Saber saw blades that can cut metal

Saber saws in fire service

Bremen - Saber saws are now part of the standard loading of some fire engines. But what are the devices actually suitable for? And what should you watch out for in action. We clarify.

In the loading lists of the rescue vehicle (since 2002) and the emergency fire fighting group vehicle (since 2004) you can find saber saws (colloquially also known as electric foxtail). These devices have been very popular with fire departments in the USA and Great Britain for much longer. The reason for this is the numerous possible uses when cutting a wide variety of materials. Saber saws are offered in various performance classes, both with mains and battery operation and are not "pure" fire fighting equipment. Many plumbers and carpenters use them in their daily work. The offer is correspondingly large.

Based on practical experience in training and operations, a reciprocating saw should have a minimum output of 1,000 watts. If a battery-operated device is used, it is advisable to choose a powerful variant (minimum is 18 volts) and ensure a high battery capacity (3 Ah or more are recommended). Spare batteries must also be carried. It must also be possible to change the battery while wearing gloves. Ideally, only one hand is needed for this.

Saber saws are able to cut metals (pipes, profiles), wood (tree parts, glued wood, posts) and also various composite materials (plastic, carbon fiber reinforced plastic / CFRP, laminated safety glass) with the appropriate saw blade. This results in a wide range of uses, especially for the fire brigade. The cutting length itself depends on the saw blade used and can vary between 100 and 300 millimeters.

Advantage of the reciprocating saw: short set-up time, extremely handy

The saws are enjoying increasing popularity, for example, in traffic accident rescue, as they can be used to quickly cut through certain vehicle pillars or large sheet metal surfaces, such as the vehicle roof, in parallel to hydraulic rescue equipment, if necessary. The advantages of the reciprocating saw compared to the hydraulic rescue equipment are the shorter set-up time and greater handiness. They are also much cheaper to buy.

The fire brigades can act extremely flexibly and quickly with battery-operated reciprocating saws. The saw is simply removed from the transport case, carried to the place of use and you can start cutting.

Hardly any flying sparks when cutting metal

The reciprocating saw can also be used to cut different composite materials that are used in vehicle construction. As a rule, not even the saw blade has to be changed. For example, it is possible to cut through an A-pillar made of CFRP or metal and the front pane made of laminated safety glass in one work step.

In contrast to using a cut-off saw, significantly fewer sparks are generated when using a reciprocating saw. However, most saw blades quickly reach their limits, especially when cutting through ultra-high-strength materials such as those used in the A and B-pillars of modern vehicles. Here the saw blade glows out after a short time and quickly loses its teeth. This can be recognized by the fact that sparks are generated when sawing.

No cut protection necessary

The reciprocating saws offer extreme advantages when cutting wood. In contrast to using the power chain saw, you do not have to wear protective clothing. The devices are significantly lighter and can therefore also be used on a ladder. Possible application scenarios are the delimbing of fallen trees, the cutting of boards, the removal of fence posts or the chopping of roof beams.

Which materials can be cut with the reciprocating saw depends largely on the saw blade used and the dimensions of the material to be cut. The manufacturers offer special saw blades for every application:

o wood,
o plastics,
o glass,
o metals,
o aluminum,
o wood and metal,
o concrete,
o high-alloy steels,
o cast iron.

As a rule, the saw blades are available in different lengths and different qualities. The fire brigades should limit themselves to a certain selection. As a rule, saw blades for wood and plastics (250 millimeters), wood and metal (150 millimeters) and bi-metal saw blades for sheet metal, metals and profiles (200 millimeters) are currently available from specialist retailers; on request, special sizes are sometimes also available for special purposes . The quality of the saw blades largely determines the cutting result. Tip: Use high quality products for fire services!

Special saw blades for fire fighting

More and more manufacturers are offering special saw blades for use by fire brigades. The motto of these sheets: One for all. With the saw blades marked as Fire & Rescue (Lenox), Demolition (Hilti), All purpose (Hitachi), Progressor for Wood or Endurance for HeavyMetal (both Bosch), all common materials can actually be cut with acceptable results. “When it comes to fire fighting, it is primarily about speed,” says Nienburg's full-time equipment manager Andreas Hanauer-Krücke. "Clean cut edges are not important to us." The huge advantage of the universal blades: There is no need to search for the right saw blade and the forces can't go wrong (make the wrong choice).