FRP Breaching Tool Handles Keep First Responders Safe
by Tencom Ltd.
While Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites can be used in infrastructure and construction to make flame-retardant buildings, not every facility is made with these fire-proof materials.
Even fewer residential homes have FRP composite components, which makes them susceptible to fire.
Luckily, our experts here at Tencom have developed a FRP composite breach tool handle to assist firefighters and police officers in fire rescue missions.
According to the United States Fire Administration, there were an estimated 1,318,500 fires across the country in 2018. More than half of these deadly incidents were caused by cooking fires resulting in 15,200 injuries and 3,655 deaths.
While one key factor in preventing death in these cases is the response time of the first responders, another important factor is whether or not firefighters can gain entry into the building.
It takes anywhere from 4 to 17 minutes for a home to burn down depending on when it was built and what materials were used. In as little as 3 1/2 minutes, house fire temperatures can soar to 1,100°F. Death can occur at just 300°F, so getting inside to rescue the victims is critical.
With the help of Tencom’s new FRP breaching tool handles, first responders and firefighters can force their way into the home without hurting their hands.
Traditionally, breaching tool handles are made entirely of metal. The most common ones use carbon steel, stainless steel, or some type of alloy. However, metal is a conductor, which is not ideal for breaching a door or window during a fire.
In order to safely force entry into a burning building, first responders need breaching tools with non-conductive handles that are also resistant to heat.
Tencom’s new breaching tool handles have both of those qualities, making it the perfect forced entry tool on the market.
Safety and Electricity
House fires are not the only cases in which a breaching tool must be used. Police officers also use them in raids.
The most common type of raid in the United States is a drug trafficking raid. Often, the groups that manufacture or sell drugs will take extreme measures to prevent other people from coming inside.
When high-voltage wiring is used on all of the entry points including doors and windows, the danger of being electrocuted is elevated. These defensive installations can prove to be deadly to law enforcement officers using all-metal breaching tools.
So, our new FRP breaching tool handles provide safe entry tools into defensive installations that have high voltage wired to the doors or windows.
In this way, breaking through these defenses is a lot safer and easier.
Specifically, these innovative handles will be able to provide 100,000 volts AC electrical insulation per foot. This passes the ASTM F711 18.104.22.168 electrical withstand testing requirements. That is the same testing that tools for utility workers are put through.
There are two types of conductivity – thermal and electrical. Tencom’s new breaching tool handles are designed to withstand both types. Let’s take a closer look at what each one means.
In the case of thermal conductivity, most materials can withstand heat up to a certain point. For example, wood is far less heat-resistant than steel. However, FRP composites blow all the other materials out of the water, metaphorically speaking.
The best part about FRP composites is that they can be tweaked to be even more thermal resistant. Here at Tencom, we offer three types of specialty resins that do just that.
First is the vinyl ester specialty resin that improves the product’s resistance to high temperatures. Next is the polyester resin that makes the product more fire-retardant and resistant to smoke and spread.
Finally, we offer another vinyl ester resin that improves the product's fire-retardancy by ramping up the resistance to corrosion at extreme temperatures.
Moving on to electrical conductivity, this refers to the material’s ability to transmit an electrical charge. While metals all have different degrees of electrical conductivity, they are all conductors. This can be very dangerous for police officers when dealing with a breaching incident.
Fiberglass is a non-conductive, non-magnetic material that is classified as an electrical insulator. This means that officers can safely enter through doors and windows that have been booby-trapped with electrical wiring. It’s one less thing that the officers have to worry about.
Making Breaching Tool Handles
Here at Tencom, we generally prefer to work with fiberglass. You may have seen the following terms:
- Pultruded Fiberglass
- Fiberglass Composite
- Fiber-Reinforced Plastic
- Glass-Reinforced Plastic
To clear any confusion, all of these terms refer to the same materials – fiberglass.
As a popular FRP composite material, fiberglass is made of fiber (the reinforcement) and resin (the body). Resin is also sometimes referred to as the matrix. It’s what gives shape to the product being made.
In order to make breaching tool handles that are non-conductive and fire-resistant, the materials have to go through the pultrusion process.
It starts with bundles of fiber rovings that are pulled through a liquid resin bath. At this point, specialty resins and colorants can be injected into the mix. We typically use strength- and fire-enhancing specialty resins for products such as breaching tool handles. If the product has extraordinary insulation properties, then it is usually colored yellow. This is, of course, determined by the client.
Next, the product is transferred into a mold and cast. After the curing process is complete, the product is ready to go.
With over 50 years of experience in the FRP composite industry, we offer a wide range of products besides the new breaching tool handle. You can order fiberglass rods, angles, channels, bars, poles, and tubes. We even make sporting goods, which will last a lot longer than wood or metal products.
Tencom manufactures customized FRP products that are exact to your requirements. Since all of our fiberglass profiles are lightweight, you will save quite a bit of money on shipping.
If you would like to place an order for our new FRP composite breaching tool, get in touch with our team today.