ems knives


lee-enfield shooter
November 5, 2010, 08:19 PM
I am planning on joining a fire company and getting into the ems stuff. I was wondering what a good knife would be for me to get? I was thinking some of the ones that have the seat belt cutter and glass breaker might be a good choice, but i want some suggestions on other ones if you guys can think of any.

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November 5, 2010, 08:32 PM
Been a Firefighter/Paramedic for 24 years, and two knives I recommend. Gerber multi-plier and CRKT M16 tanto knife. I have both the military and the (discontinued) FD knife. They'll save your life as well as others. Theyre also pretty handy when you need to fix something and ordinary tools are out of reach.
There are other tools out there, but be careful with all the nifty "rescue" tools offered . Some are made real cheap, and as you know in this job, you cant put your life or anyone else's on crappy equipment. A rookie nearly hit me with his fancy "Rescue" knife with the built in glass breaker. The thing broke when he pressed the trigger and the little bit broke clean from the knife and sailed across the station dorm. He had just bought it the day before. I've been hard on my tools, but those two are the one's that have lasted the longest, and they deploy quickly with a snap of the wrist. Leatherman's are great too, but can be a pain to unfold especially with bulky or bloody gloves. Whatever you get, and all the guy's who do this job will back me up on this as well, ALWAYS keep two knives on your person. A multi-tool and a good folder. Spend the extra money and get a GOOD name brand. And get one you can deploy quickly with gloves on. Knives have saved lives. Dont trust yours to flea market specials. And since your a smoke eater, make sure you got a multi-tool and knife in your bunker gear too. In the middle of a working structure fire is a bad time to be fishing for a knife strapped to your waist belt under your bunker gear if it all goes south and you get tangled up on something.

November 8, 2010, 12:00 AM
i've spent 4 years in the fire service. i agree with fireman jim. a good multi tool, and good locking folder are good ideas. be sure they are accessible in your turnouts. maybe keep em in your cargo pockets on the pants leg of your turnouts.

i don't have a multi tool (i should really) but i do keep my spyderco delica, a pelican handheld light, and collapsible spanner wrench/pry bar in my turnouts. train hard, and be safe.

oh yeah, the collapsible wrench also has a window breaker and seat belt cutter. it works well for everything except for serious prying. thats why you carry the set of irons though. (flat head axe and haligan tool)

November 8, 2010, 01:55 AM
I'm a paramedic & have been in either FD or EMS for 10 years. The previous advise is solid. I carry 2 Benchmade Vex folders when I work- one in my pants pocket & one in my boot in a special leather pocket. In the past I have carried an Emerson P-SARK which is a cool knife too. I use my shears for cutting around patients & my knives are for self-defense & to back up my shears.
Benchmade rescue hooks are good too. By the way welcome to the darkside, public safety & public health is very rewarding, frustrating, & addicting. Enjoy the ride!

November 8, 2010, 03:56 PM

Yup,helluva ride.
Filled with periods of absolute boredom followed by moments of sheer terror.

Welcome to the brotherhood. :P

November 8, 2010, 08:13 PM
Agree with FiremanJim. Career EMS for 10 years, 25+ in the fire service. I've been carrying the CRKT M16 for several years now at EMS. Like the double lock mechanisn, holds a good edge, just enough serrated edge to make quick work of seatbelts. And there's a Gerber multi-tool in the pocket of my turnout coat. Think about a set of decent insulated sidecutters to go in your turnout gear also. Not many things you can't motivate with those :D

Welcome to emergency services. We put the "fun" in dysfunctional.

November 9, 2010, 09:00 PM
+1 on the Benchmade rescue hook.

November 9, 2010, 09:23 PM
Another good thing to have (that Fireman Jim touched on) is a glass breaker. A $10 automatic center punch, available at Harbor Freight/Ace/Home Depot/<insert store here> is reliable, inexpensive to replace if lost, easy and fast to deploy, and safe to carry in any pocket when not needed.

