue equipment include cutters, spreaders, ram jacks and combined rescue tools.
Hydraulic rescue tools are powered by a hydraulic pump, which can be hand, foot, engine-powered or even built into the tool. These tools may be either single-acting, where hydraulic pressure will only move the cylinder in one direction, and the return to starting position. This is accomplished using a pressure-relief valve and spring setup, or dual-acting, in which hydraulic pressure is used to both open and close the hydraulic cylinder.
The tools operate on the basis of hydraulic fluid pressure of up to 720 bar (10,000 psi), which must be provided from a power source. At present, there are three different means of generating the pressure. The most commonly used source is a separate power unit, a small petrol (gasoline) engine connected to a hydraulic pump. The hydraulic fluid is pressurised in the pump, and conveyed in a hose under pressure to the tool.
Alternative power sources are a small electrical pump in the tool powered by a heavy duty rechargeable battery, and a hand or foot operated pump also connected to the tool directly. These are useful for lighter-duty use and do not require the storage space taken up by the separate power unit and associated lengths of hose.