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High quality "Rescue" tools ?

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by Draglid, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. Lane DeCamp

    Lane DeCamp Loaded Pockets

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    I just spent the past month doing emergency rescue in Houston and southwest Florida. I routinely was having to break car windows if only to get into them and prep them for being towed out of the water. Some were fully submerged; others were just in water up to their door handles or so. We also had a number of large bundles dropped from helos that were bound in 2" nylon webbing and needed to be cut out of the webbing so they could be pulled out of the water and deployed.

    Well, I didn't find a glass breaker that worked, pretty much at all. It took a 1960s pickup with early non-safety glass in the side windows to break it with any of the little carbide-tip tools, whether a Leatherman or a classic rescue tool or whatever. If I needed to break the window, I needed a ball pein hammer of around 16 ounces. More weight made them hard to accelerate in close quarters (though for me, mostly breaking through from outside, that didn't really matter) but if I were using it underwater, extra weight was a handicap. Going much lighter meant it didn't do enough damage. On newer vehicles, most tools heavier than glass breakers still tended to bounce off until they finally put a hole in it, and the glass often would just crack and puncture at one point rather than disintegrate. Disappointing results.

    As for cutting webbing, the only thing that worked consistently was a coarse serrated blade. Hooks either worked once or twice and then dulled, or they snagged on any doubled-up areas (like around a buckle or d-ring), or they simply didn't cut to begin with. Wishful thinking.

    After doing about forty vehicle entries, in which half a dozen involved removing passengers, and cutting apart around three dozen dropped supply bundles, this was more than a lifetime of entry even for most EMTs. I wouldn't have wanted to be in a single one of those vehicles or held in by a single piece of that webbing. A serrated knife did the job on the webbing and for breaking a window in a car, I'd just have a ball pein hammer under the driver's seat.
     
  2. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Cool to hear some actual real life facts about those gadget glass breakers. Did you ever try to break a window from the inside out? Most of those small on person tools are made for that, not repeatedly smashing one window after the other from the 'wrong' side day in day out.

    About the ball peen hammer advise you are giving, i would highly recommend against it. In case of a crash anything loose in a vehicle will go flying. If you are lucky and don't get hit by it in the first place you'll have the most difficult time finding it back when you need it to break your window.
     
  3. BillyFred

    BillyFred Loaded Pockets

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    Leather Z Rex has done the job for me on several occasions. Neat little holster fits right onto the molle on my Condor rip and go trauma kit.
     
  4. steviesterno

    steviesterno Loaded Pockets

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    I had to go through a newer Honda side window to help a guy out of a rollover accident. I had a hammer in my truck but ended up grabbing a knife with a carbide breaker tip I had by my steering wheel. Wasn't sure how much force it needed so I hit it 3 times, a bit harder each time. On the 3rd I gave it a good whack and it splintered the whole window, we were able to pull it out. I did cut my hand a bit since it went into the hole I was making, but not bad enough to worry.

    I did order 4 of the center punches with belt cutters the next day though. one each for my wife and my driver's seat, and one each for the car seats.
     
  5. Karmakanic

    Karmakanic Loaded Pockets

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    A welders slag chipping hammer works well on toughened glass door windows. A glass saw is normally required for laminated glass windshields. Ordinary medical shears from the First Aid kit work very well on seat-belts with the added bonus of being able to cut clothing, zip ties and even steel shims.
     
  6. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    It sure is interesting to hear stories from the real world. And even if it would prove easier to break the glass from the inside out, it does make me question my current tools.

    The thing is, you don't want to practice too often on your own car window, so you're quite dependent on the tools you have to actually doing the job when it counts.
    I might actually consider covering a slag chipping hammer or similar in velcro tape and attach it under the driver seat. The velcro should keep it in place, and it would be good to know there is a backup if my regular tools fail, or I need to assist another vehicle and enter from the outside.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  7. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Just curious about the effort required to break car windows. FWIW I have one of those Life Hammer things in my car; but never have used it.

    Be that as it may.

    When I got interested in these things about a year ago, many of the articles/reviews, etc., made a big point about not striking the glass in the middle but rather in a corner, IIRC. Claims were made the glass would be weaker there.

    In what you were doing, what part of the window(s) were you striking?

    wrt cutting seat belts. I have Benchmade rescue hooks in various FAK -- I was heavily influenced by videos that company put out. However, in my car, I have a serrated blade rescue knife from Spyderco riding in the console next to the Life Hammer. I have used the knife (just to test); worked really well.

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  8. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Car windows are literally built to withstand impacts from the outside. The way the glass is layered and the curve it has all work together to make this happen. It should be easier to destroy a window from the inside in general but still some cars will always be tougher than others (hard-tops, convertibles and other pilarless designs will always have stronger side windows).

