1. #1
    Hamy91
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Powerhawk! Good or Bad?

    My department just switched from Hurst to Powerhawk. We used to have 32" spreaders, cutters, combi tool, and three different ram sizes. Everything was hydraulic with a power unit and three way differental system so you could operate three tools at once. Our only draw back was in using more than one tool at a time it would take away from each tools full potential. We have recently switched to the Powerhawk system for several reasons.

    1st: It cost too much money annually to maintain our Hurst system.

    2nd: Our department does not get many extrication calls but we practice extrication 4 times a year at least.

    3rd: The powerhawk runs off a normal car battery and does not have to stay lubricated and there are no hydraulic hose lines and no hydrualic fluid hazards.

    I must say that I have seen it and I am not sure that it is able to do the job. I am wondering if anyone can give me some insight to its use or suggestions on a whole. One of the major draw backs is that the battery must remain charge in order for your power pack to provide power. It is also impossible to operate more than one tool at a time. This could prove to be a major draw back in extrication and transport within the Golden Hour. I would appricate any comments or suggestions.

    ------------------
    Hamy91

    FIrefighters are the chosen people.
    _________________________

    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force

  2. #2
    M G
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by Hamy91:
    My department just switched from Hurst to Powerhawk

    Oh my, rest your souls you poor people How can this happen? Switching from Hurst to the Power Chicken?



    ------------------
    The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

  3. #3
    FFTrainer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The PowerHawk system is a good system, but I would never SWITCH from Hurst. I would supplement with the powerhawk system for the small jobs like popping one door, but I would feel more comfortable with that Hurst system on the truck for the more 'involved' job.

  4. #4
    Sfrsc4
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Although I have not personally done side by side comparisons of the Power Hawk vs. Hurst, I can say that the Power Hawk is a good tool. It is the rescue tool that Speedway Fire/Rescue carrys. During training, we have torn up two mid sized cars on a single battery charge. If that wasn't enough, there was also the apparatus adaptor to back it up.
    Although as you mentioned, you can not operate two seperate tools off one control pak, you can operate a light, and a recip saw (Milwalkee 18v cordless/with Power Hawk adaptor) at the same time. Also, if you want to go as far as the cost, you can buy two Power Hawks for the price of one Hurst.
    The Power Hawk was not intended to replace the Hurst, but it does a great job of suplementing it.
    Training and versility are the keys of useing the Power Hawk. It is not made for brute force and ignorance. Skill and finesse are what you need to be sucessful.

    ------------------
    Roger Ellis, Capt. Speedway Fire/Rescue
    http://speedwayfire.8m.com
    ICQ#: 61722026

  5. #5
    Carl Avery
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    The Power Hawk is an Excellent system that is often overlooked. To me it is competing on a Level playing field (Meaning it has Plusses and Minusess) with any combi type tools. I would definatly cosider carrying this tool on any of pieces of equipment (Some places use them as an RIT tool because of weight consideration and ability to function in Oxygen deficient atmospheres) Now having said that I do appreciate a 32 inch spread,(OK-cut out the dirty minds)THE POWERHAWK is a very capable tool and is worthy of being put up aganst any rescue tool. As with any RESCUE TOOL the "OPERATING NUT" (aka the person operatring the tool) is the MOST important factor in any tools success or not!

    ------------------
    Carl D. Avery

  6. #6
    town/dept
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I'm with MG, If you used them side by side
    No contest. I guess the $$$ is the thing.

  7. #7
    skip rupert61
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I've used the powerhawk a number of times and it will do the job. Like Carl mentioned, its the operator. You do need more "finese" with the powerhawk. Technique is very important so you dont rip metal, but spread it. If you already have it, practice, practice, and then practice some more. You will be able to do anything with the powerhawk you can do with the hydraulic tools. Learn the personality of your tool and you will do fine. Good Luck

    Skip Rupert
    Keeper of the "Rescue Zone"

  8. #8
    rmoore
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Steve (Hamy91) posted an interesting original thread asking for input on the PowerHawk system. What really intriqued my was that his department replaced an aging Hurst system with the Powerhawk.

    Steve, is the department you're referring to the Air Force base or your volunteer department?

