Thread: Air Bags
11-10-2003, 10:57 PM #1
Looking for some information on air bags. What brands you are using? If there are any to stay away from? What would be a good starting set (size of bags and quanity)? What is the most user friendly? Basically now we are running the Holmatro system (cutters, spreaders, combi tool, rams, etc). Really like these tools but never used their air bags. Any information would be great. Thanks
11-18-2003, 06:43 PM #2
Air Lifting Bags
My personal preference is MAXIFORCE AIR LIFTING BAGS by Paratech, Inc. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add that I am an emergency equipment distributor (+15 years now) and that I carry five different types of air lift bag systems from three different manufacturers. However, I'll qualify my choice by saying that they have the most extensive product line; Low and Medium Pressure Air Cushions, as well as High Pressure Air Lift Bags and Control Packages. Additionally, Paratech, Inc. employs a staff of experienced and highly qualified "Product Specialist" that are available to respond to any customer's questions. From personal experience, Paratech stands behind their product, many times even after the standard warranty had expired.
In today's overly litigious and highly competitive markets, the performance of most fire and rescue products has become remarkably similar. The measure that I use most often is "how well is the product backed up by the manufacturer and their distribution network?"
Last edited by EEResQ; 12-01-2003 at 08:16 PM.
11-18-2003, 10:26 PM #3
Thanks EEresQ for the info. Are they pretty much user friendly?
In this day and age we do not need anything complicated.
11-19-2003, 04:14 PM #4
Air Lifting Bags
Modren air lifting bag systems are very "user friendly."
They consist primarily of five parts:
* AIR SOURCE
The most common air source is the SCBA bottle. However, you can use WORKING AIR bottles, air compressors or cascade systems. Any safe, reliable source of dry compressed air at a regulated pressure will do.
* PRESSURE REGULATOR
While there are several types on the market, the older DIAPHRAGM type and the newer PISTON type are the most common. Spend the extra money on the PISTON type regulator as they are more reliable and less likely to freeze up at temperatures below 20F degrees.
* CONTROL SYSTEM
Each manufacturer has their own design (some may be just private labeled versions of another name brand), however there are really only three types.
1. Control Console or Panel w/Safety Reliefs
The Control Console or Panel is intended to lay flat as the user works the valves to inflate or deflate the air lifting bags.
2. Hand-Held 1/4 Turn Control Valve w/Safety Reliefs
This older style hand-held controller is assembled from commonly avaiable parts and is usually included in the very basic air lift bag control packages. The 1/4 turn valves are opened and closed as required to inflate and the relief valves are opened to deflate.
3. Dual Deadman Safety Relief & Control Valve
This is the newest and least complicated air lift bag controller to date. It is of a uni-body design with two pair of spring loaded, color coded push buttons for inflation and deflation. The engingeers came very close to FIREFIGHTER PROOF on this piece of equipment.
* WORKING AIR HOSES
Use the manufacturer's recommended hoses and "LOCKING" couplers. Purchase several hoses of different colors and from 15 feet to 30 feet in length. Hoses are the least expensive parts, have enough to do the job without placing yourself to close to the lift.
* AIR LIFTING BAGS
There are at least five different designs on the market today. I'll share with you the three most common in use.
1. Low & Medium Pressure High Lift Air Cushions: 7 to 15 PSI.
These "Air Cushions" produce a higher lift but at much less load than high pressure flat bags. They are great for quickly filling voids during trench rescue operations.
2. High Pressure (Flat) Air Lift Bags: 115 to 125 PSI.
These are the most common air lifting bags in use throughout the US today. The sizes vary from 6" x 6" up to 36" x 36" and of working loads from 1 to 74 tons. REMEMBER -- The stated Working Load is only for the first 1 inch of the lift. As surface area of the bag decreases, so does the lift capacity. Also, NEVER exceed the manufacturer's stated MAXIMUM INFLATION PRESSURE.
3. High Pressure--High Lift "Locking" Air Bags: 145 to 150 PSI.
These are becoming more popular as they combine the capabilities of both the air cushions and the flat air lift bags. The limitations are that the smallest HPHL air bag is almost 24" in diameter deflated and they cost considerably more than either of the older designs. The greatest advantage is found in the user's ability to "lock" together up to three of these air bags and thus gain considerable lift heigth.
REMEMBER -- ALWAYS LIFT AND CRIB SIMULTANEOUSLY; BOTH UP AND DOWN DURING THE USE OF ANY AIR LIFT BAG SYSTEM.
In closing I'll state this: The more a department trains with air lifting bags, the better and safer they will be in their actual application. Before you purchase, attend a couple of air lift bag classes taught by certified instructors who are in "teaching" mode. Then listen to the manufacturer's representatives from a position of knowledge.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add that I am an emergency equipment distributor (+15 years now) and that I carry five different types of air lift bag systems from three different manufacturers.
Last edited by EEResQ; 12-01-2003 at 08:20 PM.
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