    Velcroing a hammer is a decent idea, if you go the diy route promise you'll also put an automatic centerpunch next to it, you might thank me later. I've only broken a car window once in my life and it was with one of those. No need to swing anything around, just press it in and the window pops. Make sure you get a reliable one with a good tip, oil it up and store in a ziplock bag in case you get your vehicle in water. No need to remove the ziplock to use the thing.
     
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  9. thekapow

    thekapow EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Leatherman Z-rex is my go to rescue cutter after using several hooks during my years in EMS, if it goes dull just rotate og change the blade. (The one in the picture was plast-dip'd) I have never used the window breaker.

    For window punch, Reqme has one of the best spring loaded punches ever! And works over and over. [​IMG]

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
     
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  10. KD5JHA

    KD5JHA Loaded Pockets

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    I EDC my triage (black/plain edge) and have for almost 5 years now. I'd say it is a good heavy duty general purpose knife with a safe point where you won't jab yourself or others in a high stress situation.

    I would rate the seatbelt cutter as adequate because it does not lock. If it was locking it would be excellent. As it is it requires a little skill to learn to use it effectively but it works well. All cutters of this type are hard to sharpen, but at least this one can be replaced separately from the entire knife.

    The carbide glass breaker works well, as described... and is also replaceable if you damage it. It to me is a bonus item that weighs little but is worth adding to the knife.

    Honestly if you are an occasional user,or have a knife you like better take a look at the rescueme...

    resqme The Original Keychain Car Escape Tool, Made in USA (Red) - Pack of 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042VVKD4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FFggAbS4SCR03

    It works beautifully!
     
  11. Outbound

    Outbound Loaded Pockets

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    When I was in fire academy, they taught us how to break windows. The very first thing they said was not to hit the middle of the window. The window will flex and absorb the force of your impact, reducing your effectiveness. Reading these posts where people are reporting difficulties breaking the glass makes me wonder if that's where they were striking.

    We were taught to strike in the bottom right (when looking at the window from outside the car) corner. It's counter-intuitive as you would assume with the frame it'd be stronger. In fact, that stiffness works to your advantage. It eliminates the vibration and flex from the impact, thus focusing the energy into the impact point.

    We used folders with carbide tips, res-q-me tools, the life hammer thingy and a few others. Rarely did it take more than 2 or 3 solid smacks to get the window to shatter.

    My dad recently retired from 32 years on a full time fire dept. I asked him and he said that it was pretty uncommon for them to have issues breaking a side window.

    Do a search on youtube about auto extrication glass breaking. You'll see the pros are impacting in the corner of the window. Once the window spiders, it's pretty easy to finish the job.

    No need for a ball peen hammer if you're doing it right. I've seen people do it with a radio antenna
     
  12. bj warkentin

    bj warkentin Loaded Pockets

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    I would go with a decent (machine shop tool grade, not gimmicky rescue tool from KTel) auto punch. Biggest win is that you don't need to have the strength, room, area to swing a tool to make it work. If you can get to the window with even a small amount of extension left, you can break the glass. I mentor a high school robotics team and we use them all the time when fabricating parts. A petite grade 9 girl has no strength issues using one, and strength/co-ordination may be an issue when you are shocky, or injured in an accident. Plus you don't need training on technique to use one, just put the tool against the glass and push. This may be really important if your use model is self extraction, versus being a trained first responder extracting others.

    Biggest issue is securing it in your car so you can find it after an accident.

    A decent one is pretty durable, as I have some that have survived multiple years of high school student use/abuse and they love punching little holes in the weirdest things.
     
  13. Matteblack

    Matteblack Loaded Pockets

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    Can you recommend a particular brand or where to look for ones such as you are describing? Thank you for sharing this knowledge!
     
  14. bj warkentin

    bj warkentin Loaded Pockets

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    Basically a "machine tool" grade one, which is going to be somewhat specific to the country you are located in. I live in Canada and have both Starrett and General Tools auto punches, among others. Another way of looking at it is via price. Here in Canada, decent machine tool grade ones typically range from $50-100 CDN. Cheap/generic ones are easily found from $10-25 at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Canadian Tire.

    I like the Starrett 18A:

    http://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/metrology/metrology-products/precision-measuring-tools/machinists-precision-shop-tools/Punches-And-Sets/18A

    and General Tools #78:

    https://www.generaltools.com/heavy-duty-automatic-center-punch

    Better ones will have much better machining, adjustable punch force, and replaceable punch ends. I tend to get them from speciality tool shops but they are available on Amazon (at least in Canada and the US).
     
  15. acropolis5

    acropolis5 Loaded Pockets

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    Russ: What part of the Wave do u use to break car side windows...butt of the tool, tip of the pliers, tip of the blade or tip of the screwdriver?
     
  16. Russ Prechtl

    Russ Prechtl EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Usually I have a center punch or halligan tool handy so I don't have to break windows with my multi tool.
     
  17. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Your post gave me the impression that you have used the Wave to break glass too.