The Hydra Ram is one of the best forcible-entry tools on the market. Because it’s lightweight and powerful, it might be the most firefighter-friendly Hydraulic forcible entry tool available despite its seemingly gently nickname, “The Bunny” or “rabbit tool.”
Yet its power and effectiveness rely on its proper use. This article examines how to use Hydra Rams properly:
Firefighters use a Hydra Ram to gain entry on metal doors in lieu of using a set of irons, such as an eight- or 10-pound flathead ax and 10- to 12-pound Halligan bar) to force a door. These tools typically are not used on wood frames/wood jambs, for which less force is needed to break the stops.
Weighing in at only 11 lbs. and is only 13 inches long. Fire-End carries the HR-1 Hydra Ram Forcible Entry Tool and HR-2 Hydra-Ram II Forcible Entry Tool.
How to Safely Use Your Hydra Ram
Safety begins with training. Train to use a Hydra Ram and do so in blackout mode. Wear a hood and use the tool in zero visibility. Its proper application and operation should become muscle memory. Learn all the parts of your Ram before using it:
- Parts of Hydra Rams
- Pump Handle
- Fluid Reservoir
- Locking Ring
- Spring Loaded Ball-Seat Valve
Keep in mind, Hydra Rams can provide more than 10,000 pounds of output force with as little as 138 pounds of input force on its handle. Insert the jaws of the Ram in-between the lock and bars and stand to the side, using your stomach muscles and body to wedge the tool into the door. Pop off the handle and start forcing the door open, with both of your hands stabilizing the Ram.
Do not stand directly in front of a Hydra Ram. You risk having parts of the metal door shearing off and bolt heads becoming life-threatening projectiles.
Watch firefighter Mike Ciampo demonstrate proper use of a Hydra Ram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAg6FNHuim0
On multi-lock doors, you will have to use the Hydra Ram in various positions, starting with the top pin and moving down to the bottom pin.
The Hydra Ram 1 has a maximum spreading distance of 4 inches; the Hydra Ram 2 has a maximum spreading distance of 6 inches. Either tool can operate correctly in a vertical position as well as upside down.
How to Care for Hydra Rams
After each use, extend the ram and examine if metal chips or paint chips have gotten in and wipe away any debris or use an air gun to blow off debris. You can use soapy water to clean it, but it must be fully dried afterward.
The seals of Hydra Rams must be lubricated to prevent deprecation and cracks.
Do not use mineral oil or WD-40 to lubricate Hydra Rams. Use a 3:1 oil on the lift and on the release. Retract and extend the piston several times after oiling to evenly distribute the oil. Apply oil to the control-arm piston.
Conduct weekly apparatus checks per manufacturer’s recommendations, as well as pre-service checks.
Store Hydra-Rams in its storage case and in a closed position when it’s not in use. Keep it stored away from heat.
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