What’s a ‘whacker tool’?
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
During the last couple months I have had the chance to become familiar with a new product by the Weddle Tool Company (WTC) called the “Whacker Tool.” WTC describes the Whacker Tool as the “one person tool that handles multiple jobs.”
Jack Harding, of WTC, explained to me that the idea behind this tool is not to replace traditional tools like a good set of irons but instead find ways to meet the needs of fire departments that have to do more with less staffing.
According to Harding, the Whacker Tool has several uses and includes forcible entry with its spoon or forked end and gas shut off with its forked end — all with one person.
The tool is about 12 pounds and is similar to the weight of a standard halligan bar. It features a five-pound solid bronze slide hammer — which is spark-free so it can be used in hazardous materials responses — and a one-piece steel bar. The length is 37 inches and again is slightly longer than the standard halligan bar.
The retail price of the tool is $289 and can be ordered directly from the company. The tool comes with a limited lifetime warranty that is rare in this business. If you bend or break the tool you can send it back and for $99 the company will take your bronze slide hammer and place it onto a new bar and return it to you good as new.
There are a couple other things I like about this tool. First, these days we are putting more and more items on a truck or engine; this tool is rather compact and does not have parts that easily tangle making it hard to get out of the rig. The second thing I like is that they have tried to put together a tool that appears to be useable in many aspects.
One aspect that I did not like was the pin that holds the slide hammer in place. This pin is not latched on to the tool. When using the tool I did not take the time to put the pin in a safe location and thus would likely lose it. That being said there were several ways I imagined that I could rig the pin to be attached to the tool.
Using the Tool
Let me start by saying I did not get a chance to use this tool in a real life situation but did use it on several training situations so I could review it. Mr. Harding was nice enough to extend the time I had with the tool and I hope to have some realistic experience to share with you in a future edition.
I found the spoon end of the tool to be easy to get a bite into the door. Sliding it into the frame and door then allowed me to use the slide hammer. After a couple hits with the slide hammer the door opened. It operated as explained.
The forked end allowed for work just as the forked end of a halligan bar. I used it prying things such as doors, windows, etc. I was not able to try it but the forked end mimics the same abilities as a K Tool. Having both abilities on the same tool can be very beneficial. There are a couple adjustments that I think would improve the tool. First, I would like to see the grip part of the slide hammer made more slender and roughed up like that of the halligan bar. This would allow for better holding of the tool and to be able to use more force on the tool. Secondly, I would like to see the J hook part of the tool changed. If they switched the smooth side and the angled part it would still allow for breaking padlocks but would add a strike plate for using a flat head axe in addition if personnel and need arose.
It is my opinion that this tool would be a great addition to any rig. As Mr. Harding explained to me, and I agree, this tool does not and should not replace a good set of irons. However, the multiple uses of this tool coupled with the ability to use this as a sole firefighter makes this tool one that every department should consider. It would be great to have this tool as one of many in the toolbox.
Until next time be safe!
David Hesselmeyer has been in emergency services for 15 years. Currently he is a firefighter, rescue technician, paramedic, and emergency management coordinator Type I. He is the owner and primary consultant with Emergency Preparedness Consulting (EPC). EPC contracts with emergency services agencies, health departments, fire departments, EMS agencies, and non profits to assist in risk assessments, plan writing, plan revision, exercise development, etc. If you have any questions or concerns about this please feel free to contact Hesselmeyer at [email protected].
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