Makita has supplied a range of tools to search and rescue charity S.A.R.A.I.D, to assist with its emergency disaster response work in the UK and abroad.
In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster – such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and extreme weather events – it is vital that response teams can provide lifesaving assistance, search and rescue quickly and safely. One such disaster response team is the charity organisation S.A.R.A.I.D, which is on call 365 days a year, so it is vital this team of volunteers is ready to respond to any emergency, and with the right equipment to hand.
Makita has equipped S.A.R.A.I.D with high performance, low vibration power tools and accessories to enable their team to create safe passages, evacuate casualties and construct temporary supports to shore up buildings efficiently, and safely, whilst working in hazardous conditions.
Gary Francis, Chair of Trustees and Team Leader at S.A.R.A.I.D said: “During a search and rescue, speed and safety are of the essence. It is vital that we have robust and reliable tools suitable for a wide range of tasks, as we don’t always know the scenario or conditions that we will be facing. We use Makita’s electric chainsaws, reciprocating saws and disc cutters to cut through wreckage materials, such as wood, steel and concrete, often working in extreme or dangerous environments, so it is therefore essential our teams are not only equipped with the right tools, but know how and when to safely use them.”
This was demonstrated during a recent training exercise. The exercise simulated a search and rescue operation in a collapsed building where the team had to navigate through a series of challenges and obstacles to co-ordinate their rescue and put Makita tools to the test. The team approached the simulation by deploying its phased process.
Rescue workers need to swiftly assess and access structures where survivors may be buried or trapped. Safety, however, is paramount. The first thing the team did was place a sensor near to the entrance of the building, to test for any harmful gasses in the area. Once it had been established that no gas was present, the team called out for any casualties and listened for any responses, helping them to narrow down their search.
In this task, the team navigated a tunnel with wooden and concrete barriers. To ensure the safety of the volunteers, and any casualties that might be beyond the barriers, the team cut small holes in the wood and concrete. This allowed them to pass through a 360 degree video camera. The team used the footage taken to assess any risks or obstacles before progressing.
The team then gained access to the tunnel, using Makita’s equipment, such as the JR3070CT reciprocating saw, to cut through a wooden panel and create a space large enough for each team member to pass through. This process was then repeated on the concrete barrier, where the team used Makita’s EK6100 disc cutter.
Gary continued: “Regardless of the scenario, we know that we can rely on Makita. The tools offer us the high performance and long run times that are crucial during a search and rescue. The machines are easy to operate, which is vital for the team’s safety and efficiency.
“If we ever need assistance with our machines, we also know that we can find a Makita stockist almost anywhere in the world, which is another advantage when working overseas.”
In 2005, S.A.R.A.I.D was deployed to Pakistan following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake. The team worked for 30 hours to shore up a building, cutting through a variety of materials, including timber and concrete. It is vital that the team can use the machines over long periods, without worrying about overuse, break down or operator fatigue. Makita tools provide this reassurance.
For this reason, S.A.R.A.I.D uses a number of brushless machines as they require minimal maintenance and, unlike motors that include brushes (which make contact with the commutator within the motor), are less likely to overheat during use. Brushless machines therefore have longer run times and minimal wear and tear.
Makita tools also include innovative features for improved performance. For example, a range of rotary demolition hammers include a torque limiter function that prevents the tool from being overworked and damaged due to jams. A number of its machines are also designed for ease of use and operator comfort, including ergonomic soft grip and a compact or lightweight design. This minimises operator fatigue and means that the tools can be used for extended periods of time.
Paul Woodall, Key Accounts Manager – Special Projects at Makita said: “We are delighted to be able to help S.A.R.A.I.D with its vital work. Often, the disasters that their people are deployed to are of shocking and devastating proportions. The wide range of tools we supply helps to ensure that the team have everything they need to tackle the extreme challenges that they can encounter during a search and rescue operation.
“We also provide the team with training on all of the tools used. S.A.R.A.I.D has completed our ‘Train the Trainer’ course – which means that a few members of the team can train the rest of the S.A.R.A.I.D volunteers. This is particularly helpful for S.A.R.A.I.D, as all members can receive the relevant training on our tools, regardless of when they join.”
S.A.R.A.I.D has used Makita tools for over 10 years – and the team has used the tools for search and rescue assistance for a number of overseas disasters during that time, saving countless lives.