Extrication Zone

Hydraulic Rescue Tools: Operation and Maintenance

Issue 9 and Volume 162.

BY BILLY LEACH JR. The hydraulically powered rescue tool was introduced to North American rescuers around 1970. Generally, a complete rescue system includes a power unit, spreader, cutter, ram, combination tool, and assorted accessories. Power unit. The hydraulic power unit usually includes the following components: a hydraulic fluid reservoir, hydraulic fluid, a hydraulic pump, a pump power source, directional and relief controls, and hoses and connectors. The hydraulic power unit operates the hydraulic pump to supply pressure and flow to the hoses, directs the hydraulic fluid flow to the selected outlet, stores a quantity of hydraulic fluid, and provides a means of relief from system overpressure. The correct hydraulic fluid is necessary for proper operation. Keep the fluid clean and free from contaminants. Check the tool’s fluid level often, and change it as directed by the manufacturer, purging the hoses of old fluid. Contaminants such as debris can clog screens,…

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