8/6/2010 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION - TEEX's Disaster City® is fast becoming the top destination worldwide for testing and demonstrating new tools and technology for urban search and rescue responders. This was evident recently as TEEX instructors and responders put a new, portable, self-contained concrete-breaching tool to the test on various types of concrete with rebar in the Disaster City® Technical Skills Training Area.
"Raytheon wanted to get more feedback on the CIRT (Controlled Impact Rescue Tool), and we were at the top of the list," said Clint Arnett, who directs TEEX's Urban Search & Rescue Response Technology Program. "The company wants to get exposure for the tool with the people who would use it, and our instructors are trying out new technology before it is even on the market, learning how the use and maintain the tool so they can train our students who may be using the tool in the future. This puts us on the cutting edge of the latest rescue tools and technologies."
"This demo is another example of emerging technologies that TEEX is showcasing in Disaster City," said JD Bolich with TEEX's Product Development Center.
The tool was developed with funding from the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, said Michael Millspaugh of Raytheon. The goal was to create a tool that could breach through concrete more quickly, while maintaining operator and victim safety. The CIRT weighs slightly more than a 90-pound jackhammer, Millspaugh added, but it is self-contained and requires no electricity, generators or compressors. Instead, the CIRT uses powder ammunition cartridges as an energy source, so no auxiliary power equipment is required.
This new cartridge-driven impact tool bridges the gap between conventional tools and explosives, and will help improve the efforts of urban search and rescue teams by allowing faster breaching through concrete, Millspaugh said. The CIRT uses a specially designed impact head that applies a concentrated shock load into the concrete, producing substantial localized damage so it can be breached faster, allowing responders to reach trapped victims more quickly than is currently possible, he added.
"I wanted to put the tool in the hands of the experts," Millspaugh said. "Our goal is to get the tool on the approved FEMA equipment list, so we want evaluators to look at it and use it and provide feedback." He had never been to Disaster City before, but had worked with VA Task Force 1 in the development of the tool, and heard about Disaster City.
The name itself is intriguing, he said, and once he looked it up on the Internet, "it was evident that I needed to come here and demonstrate the tool here." The new CIRT will hit the market in about one month, he added.