Heck, here's one for $3: http://www.harborfreight.com/automatic-center-punch-91080.html

November 9, 2010, 09:42 PM
Just be wary of those so-called "Rescue" tools that are made very cheaply.
The "First Response" rescue tool/knife by S&W was the tool that nearly took an eye out.
The window punch feature sounded cool, but repeated firing of it caused the plastic handle to break off and launch the striker into the air.
There are a lot of folders out there with the EMS "Star of Life" and Fire Maltese Cross on them that look pretty cool, but are apt to fail at the most mediocre jobs.
When it comes to buying a knife, just remember and it's the same thing they teach you in the Academy. The K.I.S.S. method.
Keep It Simple,Stupid.
Buy a quality folder, a quality multi-tool, and whatever other tool you can think of thats good steel and has a great reputation and reliable, and make sure it fits in your hand good and can be grabbed quickly without having to fish for it. Small tools that can be lost easily are just a waste of money.
If you cant use it with bunker gloves on, your setting yourself up for frustration.

And try not to buy a "Wonder Tool" with a 100 features like a magnifying glass, a fish hook remover, and a portable Hurst Tool all in one thats made of "composite" materials. No matter how cool or inexpensive it is.
Spend the extra money on a Gerber, Sog, CRKT,Benchmade, Emerson, or whatever.
A good knife is just as important as the rest of your bunker gear.
And if you lose your glass breaker, well, thats what the pointy end of your Hooligan's for. ^_^

November 9, 2010, 09:56 PM
Spyderco Rescue 93mm

Wicked sharp, fast, almost scary to look at but with a rounded tip for safety.
The wife carries one to cut through heavy horse harnesses in an emergency ( 4H driving leader)

November 18, 2010, 10:12 PM
Former paramedic and hazmat here. Benchmade folder and various Leatherman multi-tools in the cargo pocket of the turnouts, and another Leatherman right next to the rescue shears on my belt holster.

And when you start needing pens for your trip sheets, charting and reports, the Zebra stainless steel retractable ballpoints, the 301 and 401 models are superb. Tough, cheap enough to lose, and write upside down and are waterproof just like the Fisher space pens.

November 27, 2010, 08:26 PM
So what did ya decide on?

November 28, 2010, 02:58 PM
Spend the extra money on a Gerber, Sog, CRKT,Benchmade, Emerson, or whatever.

I am not a firefighter or a cop, but I have been around, and what I have learned after all that is this: Spend the money on quality gear that you can trust. Quality doesn't necessarily have to translate into big bucks either. Something in the neighborhood of fifty dollars can get you one heck of a good knife these days. I personally recommend Spyderco products, but there are other good, dependable knives made in the same general price range. Benchmade, Kershaw, Buck and others all make excellent products that will serve you well.

January 3, 2011, 02:20 PM
Glad to hear so many people like the CRKT M16 - that was my EDC when I went through EMT school, and I'd still be carrying it if I hadn't have accidenttly bent the pocket clip (Fell asleep, clip got hooked in couch, I rolled over, clip got bent.)

The Gerber multi-toolsare the ones that the pliers flick out without having to open the handles right? I assume that you push on the end of the pliers to get them to go back in? I was going to suggest that baybe the pliers could be used to break the window, but I guess that wouldn't work with the Gerber...

Moose, could you elaborate on the sidecutters? I'm not familiar with that term.

Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson

January 3, 2011, 02:56 PM
I retired after 35 years with Fire/EMS, in 2005. Department Officer, Haz-Mat, EMT-P, and Fire Officer III. Ran over 16,000 calls.

My turn-out gear carried a small tool box of things. A Pick-N-Pry, an older Pelican SuperSabre light, combination screw-driver, 8" adjustable wrench, a couple of USPS 36" straps (for bundling out mail on rural routes), a couple of wooden wedges, slip-joint pliers, and a 4" blade Case hunting knife. Folding knives can be hard to get into play with one hand in an emergency. The fixed-blade hunter is always ready, even if you have to ditch the sheath to access it.

On my belt has ridden a version of the Spyderco Delica. The first was a Standard, back when the clip was machined out of the scale. After that was another Standard, with the detachable clip. Both had the Spyder Edge.

My EMS turn-out gear had a sleeve pouch that held a Gerber 650, partially serrated. For those who aren't familiar with that knife, it is light weight, has a decent length blade, made of good steel, and can be opened with a flick of the wrist. The lock will also take some real weight without failing.

Many of today's knives, and the companies that made them, weren't available in the 1970s. Back then, I carried a Buck 110, the Folding Hunter, that I had bought in DaNang while vacationing in sunny SouthEast Asia.

Good luck with your path.:)

January 4, 2011, 08:06 PM
Lots of good suggestions. The Victorinox (SAK) Dual Pro X might be one to look at. A multi-tool would be handy too and I would lean toward SOG or Leatherman brands.

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