Many years ago I worked as an EMT - part of my training was to work on a Chicago Fire Department rescue ambulance. It was exciting and demanding. Also, in the course of working as a police officer, I had many occasions where I had to cut someone out of a seat belt that had become stuck, or cut people out of their clothing so we could attend to their injuries. While I've always carried a pocket knife, it was not the perfect tool for the job.
There are several different types of cutting tools on the market today, that are geared toward EMS, rescue and police officers, that are designed for helping them cut injured people out of a stuck seat belt or their clothing. However, one rescue tool really caught my attention a couple months ago, and that is the T3 Tactical Triage and Auto Rescue Tool sold by StatGearTools.com. For the sake of brevity, we'll just call it the T3.
The T3 is a folding knife, but it doesn't end there. It also has a seat belt cutter, that can double as a cutter to remove clothing from an injured person - and this is important, as many times, I've had to cut away clothing on an injured person to properly treat them and dress their wounds. There is also a hardened glass breaker on the butt of the T3 - this is used for easily breaking out automobile windows, and you can do it safely and quickly, instead of pounding on a window with a night stick, rock or even your hands - I've done all three in the past - not fun! On top of that, there is also a flashlight built into the T3 - and it isn't used for navigating at night, instead, if is used to check pupil dilation on an injured patient. That is a very important tool to have if you are working in EMS!
The 440C stainless steel blade is 3-1/4 inch long, but it looks longer for some reason - not a bad thing, just an observation. The overall length of the T3 is 5 inches in the close position and it weighs in at 6.4 ounces. It is a hefty beast, but needed in a rescue tool - you don't want some lightweight tool, that might fail you at the worse time - you want heavy-duty, and the T3 is that! Half the 440C blade is serrated, another good idea, in case you have to cut through wet rope, clothing, etc., just makes it easier with those serrations, trust me - been there, done that - and serrations make the job easier when dealing with wet material. you also get a heavy-duty Nylon belt sheath, if you prefer to carry the T3 on your belt, and there is a stainless steel clothing/pocket clip, for carry inside a pocket, for faster deployment.
Over the years, I've tested seat belt cutters and serrated knife blades on actual seat belt material, so I had some on-hand for testing. The seat belt cutter easily cut right through the seat belt material with ease! It really grabbed the material and fed it into the cutter, too. The serrated blade worked almost as well, but it tended to snag a bit - ever so slightly. For my money, the seat belt cutter is the tool for - well, cutting through seat belt material. But the serrated folding blade worked 98% as well as the seat belt cutter did - no surprise there. However, I had to apply more force with the serrated blade, than I did with the cutter. Again, no surprise there!
The flashlight - it worked as advertised...I checked the pupils on my wife and the light wasn't blinding, like so many of today's hi-tech super bright flashlights are, that can not only destroy one's vision temporarily, but actually do serious harm, maybe permanent harm to a patient's eyes. Additionally, the battery is easy to get to when time comes to replace it.
The spring loaded, steel-tipped window punch tool: I was interested in this one, for sure. However, I wasn't about to break out my own car windows to test it. I had an old picture frame that was cracked, so I used that as a test media. I placed the tip of the window punch tool against the glass, and applied pressure and the glass shattered into hundreds of pieces. I know this will easily punch out the window of an auto or truck. I even tested the power of the window punch tool against a 2X4 and it made a nice little dent in it. No doubt this will easily break windows in vehicles!
The 440C stainless steel knife blade held a good edge, and to be sure, not all 440 stainless steel is the same. There is 440A, 440B and others, but 440C is the toughest in my humble opinion. Normally 440C is tough to re-sharpen, but the T3's blade wasn't that hard - maybe a lower Rockwell hardness? I don't know...the blade held an edge for a long time - I did a lot of cutting with the T3 - and when time came to re-sharpen it, it didn't take but a couple minutes on some crock sticks to get the blade hair-popping sharp again! The handle scales on the folder are G10 - or they at least appear to be...I didn't see any information on the web site to tell me differently. There is also a thumb stud on the folding blade, and it easily snapped the blade in-place. Friction grooves are on the top back of the blade, for perfect thumb placement in the fencing grip!
If you are an EMS responder, police officer, or just about anyone - you can benefit from the T3. While not designed as a survival knife per se, it fills in that role - if a person is trapped in a burning vehicle, and you need to get them out ASAP, the T3 is a survival knife - trust me! If you have family or friends in the EMS or law enforcement fields, then buy a T3 for them as a gift, they'll really appreciate it - and so will injured people. Best of all is, the T3 is only $39.99 right now -- discounted $20 -- and orders over $100 are shipped free. I think anyone in the EMS or rescue line of work would benefit greatly by the T3. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio