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  1. #1
    firemedic818
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry Amkus - Afailure or Success?

    I am just curious, has anyone had a problem with Amkus tools failing during a use? I have never used Amkus before this past Saturday night, and I have to say, I am less than fond of their tools...

    I had a '99 Cadillac STS hit a very old oak tree at about 70 mph. Both passengers were entangled/trapped by both the dashboard and the doors. The volunteer FD on scene had never used their tools in a real life situation, there fore leaving a majority of the extrication to the paid guys.

    I connected the tools to the porta-power in the usual fashion (self explanatory)and started to dig into the drivers side door with the "combi-tool". Not only did I not have enough power to remove an already sprung door, but the connection "let loose", coating my partners and I in hydrolic fluid - fortunatley not hot enough to burn...yet. We did not even have enough power to roll the dash to disentangle the occupants legs. We ended up using a tow truck to lift the dash...How embarrasing!

    In the long run, the front seat passenger ended up coding because of the "prolonged extrication." And to this, I feel horrible.

    Has anyone else had a similar incident with any tool, espicially Amkus? Please let me know. I am used to using both Hurst and Holmotro. I vow to never again use an Amkus tool as long as I live. The are nothing but extra weight on the truck...I'd rather carry the extra weight in sand...


    An angry rescue-medic


  2. #2
    F52 Westside
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    We currently operate 3 sets of Amkus Hydraulics. We (until recently) do alot of extrications and have not had any problems with the exception of an arm malfunctioning during a training. I would not give up on Amkus after one problem. I would have to ask:

    How well is the equipment maintained ?
    How old is the equipment ?
    Are the hydraulic lines the proper lines (correct P.S.I.) ?
    etc..
    And remember that Doo Doo Occurs, but giving up on a tool because of one incident does not mean it could not happen to Hurst, Holmatro or another..

    ------------------
    Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
    Local 3008
    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

  3. #3
    Ten8_Ten19
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    You had a problem using someone else's tools that you'd never used before and you blame the tools?

    We've used Amkus for years and never had a problem. If the hoses are like ours you have to give them a 1/4 turn to lock to make sure they don't disconnect. If you didn't have enough power has anyone checked the hydraulic reservoir lately?

    If they can't run the tools they should leave them in the barn.

  4. #4
    Resq14
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    It doesn't sound as though it was the tool that malfunctionned here...

  5. #5
    dcfa20
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have had the opportunity to use both "Hurtz" and Amkus. While they both have their good and bad points, I must say I prefer the versatility of the Amkus systems. In regards to failures, I must admit that the only time I have personnaly witnessed failures with either brand, it was either due to operator error or lack of maintenance.

    I used to run with a heavy rescue company in Central PA that has an Amkus Ultimate system, (serial #004) that has never failed to perform during an extrication. Even when using all 6 preconnects, with no loss of speed or power. The department I currently run with uses a simple Hurst system, one combo tool, one cutter, and one ram. It, too, has never failed us.

    I am really sorry to see a "professional" take such a strong dislike to one brand because of one bad experience. I guess this was the only time something didn't work properly for you?

  6. #6
    capt205
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Quick connect hoses with a 1/4 turn to lock it in should not have come apart unless they were not properly connected in the first place. This applies to AMKUS, Holmatro, TNT and Genisis. Can't speak for hurst as they have the little dots that you have to line up, and I have no experience with that brand and whether they have locking couplings. I agree with the comment about checking the resivoir. Also combi tools while they have their place, should not be compared against a spreader or a cutter. It does a little of both, but neither one as good as a tool designed to do one thing. Also, When was the last time the set of tools in question serviced by a qualified technician, and pump pressures verified as being in the correct operating range? I don't think the problem was specific to the brand, but operator/maintanance error.

  7. #7
    Emlenton125
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    How can you complain about AMKUS after using it one time. My dept has used AMKUS for over 15 yrs. and we love it. It sound like the problem wasn't the tool but the operators. If the extrication team didn't have the training/knowledge/common sense they should never have been there. Which you left helping the patients, which should have never happened. As for combo-tools don't like them. I feel cutters and spreaders are the way to go, for some depts they are great not me.The coupling coming apart if it come apart it was never connected right. You better thank god it was a AMKUS you was using and not hurst with the cautic hydraulic fluid. Why is it embarrassing that the tow truck rolled the dash, use all your resources. We use a tow truck all the time. As for AMKUS being extra weight, at least I can pick up my AMKUS up by myself unlike a hurst.

