El Niño: Preparing For A Long Wet Season


From The Weather Channel

The 2015-2016 El Niño is forecast to become one of the strongest on record, bringing much needed rain and snow pack to the lower half of the United States, coast-to-coast. How can something so good become something we’re worried about? Well, maybe the old adage, “everything in moderation”, applies here. It doesn’t sound like we’re going to get a whole lot of “moderation” in these storms and the projected strength of the systems could negatively impact areas that have experienced major fires over the past year as well as areas naturally prone to flooding. Lakes and rivers could experience an unprecedented rise in water levels – causing flash flooding and swifter than normal water run-off.

2015_WaterRescue_CatalogIn anticipation of very wet Winter and Spring seasons and the potential hazards associated with them, L.N. Curtis & sons has produced a Water Rescue Equipment Catalog focused on top brands and equipment for emergency responders. Additional brands and tools are available—just give us a call.

Let’s Talk Airbags!

There have been many changes to the Maxiforce Paratech Airbags during the last year or more.  So, let’s talk about how and when it is a good time to upgrade, change or replace old or existing airbags.

Airbags have a life span associated with them, generally 10-15.  Similar to a truck or car tire, these tools for lifting loads also have to be replaced when the rubber is worn out. We have been asked several times and/or advised by many departments, “I never used my bags” or “we have only used these bags in training” or “so do I still have to trade or upgrade…I just purchased these bags a ‘few’ years ago (now a 20 year old bag)”.  THESE BAGS FALL INTO THE MUST GO CATEGORY!

How can we tell when an airbag is ready for retirement? Serial numbers assist us with this discussion. Each airbag has or should have some serial number attached to it. In Paratech’s Maxiforce bags there are distinct serial numbers. These serial numbers have taken on different sequences over the years:

1) 1025
The top number (1025) represents that this bag was the 1025th bag manufactured in
that year. The second row of numbers (201989) represents that the bag was made in
the 20th week of 1989.

2) 991245   The first two digits represent the year the bag was manufactured. In this case the bag was made in 1999. The last four digits (1245) represent that the bag was the 1245th bag manufactured that year. Other examples: 910245, 932428, etc.

3) 84321   The serial numbers that are only 5 digits were produced in the 1980s (well beyond the bag’s life span). The first digit of the number represents the last digit of the year it was made. The number in this example begins with 8 which means that it was manufactured in 1988. The last four digits (4321) represent the number bag manufactured that year. In this case the bag was the 4321st bag manufactured in 1988.

4) MMYYxxxxx  This series of numbers are the current way Paratech places serial numbers on their Maxiforce bags. Month, Year and a serial number: could be bags made in a series, bags made in that numbering category. Much easier to read and understand when an airbag is due to retire.

Maxiforce Airbags have also gone through a substantial upgrade in that they are now able to hold up to 150psi versus the older 118psi bags. Some confusion did occur when Paratech also changed the design of bags and controller equipment at the same time thus causing some real headaches. To clarify, the GEN2 series or G2 was really a change to the “DESIGN” of some of the systems – i.e. Single, Dual Deadman and Air Regulators, and then with the re-design of the airbags many of us thought it was just the bags. So we still had or have some regulators that are G2 but only perform in the 118psi range. Hence the confusion.  When ordering or upgrading the system we must also include a
“-150” to the part number in order to make certain we get the correct equipment to run with the newer bags.

If uncertain about what equipment you have or what new equipment can work well with your current system, please give us a call.

Did you know that Paratech is one of the only manufacturers of bags and equipment that when an air hose fails in the field such as at an accident scene, the hose can be “field repaired” and put right back in the mix of lifting and moving equipment? This is a great strength in their product line that many end users might not know.

Please remember that ALL L.N. Curtis & sons rescue team members are a phone call, text or even an email away to help answer any questions you may have.  For in-person educational opportunities on airbags, please reach out to us — our Rescue Team loves training and teaching about rescue equipment!

Don’t Forget the Step Cribbing!



Step cribbing is something that should always be considered for the toolbox!  It is reasonably priced and something that every apparatus should have on it.

