Albion Fire Department has new extrication equipment

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2017 at 10:12 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Albion firefighters hold some of the new extrication equipment that recently was added to the department. Pictured, from left, include: Fire Chief Harry Papponetti, holding a rams that spreads metal (for displaced steering wheel); Deputy Chief Jeremy Graham, holding a spreader; Captain Rocky Sidari with a cutter; and driver Jeremy Babcock.

ALBION – The Albion Fire Department responds to many motor vehicle accidents every year, with many on routes 98, 31 or 104.

Last year the department responded to 92 motor vehicle accidents and used extrication equipment at more than 50 of those calls, Fire Chief Harry Papponetti said.

The department has new extrication tools that work faster with more power to separate or cut metal.

Albion’s Hurst tools were hydraulically powered before. The new tools use batteries. They can simply be turned on and they’re ready. The hydraulic tools have cables that get in the way and can only be used close by to a fire truck. A generator has to be turned on to provide power for the tools.

Albion purchased two sets of tools, one for each fire engine. Each of those trucks will have a cutter, spreader and ram. The department also bought new stabilizing jacks for vehicles that are on their sides or flipped over.

The equipment cost $77,000. Albion last year sold a rescue truck from 2004 for $55,000 and used that money to buy the new equipment. The department also used proceeds from its boot drive and other fundraisers to help buy the new tools.

“It is five times more powerful,” Papponetti said.

Albion is the second fire department in Orleans County with the new battery-powered Hurst tools. Carlton was the first to get the equipment.

Carlton was featured in a Hurst newsletter for using the new equipment on Nov. 20. That day a big branch snapped on Kenyonville Road, crashing into a passing car. The driver and passenger needed to extricated.

This photo shows a car that had its roof cut and pulled back so the driver and passenger could be safely removed. A branch crushed the roof as the car was moving on Kenyonville Road on a windy Nov. 20. Carlton firefighters also used a spreader and cutter to remove the car doors, and the ram tool to move a collapsed dash.

The new tools for Albion allowed the Fire Department to retire a hydraulic Hurst tool from 1974. Albion was the department in the county in 1974 to have that Hurst tool, Papponetti said.

Albion firefighters saw the battery-powered Hurst tools at a trade show. Papponetti wanted to see how they worked before acquiring them. DK Autobody provided three vehicles for Albion firefighters to try the new tools. Papponetti said the equipment worked remarkably well, chomping through powerful steel and opening crushed doors.

The tools can also be used at structure fires, opening locked doors and moving other obstructions so firefighters can get access to a fire, or safely get out.

“This is so much better and so much faster,” said Deputy Chief Jeremy Graham said about the new tools compared to the hydraulic Hurst equipment. “There won’t be any tripping over hoses or refilling gas tanks.”

Return to top