    Regarding Powerhawk, the consensus among rescue personnel I know is that your department has actually made a decision that has reduced its' overall extrication capabilities.

    The logical action to take would have been to upgrade the Hurst to newer tools: spreader, cutter, power plant. That's what the reviewers I posed this question to said would happen in their departments. You should have purchases newer tools with a new, reliable power plant. Low maintenance, high capabilities and for the same bucks that you spent for the Powerhawk.

    I worked with the PowerHawk company at the recent IAFC conference in Dallas. For three days, I watched their two best factory reps. Sometimes things worked, sometimes things didn't. overall though, every single extrication job took longer and required more operator effort than full-size dedicated systems.

    Even those trainers admit that their PowerHask system and all its' accessories are NOT designed to replace the capabilities of a full-size rescue system such as Hurst. Powerhawk is an supplemental system that offers unique capabilities. Those trainers and the sales reps will tell you "it is not a tool to replace the capabilities of a full-size systems such as Hurst, Holmatro, TNT, Amkus, Genesis, etc."

    Steve, as I see it now, you and your crew members will have to work very hard to fully understand the capabilities and the limitations of Powerhawk. You personally have already sensed that you've lost capability. You seem to know that there is something "missing" now.

    You guys must train to know what you can accomplish with the straight spreader, know how and when to best use the combination spreader/cutter arms, know what the limitations of the curced blade cutter are. As you read the posting here, you'll see how everybody is telling you to train, train, train. It will take more than 4x a year; initially more like 4x a month to get this system figured out.

    This system does not do things the same way as the more common systems do. PowerHawk tools have to do things different. They have to be positioned differently, worked into a door differently, placed differently to cut a pillar, etc. Finesse is what counts along with patience. It is not a full-size spreader nor is it a full-size cutter. You rush it, and you'll screw things up. Even the factory reps demonstrating at IAFC tore skin on almost every door they pryed open due to the narrow tips.

    What you can do now is train extensively to try to regain some of your previous rescue capabilities back.

    Let us know what your department's plans are for getting up to speed on the Powerhawk. If I know exactly what accessories you bought with the system, I can provide some "user tips" for you to try to at least give you back some of what you lost with this most unusual purchase decision.

    Ron Moore
    University of Extrication
    Message Forum Moderator
    <Rmoore@firehouse.com>


  9. #9
    SAL PA 31
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I HAVE BEEN USING THE POWER HAWK FOR A LONG WHILE NOW AND MANY OF THE MEN I WORK WITH FEEL THAT THE POWER HAWK IS A TOOL THAT WILL GIVE YOU ALL YOU NEED AT AN EXTRICATION SCENE. WE HAVE USED THE TOOL TO CUT UP MANY VEHICLES AND HAVE HAD LITTLE OR NO PROBLEMS WITH THE TOOLS. AS A MATTER OF FACT MOST OF MY CO-WORKERS WILL USE THE POWER HAWK INSTEAD OF THE HEAVY TOOLS.

  10. #10
    TROY LARE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    My department has been using the Power Hawk system on one of engines for 2 years. (We also have 2 sets of hydraulic tools in service.) Our company feels that this is the best tool in the fleet for many reasons:
    1. Small/ compact and we are able to get it in places not accessable to the larger Holmatro systems.
    2. The swivel head makes working in tight areas more accessable.
    3. It may not have the spreading or cutting "widths", but the system will do anything we have asked it to do and more.
    4. The attachments that come with the tool are very beneficial, including the saw, rams (no hoses to deal with) and the varied tips.
    I agree that there may be some training to do with the tool to become proficient, but isn't that the same with any tool that we use? If you have never used the tool, give it a chance. When you give it a chance please give it a "fair" shot to prove itself.
    This tool has saved many lives and a lot of time for our department.

    Troy Lare
    Bangor Fire Department
    Bangor, Maine

  11. #11
    Hamy91
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Forum Leader,

    Mr Moore, thank you for your insight and that of the other posts. I have printed out all the post that were given and presented them to the training officer. Yes, we are an Air Force Base Fire Dept.

    I have not had the oppertunity to speak with the officer at this time but I do plan to later next week.

    Thank you again for all of your time and knowledge.


    ------------------
    Hamy91

    FIrefighters are the chosen people.
    _________________________

    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force

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