Rescue Tools Every Firefighter Needs to Have on Hand

Rescue tools are vital to every fire department. But some rescue tools are more important than others, especially since you don’t know what situation you may face once you arrive on the scene. Jon’s Mid-America Fire Apparatus explains the rescue tools every firefighter needs to have on hand at all times.

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It sounds simple, but a flashlight is a vital rescue tool to have on you at any time. Your department needs flashlights for buildings in case the power is out, even during the day. Despite bright headlights on trucks for nighttime rescues, flashlights can help illuminate nooks and crannies that the headlamps can’t reach. Of course, every firefighter should enter a building with a flashlight to help find a way out or locate a fellow firefighter if they get lost. Sturdy, industrial-grade flashlights are a must. Make sure to check the batteries and brightness levels weekly.

Jaws of Life

The hydraulic Jaws of Life are probably the most high-tech rescue tool available to firefighters. Double-check the hydraulic lines regularly, and don’t forget to test this tool at least once a month to make sure it works correctly.


Rope is about as low-tech as a rescue tool as you can find. However, having at least 100 to 200 feet of rope on hand is vital to many situations. Rope can save someone’s life if they’ve fallen down a steep ravine, into a storm sewer, through some ice on a frozen lake, or down an elevator shaft. Heavy-duty rope can also save the lives of your firefighting crew in case a floor gives out or a building collapses. 

Medical Shears

Medical shears are more than just cutting devices. Some models have heavy handles and serve as a Swiss Army knife with all kinds of tools in one device. Medical shears can cut through seatbelts when you need to extricate someone from a vehicle. The heavy handle can be used to break safety glass. Some models have an attachment that can cut through wedding rings or other thin pieces of metal.

Pike Poles

Pike poles come in handy for many situations. They work well for pulling down ceilings, poking holes in a ventilation system, and reaching someone for a water rescue. 


Whereas a pike pole works for low amounts of force, hydraulic rams deliver more force than a human could possibly generate when you need to get into a building quickly. Test your rams regularly to make sure there are no leaks or damage to the hydraulic lines. 

Spanners and Hydrant Wrenches

Spanners and hydrant wrenches serve a singular purpose. They open fire hydrant port caps and main stems so you can attach hoses and start the water flowing. Make sure to check the hydrant bag as part of your rescue tool inspections as you go over your checklist of necessary items to have on hand with every rescue.

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Rescue Tools by Jon’s Mid-America

Jon’s Mid-America Fire Apparatus sells and repairs rescue tools for every fire department. Talk to us if you need any equipment for your fire department or if you need repairs. Contact Jon’s Mid-America to discuss the rescue tools you’re interested in.

Rescue worker uses hydraulic cutter on wrecked vehicle fire apparatus jon's mid-americaTwo hydraulic rescue tools, shears and a spreader, on the ground