Q. I had a question regarding the kit components being exposed to gasoline vapors. One of our rescue trucks has limited compartment space, so we may have to put the equipment bags in the same compartment as our chain saw and circular saw. They would, however be on a different shelf. These gasoline powered tools sometimes leak fuel and emit vapors into the compartment. Are you aware of any problems that this would cause to the kit components (mainly the ratchet straps) by being exposed to the vapors?
A. You are correct to be concerned about petroleum vapors and straps. These vapors are known to affect nylons and polyesters such as found in Life Lines (ropes), straps, harnesses, etc. They should NEVER be stored in the same compartment as fuels or solvents. None of the other components in our kits will be affected.
Q. We are looking at a future vehicle and would like to know the storage size and weight of Rescue 42 kits so we can make sure we have compartment space.
A. Depends on the kit. Below are the total kit weights and approximate storage dimensions. Please visit our Products page for a detailed list of all kit components.
- Engine Kit: 75 lbs.
- Truck Kit: 160 lbs.
- Rescue Kit: 320 lbs.
- Truck Tripod Kit: 190 lbs.
- Rescue Tripod Kit: 340 lbs
- Collapsed struts w/out combi-head or base plate
- Short strut: 26″ x 3″
- Long strut: 38″ x 3″
- Tool bag (with accessories inside): 24″ x 9″ x 12″
- Strut Jack: 32″ x 13″ x 4″
You may also download our Technical Specifications Sheet (PDF) for additional information.
Q. Can we use spray paint to put our company name on the struts and straps?
A. Absolutely! we recommend spray paint or a sharpie marker for the struts, however, because the composite material is so hardy, you may want to lightly sand the area you intend to mark to allow the paint or ink to adhere better. As for the ratchet straps, use a sharpie on the last few inches of the strap, but do not use any inks or paints that contain solvents.
Q. What is the composite strut material made out of?
A. The Composite material used for our TeleCrib® strut is comprised of many layers of super fibers, including DuPont™ Kevlar®, which are combined through an advanced pultrusion process to form the strong, yet lightweight tubes used for our struts.
Unlike plastic or fiberglass, our proprietary mix of fibers and resins gives our strut tubes incredible column strength while being tough enough to stand up to the rigors of the Fire-Rescue service.
The yellow strut pins are made of the same materials.
This video shows how our specialty tubing is manufactured: STRUT TUBE Q&A
Q. Do you have an educational/academy discount?
A. We do have a discount for qualified educational training facilities and fire/rescue academies. Please contact your local distributor for details.
Q. Will the composite struts melt if exposed to heat?
A. Once the composite material has cured during the manufacturing process it will not melt or warp. If exposed to extreme heat (ex: fully involved car fire) the composite material will char and eventually begin to burn. By contrast, most metals under the same conditions (aluminum or steel) will begin to soften, warp and eventually bend and fail.
Safe operating temperature ranges for the Composite TeleCrib® System are -60°F – 180°F
Q. Do you have a jack for your struts? How does it work?
A. We do have a Strut Jack available for our stabilization system. It is a removable 8,000 lb max working load jack with an 8:1 handle to lift ratio (8 turns will give you 1 inch of lift), and 20:1 mechanical advantage (1 lb of force on handle will give you 20 lbs of lift force).
As shown in the picture, the Strut Jack mounts to the red section of the strut and pins in to the white or blue section. Once you have reached the maximum extension of the jack (about 15″), you can pin the strut, bring the jack down, re-pin the jack to the strut and keep going, giving you 5′ of extension. Because the Strut Jack is removable, you can move it from strut to strut as needed. Our free DVD gives a detailed demonstration.
Q. We just bought a set of composite struts and they don’t slide out very easily.
A. New struts can sometimes be a bit stiff to slide in and out. A light coat of WD-40 or car wax on the outside of the white and blue tubes will provide enough lubrication to take care of this problem.
Q. Can’t we just use our airbags to stabilize the vehicle, why use struts?
A. Airbags are meant to be used as a lifting device only. YOU MUST CRIB BEHIND YOUR AIRBAGS!!! Airbags round out as they are inflated so you are balancing a lot of weight on a beachball. Any shift in the vehicle could be disastrous for victim and rescuers.
You may use wooden box cribbing or struts to stabilize behind your airbags, but keep in mind if using box cribbing that the height can be no more than 3 times the width at the base. Depending on the configuration, you may need to lift higher than that, and this is where telescoping cribbing will come in handy.
Q. I have been told by a sales rep, that the struts that you sell are marketed as electrically non conductive, but that when you drill holes in the side of them for the pins, that it makes them able to soak up water, and then in turn be electrically conductive. This is supposedly due to the fact there is no protective coating on the areas exposed after drilling the pin holes.
A. What they are telling you about the cut surfaces and water absorption is absolutely true. A cut through the epoxy matrix exposes the ends of the fiber layers and allows moisture to “wick” into the composite. This wetted area will be electrically conductive.
What they failed to tell you is that this region of conductivity is less that 1/64 inch deep!
Because of the density and penetration of the epoxy into the fiber structures water is only able to penetrate at the very surface. If water could actually penetrate deeper than that you would know it because our thousands and thousands of struts out in the field would have literally come apart as that trapped water got hot, expanded and forced the struts to dissolve or froze and did the same thing. For you to feel the effects of this you would literally have to be touching the same hole which would mean that your hand was less than an inch from the hot wire!
Q. What makes your ratchet straps different from other straps?
A. Our straps are permeated with a special plastic that helps keep dirt, oil and particularly windshield glass splinters from lodging in the strap material. This plastic coating also helps prevent sharp protrusions from pulling a strand (thread) out of the strap. Our straps will fray, which is acceptable wear, but are highly resistant to pulled threads which would necessitate replacing the strap. Unfortunately, most other brands don’t have this coating, and any sharp protrusion tends to pull threads.
Also, our ratchets have a longer handle than most other ratchets to maximize lifting capacity of the system. They contain a safety interlock that locks the spring loaded ratchet bar into the teeth of the drum when the ratchet handle is closed.
Q. What are the pickets made of?
A.Rescue 42 forged pickets are manufactured from modified 1541 high tensile alloy steel. It is modified by proprietary process to shorten the grain length to make a stronger forging. Our pickets are galvanized for corrosion (rust) protection and have a double head for ease of removal. They are also USAR(Urban Search & Rescue) grade.
Q. We would like to store our composite struts in an outside compartment on our Engine. Will the struts degrade if exposed to the elements and direct sunlight?
A. We have many departments that store the composite struts on the exterior of their apparatus without problem. The advanced epoxy resin has UV stabilizers which protect the struts.
Your biggest concern is not the composite but the metal parts (head and baseplate). We powder coat all parts, but that coating obviously gets scraped up with use. Keep them painted and rust free.
If you were to leave the composite strut bodies out in the sun for many, many years (like 20-30 years) you might see a slight fade of the red color, but the mechanical strength would not be affected. Since you probably have your rig in the barn most of the time, this is not an issue.
Below are pictures of similar materials in exposed applications. While some of these are fiberglass, the UV stabilizer is similar to the one we use in our advanced composite struts. They obviously would not be used in these applications if they degraded from the elements.