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The 1999 Hand Tool Utilization Challenge

Select five hand tools to complete vehicle rescue tasks.

SUBJECT: Hand Tool Utilization Challenge
TOPIC: Selecting hand tools for extrication
OBJECTIVE: Select five hand tools to complete vehicle rescue tasks
TASK: Following the conditions listed below, select only five hand tools that you would use to complete the greatest number of potential vehicle rescue evolutions. List how each tool would be used to accomplish the potential tasks.

You are a member of a rescue team. The team has received a request for a rescue at the scene of a motor vehicle crash. No other details are available.

You are allowed to respond with only five hand tools. Which five hand tools do you choose and why?

Here are the ground rules:

1. No medical services will be rendered by your team; an EMS crew will handle those responsibilities.

2. All five tools you select must be hand tools only. They cannot be powered by electricity. No hydraulic-powered tools qualify. No air-powered rescue tools are allowed on your list. Only hand tools that are manually operated are acceptable.

3. Your rescue team consists of a leader and four rescue technicians; five persons total.

4. Support operations such as fire and safety control, crowd control and traffic control will be handled by other personnel. Your team must concentrate only on the physical tasks of extricating occupants who may be trapped in the wreckage when you get to the scene.

Possible evolutions you may be requested to accomplish with your five hand tools may include the following:

  • Vehicle stabilization.

  • Forcible entry to engine compartment/hood.

  • Shutting down power at battery.

  • Forcible entry through side- or rear-window glass.

  • Windshield removal.

  • Forcible entry into trunk/hatchback.

  • Jammed front door opened, widened, removed.

  • Jammed rear door opened, removed.

  • Total B-pillar removal.

  • Total roof removal.

  • Brake pedal moved, removed.

  • Steering wheel removal.

  • Steering column moved, removed.

  • Dash/firewall moved.

    Discuss this brain teaser among the members of your department. Select your hand tools to accomplish as much as possible, then list your choices for the five hand tools. Explain what they will be used for and how they will accomplish all potential tasks at the crash scene.

    Ron Moore, a Firehouse contributing editor, is a battalion chief and the training officer for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the ?MembersZone? and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the website. Moore can be contacted directly at