Service Report - What We Check

The prime benefits of annual service contracts include:

1) Preventative Maintenance:

There is nothing worse than a tool failure at a potentially tragic scene. Unfortunately, many of these failures can not be detected in a routine weekly check. For example, a simple under-torqued bolt in the trigger assembly often causes 0-Ring failures and a subsequent leak resulting in a tool’s failure to build pressure.

Loose fittings, under-torqued cutter nuts, mild hose abrasions, under-torqued control valve bolts, corroded power unit selector valves, internal tool leaks, improper shift change points in the power units, out-of spec power unit pressures are some of many problems that are not discovered in routine checks that ultimately may effect the success of a rescue.

2) Cost savings:
Regular maintenance saves money in the long run. As a common example, often glass fragments get in between the cutter blades and combination tool blades. These fragments are extremely hard and sharp and if the blades are scored, they must be replaced and the cost of blade replacement alone is in the $ 1,000 range – more than double the annual cost of one system’s check.
3) Rescue User Confidence and Knowledge:

A good example of this is what happened last Friday when I arrived to demonstrate the equipment. One firefighter came up to me and was complaining that one of their existing cutters failed and that the tool was not a very good tool.

I asked that he bring over the tool at the conclusion of the demo and I would evaluate it.
The first thing I noticed when he brought over the tool was that the handle was loose. In addition, the trigger was a little loose and sloppy. These 2 problem elements are not good and do not instill confidence, even if only cosmetic.

I then attempted to cut the vehicles we had worked on. I made 5 attempts and the cutter worked flawlessly on each attempt, despite the loose handle and trigger.

This ties in with another intangible benefit we’ve come to discover about the service contract. The firefighters in that station often have important relative information about problem extrications that they may have encountered over the past year. This helps us. In addition, for them, they get to have everything they ever wanted to know about the “Jaws” answered by the manufacturer and, it is an unmistakable fact that the general information learned by the particular shift that is present that day, is invariably passed onto the other shifts. This helps greatly in maintaining user confidence in the tools.

And, we have an open door policy that we encourage individual stations to call us (with your knowledge first, of course) to inform us of any problems with the equipment.

In short we want everyone to be satisfied, and the direct contact with the firefighters on duty is of immense importance.

4) Safety:
Many departments feel that having the manufacturer in annually reduces the risk of employee injury, and time off for injury. A simple hose leak through a hose that should have been replaced, sprayed into a firefighter’s eyes can have him off duty for days. Again, often, though not always, this type of injury is preventable with annual service checks.
5) Peace of Mind:

Our experience has been that most fire departments maintain their fire apparatus in a routine manner with preventative maintenance, and yet the Hurst equipment is typically maintained on an as-needed repair basis.

The reason for this is not that a fire department is incapable of providing preventative servicing of their Hurst equipment, it is more the fact that as a percentage of a fire department’s overall capital equipment, with fire trucks representing the most amount of capital employed, (the Hurst equipment is fraction of a fraction of this) total capital and as such is repaired when required.

And Hurst equipment is atypical to the mainstream fire trucks that are repaired, and for this reason, most departments elect to have preventative work done on the Hurst equipment done by an accredited outside source, the rescue tool supplier.

6) Cost of the Service Contract:

First system (comprising of a power unit, spreader, cutter, rams, hoses, manifold): $ 600. Additional systems are $ 550 per system for systems the same as above, or if the system comprises of a power unit, combination tool, rams, hoses, manifold).

Replacement parts, fluid are in addition to these contract costs.

Repairs like the replacement of seal kits are extra in terms of labour, but these are rare and if required, will further the life of the tool for years to come, so they are typically worthwhile costs.

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