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Struts – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Here is an issue that any rescue team may run into when using the Paratech© brand of struts for vehicle stabilization.

The strut shown is one of several stabilizing a leaning city bus. The yellow ratchet strap used to tension the strut is secured to a solid point on the bus vehicle (which is not shown off to the left of the frame). The strap has been tensioned and is closed in its’ locked position.

There is a serious error in this particular set-up however. A mistake was made by the crew setting up this strut and strap system that could result in a catastrophic failure of this system. Do you see it?

Paratech Struts

There is a serious error in this particular set-up however. A mistake was made by the crew setting up this strut and strap system that could result in a catastrophic failure of this system. Do you see it?

Handle or Anchor?

If you compare the positioning of the ratchet strap in this second photo with the previous image, you’ll see the issue we are addressing.

Paratech Strut

If you compare the positioning of the ratchet strap in this photo with the previous image, you’ll see the issue we are addressing.

In both cases, 12″ hinged base plates were used along with a ratchet strap for tensioning. But note where the straps are attached to the base plate itself. One is pulling on a base plate “handle” and this one is pulling on the base plate “anchor ring”; two different parts of the base plate.

Because the base plate shown is our second photo is equipped with a Paratech© Anchor Ring, the ratchet strap is properly set; with the twin hook end of the ratchet strap pulling on this anchor ring. This base plate accessory is rated for this application and is designed for pulling and tensioning as shown.

In the first image, note that the tensioning ratchet strap is pulling on what is actually just a carrying handle for the 12″ base plate. This simple handle is just what it is; a handle only and not a ratchet strap attachment point! It is only designed to actually carry the base plate from Point A to Point B at an incident scene. It is not for pulling… ever!

12″ Hinged Base Plate with Anchor Ring 

As a vehicle rescue officer and especially an instructor who trains others, make sure that any crew working with a Paratech© strut system is aware of the difference between a base plate “handle” and a base plate “anchor ring”. They are not the same!

Paratech Strut

Make sure that any crew working with a Paratech© strut system is aware of the difference between a base plate “handle” and a base plate “anchor ring”. They are not the same!

For departments that have older versions of the Paratech© base plate, consider either upgrading to the hinged base plate model shown or obtain the anchor ring attachment to add to your strut base plate. Too much tension and pulling on the base plate handle can result in failure of the handle piece and we don’t want that to happen.

 

About Ron Moore

Ron Moore
Ron Moore retired as a Division Chief with the McKinney (TX) Fire Department. He is now employed part-time with the Prosper, TX Fire Rescue and the Plano Fire Rescue. Ron is the author of now over 200 published articles in his renowned University of Extrication series, featured each month in Firehouse Magazine and is the moderator of the University of Extrication interactive section of the Firehouse.com website.
  • Larry

    So, in the first picture I don’t see an anchor ring to attach to so the crew didn’t have that option to attach to an anchor ring. They did what they could with e tools handed to them. Now the questions:
    Was this strut kit sold without an anchor ring?
    Did the department remove it for some reason?
    If sold without an anchor ring is paratech supplying them free of charge to add safety to their equipment?

    Larry

  • Bert Hansell

    What is the problem? In the first picture the HANDLE as you call it is obviously stronger than the hook on the strap.