It was just last month that we heard about a nifty little gadget known as the T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool. The device was created by New York City paramedic Avi Goldstein, for freeing accident victims from their wrecked cars – it's intended for use by both first responders and everyday drivers. Goldstein recently sent me a T3 to try out firsthand, so try it out I did ... at a race track.
The 6.4-oz (181-gram) T3 consists of four tools – a folding stainless steel hook blade for slicing through seat belts, a 3.25-inch (82-mm) folding half-serrated blade, a spring-loaded window punch for breaking tempered glass, and a 5-lumen LED light.
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Originally I just planned on trying it by myself in a wrecking yard, but then I got the chance to take it somewhere better. Michael Elhard, vice-president of the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club, invited me to bring it out to Edmonton's Castrol Raceway, where some of the on-site paramedics could check it out. That sounded like a good idea, so we went with it.
First of all, Mike and I tried the T3 out on a junked Chevy Cavalier and Porsche 924. The window punch easily popped the Cavalier's windows, which was accomplished simply by placing the tool against the glass, then applying steady, even pressure. Goldstein chose to incorporate a spring-loaded punch, as he figured that drivers trapped in a mangled car might not have room to take a swing with a hammer-style punch.
The hook blade made fairly quick work of the Chevy's seat belts. The 924's racing harness put up a bit more of a fight, but still gave way without too much fuss.
The light, which I tried out by myself in my basement, isn't brilliant but is more than adequate for seeing what's what in close quarters. Its battery can easily be changed, which is handy. At one point, I did notice that the light had come on by itself when the T3 was in my pocket, presumably due to its side-mounted power button being pressed accidentally. That's something which probably wouldn't be an issue as long as the tool was kept in a glove compartment, or worn on a belt (using its built-in steel clip, or its included nylon case).
The club's volunteer paramedics certainly seemed to like the T3. In particular, they commented on its light weight, grippy rubberized body ... and its snazzy tactical black paint job. One paramedic did point out that her existing rescue tool included heavy-duty scissors for cutting away clothing, although it lacked the T3's LED light and semi-serrated blade.
For his part, Mike plans on ordering several for the club. At US$39.99 a pop it's also plenty affordable for regular folks to buy and throw into their car, then hopefully never need to use.
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