St. Germain firefighters practice vehicle extrication with battery-powered tools exhibited during a recent training by AMKUS Rescue Systems Tools. A removed door lies in the foreground.
St. Germain firefighters practice vehicle extrication with battery-powered tools exhibited during a recent training by AMKUS Rescue Systems Tools. A removed door lies in the foreground.
Members of St. Germain Fire and Rescue were treated Dec. 20 to a hands-on display of battery-powered AMKUS Rescue Systems extrication tools exhibited by Scott Bradley, affiliated with POMASL Fire Equipment in Antigo.

AMKUS tools are the official NASCAR and National Hot Rod Association rescue tools used at races and tracks across the country.

St. Germain firefighters had witnessed a display of battery powered rescue tools in the past and remarked how much faster and easier AMKUS tools are to work with. An old pickup truck was cut up by department members in short order.

Rescue tools are often called “jaws” because they have parts which move together to grip roof posts, steering components and auto door frames when occupants are entrapped in a vehicle. Other parts of the system are called spreaders or “rams” and are used to push, pull or widen building structural members, as well as auto rooftops.

Bradley, a firefighter for many years who served in every position from firefighter to chief, also exhibited a battery powered circular saw and battery powered chainsaw.

Since the California Air Resources Board ruled that small gasoline engines will be a thing of the past, battery powered equipment is becoming more sophisticated and will likely replace gasoline powered equipment, including the hydraulic pumps that may be used to operate rescue equipment.

Battery powered rescue tools also bring additional advantages to their use at an accident scene.

Being extremely quiet, they allow for more verbal communication between rescuers. The battery operated extrication tools also eliminate the tripping hazards presented by the hydraulic hoses that run from the pump to the tool with traditional extrication equipment.

Department members learned that some of the pieces of equipment cost between $12,000 and $15,000 each.