Hydraulic power units are not just beautiful feats of engineering, they also play a heroic role in saving lives. Normally associated with aerospace and manufacturing, hydraulic power units also play a major role in rescue operations. The Jaws Of Life are a collection of hydraulic power units that are specifically used to cut people from mangled cars and steel structures. The Jaws Of Life are also the brand name of rescue equipment designed, manufactured and trademarked by the Hurst Jaws Of Life Company. Hydraulic power systems give rescuers super human powers because they increase the strength of the person operating them.
The Jaws Of Life refer to cutters, spreaders and rams that are operated by hydraulic pistons and are used to open up mangled vehicles like a tin opener taking the lid off a can. These amazing hydraulic power units can save precious seconds, which is essential when saving lives. The principle behind hydraulic power systems is the transmission of force resulting in a small force being transformed into a bigger force. Hydraulic power units make cutting someone out of a car or collapsed building many times quicker, enabling them to be treated sooner by waiting paramedics.
In May 2016 the DVIDS (Defense Video Imagery System) website reported on a training session for marines, sailors and firefighters in Los Angeles on how to use hydraulic power units in rescue operations. Their training involved using; hydraulic circular saws, hydraulic chain saws, hydraulic power units and a variety of other time saving equipment. They also learnt how to choose the right type of wood to cut and construct supports to keep openings safe. The final piece of training involved using metal rods and wooden blocks to move up to 5,000 pounds of concrete. Bennett. (one of the trainees) said, “With the skills that we learned today, I am pretty confident I could use them to help out during a disaster relief mission.”
As well as being used to rescue people from earthquakes hydraulic power systems are being used to recreate the seismic conditions of earthquakes. This allows building designers to develop structures that will be able to withstand the effects of an earthquake more effectively. Chile’s building codes resulted in a noticeable reduction in the number of casualties in the Chilean earthquake in 2010. Over 700 fatalities were recorded in this 8.8 magnitude earthquake. 250,000 fatalities were encountered in Haiti’s earthquake which was 7.0 on the Richter Scale. The Chilean earthquake was 500 times more powerful than the Haiti quake but had significantly less fatalities, as a direct result of their building codes.
As you can see hydraulic power units are amazing pieces of equipment that not only enhance our lives but also save them. As we devise more effective equipment to aid rescue efforts and predict the effects of natural disasters we will be able to use technology make our world safer.
If you would like to find out more about our industrial hydraulic power units please visit our hydraulic power units section for more information.