    AN ANGRY AMKUS USER

  8. #8
    lutan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I hate to agree with everyone else! You said yourself that the vols had very little use of the tool, so the job was left to the "paid guys"....
    The paid guys should be the ones with the least amount of excuses for not using the tools. IT'S THEIR JOB to know the tools and how to operate them and how to overcome problems.
    PS: I've never used AMKUS in my life, but the same still applies for any brand of tool.
    You guys really let yourselves down when you were most needed.

  9. #9
    vogelfuer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I'm sorry to hear about that you had to experience a failed extrication. As many people know you have two types of systems when it comes to hydraulic extrication tools. You have high and low pressure.Low pressure systems rely on a wider contact surfaces and operate on about 5,500 lbs of pressure which accounts for the tool being shorter. Hurst is a low pressure system. Amkus is a high pressure system. High pressure systems operate at about 10,500 pounds of pressure and only require a small area to exert this pressure and therefor the tool can use a wider sweep.
    You said I believe your experience was in the hurst tool area. I believe the problem is that with the difference between high and low pressure systems your tool placement will be quite different. We use Amkus, but I have cross trained on Phoenix, Hurst, Holmatro, and Res Q tool. I have found all will do the job but tool placement is critical according to the different tool characteristics.
    I am sorry to say this but based on the information you have provided, it appears a lack of cross training is the fault here.

  10. #10
    ResqCapt19
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The hydraulic operating pressure has nothing to do with tool placement. While a high pressure system can create the same force with a smaller cylinder and a maybe a lighter tool weight, this has nothing to do with the tool placement.

    As far as the original problem, it sounds like the hose was not fully coupled causing a flow and pressure restriction prior to the coupling comming apart.


  11. #11
    Rescue 101
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I've been actively involved in vehicle rescue for over 20 yrs.I work for two Depts.,one has Holmatro/one Amkus.Both are wonderful tools.I wasn't at your scene nor am I about to pass judgement.In both depts.I work for,had we had the scene you describe,We would immediately have called for a second heavy rescue just for tool malfunction/tool diversity.It's always hard to lose a "client"but you need to learn from it and move on.I don't think tool failure was the only problem here.

    ------------------

  12. #12
    vogelfuer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Just for clarification hydraulic pressures can change tool performance because of insufficiently untrained personnel. A low pressure system because of its nature has short tips, therefore the whole tip is its strongest fulcrum. A high pressure system such as Amkus has longer jaws and the most powerful fulcrum point of the tool is closer to the axis of the tool. People that are only trained might be unfamiliar with the characteristics and will attempt to use the tips of the tool and become frustrated because this greatly decreases the tools strength.
    Furthermore, at several department trainig seminars we try to make the tools fail. We have tried hooking the lines without locking the quarter turn locks and the tool will work!!
    I believe the bottom line here is cross training. Ther are so many different styles,characteristics, and controls no department can afford to become "experts" on one kind of tool system. And unless one is GOD himself no one can can say what is or is not possible. After all, amatuers built the ark, "experts" built the Titanic.

  13. #13
    Carl Avery
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Originally posted by vogelfuer:
    I have found all will do the job but tool placement is critical according to the different tool characteristics.
    Whilst I agree with you about the differences in tools I do not necessarily agree that preasure is the ONLY Difference. I do believe it has much more to do with the geometry of the Jaws. I do know that each tool operates differently, and as such cannot STRESS enough that cross training is The RIGHT THING to DO, Also please REMEMBER We do have more options than just Spreaders and Cutters, remember Cip Saws, Hi-lift Jacks, Air Chisels and anyother tools you can think of! I also do agree if you main tool goes down call another Rescue Unit, but Please DO NOT stop and wait for the other Squad. Go to you plans B, C and what ever and look at what other options and tools that you have



    ------------------
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

  14. #14
    vogelfuer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Forgive me, I sometimes become emphatical but I wholeheartedly agree with brother Avery. Just remember, whether your paid or a volunteer you need to cross train cross train cross train.

    ------------------
    Grant Davis
    Improvise,Adapt,Overcome

  15. #15
    FFDIVERChad165
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Well I was gonna stay out of this one. I got a forward from Emlenton125. Here is an email from firemedic to him.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Kevin Romer
    To: rwhite
    Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 8:48 AM
    Subject: your post


    Are youy always a jack *** or just on line??

    You need to look up the definition of caustic....then post what you wish.

    As far as tool weight..... wimp!!

    Nice email.

    Ok now to address your question........A success

    "The volunteer FD on scene had never used their tools in a real life situation, there fore leaving a majority of the extrication to the paid guys."

    Paid guys who also had obviously never used it.

    "I connected the tools to the porta-power in the usual fashion (self explanatory)and started to dig into the drivers side door with the "combi-tool".

    Our usual fashion stays together.

    "Not only did I not have enough power to remove an already sprung door, but the connection "let loose", coating my partners and I in hydrolic fluid"

    Yeah if it's not connected right it would do that.