The Shark from Rescue 42 is made of steel and arguably the best product on the market for quick stabilization.  It doesn’t take up much storage space and by simply pulling one pin you can go from the collapsed stage to ready-to-use. Unlike wood or plastic cribbing, the Shark has a load capacity of 7000 lbs. or 14,000 lbs. if used with a picket.  Some people like to use wood cribbing because it is cheaper and easily made, but you can’t guarantee the load capacity of wood, it can split and you cannot decontaminate it.  An excellent feature of the Shark is that both sides are usable for different situations. The flat side is great for level or smooth surfaces.  Flip it over and use the teeth/step side for more traction on soft or slick surfaces. The baseplate accepts ratchet straps or pickets to prevent slipping in icy or muddy rescue conditions. Quite simply this tool is easy to use and extremely versatile!

Small, But Strong As They Come!

The Paratech HydraFusion Strut (HFS) is a 10-ton lifting strut with an Acme Thread Locking Collar and is available in three different lift lengths:  4”, 10” and 16”.  The HFS Strut has a two-stage detachable hand pump with a 12′ hose that connects to any Paratech base and will receive both grey or gold extensions, with any Paratech adaptable head. The HFS is a rapid deployment lifting device that is user-friendly and easy to use. It can be integrated into a large number of extrication and USAR applications.

A few months ago the HFS struts were used during a demonstration with four different agencies in the west Los Angeles area. The photo shows how the light rail train was lifted with little effort.  As a precaution, secondary struts were deployed for additional stabilization and safety.

Call us today for additional information and how the HydraFusion Strut can be a helpful tool in your toolbox!

eDRAULIC – What in the world is that?

Some years ago Hurst introduced a totally new battery-operated and fully-functioning HYDRAULIC tool that was just as strong in some cases and even stronger in other cases when it came to traditional hose hydraulic tools.

eDRAULIC tools have been on the scene now for almost four (4) years!  They were introduced by Hurst Jaws of Life at FDIC in April 2010.  During these past 4 years L.N. Curtis & sons is proud to have given hundreds of demonstrations and, fortunately for some “out-of-the-box” thinkers, has been able to offer them simply another great way to cut precious minutes out of the “Golden Hour” of rescue with these new awesome tools!



There are several reasons that these tools have become so popular and very exciting to use:

  • “Setup” time has been cut to almost zero. With the push of the on/off button and a charged battery the operator is already moving material out of the way with their spreader or cutter while someone with another tool is still setting up hoses, tools and attempting to “start” their power plant.
  • Another exceptional reason is the ability to communicate with team and patient without excessive noise on an already chaotic rescue ground.
  • Finally…..the batteries…..many departments, and people in general, have been very scared of batteries due to past history. The eTOOL batteries, or more specifically, the Lithium-ion batteries that are used in the eDRAULIC tools are remarkably strong, durable, and will hold a charge to FINISH the job!  This has been the game changer for many departments that have purchased and will continue to purchase these tools.

Continue to look for and ask questions about the new line of Hurst eDRAULIC battery-operated tools – you will be very impressed with the results.  The L.N. Curtis & sons Rescue Team is available for on-site demonstrations and product awareness discussions at your convenience!  Call us today!


Improve Your Eyesight!

We all want to see what we can’t see, right? It’s our nature. Well, when our eyes fail us there are tools that can help. Eye glasses are certainly one option, but I’m talking about thermal imagers. They were first used by specialized law enforcement and the military, and now have played a role in the fire industry for over 25 years. E.D. Bullard Co. is a leading manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras and continues to hone and improve the cameras with their two newest offerings: the Eclipse™ LD and the brand new T4N.

The fire service industry’s first low-cost, lightweight, personal-issue thermal imager, the Eclipse LD now features liquid crystal display and packs a 320 x 240 ultra-high resolution infrared engine in a two-pound package. Eclipse LD provides fire departments with a ‘no compromises’ thermal imager. Eclipse LD fulfills the promise of a personal-issue thermal imager while thriving as a complete analytical tool. Read more…..Bullard Eclipse LD

“The new T4N thermal imager delivers unrivaled performance and image quality on the industry’s largest, brightest viewing display. Meeting all requirements of NFPA 1801-2013, the T4N gives you the extra assurance of maximum durability and performance. With all these benefits, the T4N is the ultimate choice for firefighting thermal imaging.” Read more….Bullard T4N

Okay, expensive you say? They certainly can be, but grants are available! Bullard has a grant program for departments in the state of Kentucky (their home state). Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company’s Heritage Program and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation also have grant opportunities for the rest of the country to consider. It’s good to see what you can’t see!