    "We did not even have enough power to roll the dash to disentangle the occupants legs."

    Again if it's not connected right it would do that.

    "We ended up using a tow truck to lift the dash."

    At least you knew enough to change tatics when it went down hill. Good job.

    "I vow to never again use an Amkus tool as long as I live. The are nothing but extra weight on the truck...I'd rather carry the extra weight in sand...
    "

    Well the sand will be a good place to put your head back into.

    Oh and it happens to all tools.
    Most of it is user error or maintenance.
    I'm gonna say user error on this one





    [This message has been edited by FFDIVERChad165 (edited 06-19-2001).]

  16. #16
    firemedic818
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    I would like to thank all of my brethern who posted their ideas and comments. After going back to the FD who owns the tools, we found that there was no maintance program in effect and that the tools had never been used other than for drill.

    I have to post this though...

    These tools were not from my squad, nor was this a FD that I typically respond with to MVC's.

    There are quite a few details tthat I purposely ommitted:
    1) Most of the volunteer responders had left a party at their FD...Nothing personal, but responders shouldn't have ETOH on there breath in this type of situation.
    2) I responded initially as a Paramedic, not as rescue ops.
    3) We actually did check the hydrolic fluid level after the couplinks let loose and the reservoir was full.
    4) We hypothosized that the porta-power (manufactured some time well before I was involved in EMS/Rescue)just didn't have enough power to run the tools to their maximum capability.

    This was not a persoanl attack on Amkus or their product, however I am very displeased with the way they operated in this situation. I have done well over 300 extrications using both Hurst and Halmotro, and never expierenced a "critical" failure like I expierenced that night. I would not discount using Amkus again, but I have to say I would prefer using Hurst or Halmotro.\

    I agree that Amkus is lighter that Hurst (by far!!!) But I would gladly sacrifice weight for functionality and (at least in my mind) a tool I cam trust.


    Thanks again for the input and keep them coming in. An ideas I can gain from this would be a welcome objective.

    Be safe!!!

  17. #17
    Bones
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    After 15 years plus, using Hurst, Holmatro, Amkus, and some Phoenix tools, the only failure I have come across was the back connection on a Holmatro being snapped off on a door post. Happened right when the salesman came to demonstrate their tools to try and convince us to replace our Hurst with Holmatro. Needless to say, didn't go over too well. I did notice that Holmatro has since changed the back connectors to be on a short section of hose instead of direct to back of tool, keeps that same thing from happening.

    ------------------

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Daytona Beach, Fl
    Posts
    15

    Default

    I think all of the other posts say it best, its not the equipment being operated but whoever is using or taking care of it. My department uses it and I also use this equipment at Daytona International Speedway, and I must say I have never had a prob with Amkus equipment. Think its time for some TLC on the equipment, and maybe some training. Maybe not for you if you know what your doin, but maybe for the folk's equipment you were using.
    null

    [ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: hydrantkatcher ]

  19. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Silver City, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default

    My thought on this matter is pretty much the same. I have been "extricating" for about 11 years now and have never had an Amkus fail the way you discribed. The coupling matter, well, I doubt it was spray, dousing, or covered with hydralic oil. You must not have connected it properly. If you don't connect properly there is no flow due to the check valve on the coupling. If you didn't do the quater tunr there would have been a draging og the coupling over something to get it to release and you get a quick spray of hydraulic fluid. As for not enough power, again hydraulic fluid up? Combo tools, I have found are always weaker than specialty tools. As for "vollies" and "paid" guys, well I've seen some pretty good vollies and prety good paid. To call yourself better is pure arrogence! If you interact w/ this agency on a regular basis, why don't you train together?! My department has used Amkus for 18 yrs and the only problems we encountered was user error, or maintanance oversite. I have also used Hurst (too heavy), Holmatro (very nice), Phoenix (ok) and Power Hawk (unique). All were good tools. No offence, but you need to drop the attitude step back and reevaluate your actions way before the call.

  20. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I connected the tools to the porta-power in the usual fashion (self explanatory)and started to dig into the drivers side door with the "combi-tool". Not only did I not have enough power to remove an already sprung door, but the connection "let loose", coating my partners and I in hydrolic fluid - fortunatley not hot enough to burn...yet. We did not even have enough power to roll the dash to disentangle the occupants legs. We ended up using a tow truck to lift the dash...How embarrasing!

    Amkus does not run on normal hydraulic fluid, it uses mineral oil or mineral based hydraulic fluid LIKE SEVERAL OTHER BRANDS DO! THIS IS WHY YOU DID NOT MELT ON POINT OF CONTACT! BUT, YOU KNOW THIS DON'T YOU?

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