When the tool arrived I was excited to see it as I had looked at the product sheet on it prior to arrival. The purpose of this tool is to make catching the hydrant and hooking up hoses a lot easier so we can focus on putting the “wet stuff on the red stuff.”
The version I was sent had four sockets (1 1/8, 1 3/8, 1 5/8, and 1 7/8) which fits all the most common manufacturers of hydrants — each of the four sockets ratchets — so you do not even have to take the tool off the hydrant to continue turning. The sockets can also be moved to another position on the tool rather easily. On the end of the tool there are three hooks, which allow for uncoupling hoses or to remove caps. These hooks are for 1.5, 2.5, and 4 inch hoses/caps. On top of that the handle has a simple to use button that will allow for the elongation of the tool. The tool is made of high strength aluminum and weighs only 5.5 pounds.
First and foremost the tool is not any heavier than a random hydrant wrench. The length, when retracted, makes the tool about the length of a normal hydrant wrench. So the tool does not add any additional weight or storage issues when placed on a rig. This is very important to me because I do not like to add anything for little benefit. So any benefit would easily outweigh the differences — albeit they are miniscule — of a normal hydrant wrench in comparison to the EZ Spanner.
Secondly, upon first inspection I was concerned about how to tell which side would allow for opening or removing a cap. Well they had already thought about that. On the side that removes caps is a large blue plate that covers the sockets while the tightening side is silver. This way it is easy to see and determine which side you need.
What about the use of the tool? I used this tool on several occasions and did not have any problems. There were no failures whatsoever. In fact, I felt that it made it easier to perform the task at hand. With the extension of the tool you are able to provide more leverage to open the caps. In terms of safety I feel that this tool is of benefit too. Due to the ratchet abilities you can maintain your posture while opening the hydrant, whereas when using normal hydrant wrenches we tend to maintain our footing but reach over to do 360 degree turns on the hydrant. This can be damaging to our legs and back.
The tool also feels very sturdy. In the time I used the tool it did not show the first bit of wear. It simply took the beating and kept working. Again a benefit when you know how we “use” our tools.
A Few Other Items
The company also offers a two socket version of the EZ Spanner. This version has the 1 1/8 and the 1 5/8 inch sockets. Even further they can customize you a version of their EZ Spanner with a simple call.
Maintenance, per the manufacturer’s instructions, is very simple as well. If there is mud and debris on the tool use a wet cloth to remove debris. Then always dry after cleaning. You need to store in a dry state instead of leaving wet or to air dry. Finally simply use one to two drops of motor grade oil or lubricant to the extension handle once a month or as needed.
The four socket version of the tool retails for $349 and the two socket version retails for $299. A benefit here is that if you purchase the two socket version and later decide you want the four socket version you can purchase the additional two sockets and install them yourself. How many products can offer something like that?
This tool does not add any real addition of weight or inconveniences in comparison to a normal hydrant wrench. In addition, it does give you the ability to have three sizes of spanner wrenches on the same tool. The tool is very handy and does make the job a lot easier and safer. I can definitely and honestly say that I will be recommending that my department consider purchasing these. The EZ Spanner is definitely worth a look.
Until next time, Be Safe!
David Hesselmeyer, M.P.A., has been in emergency services for 16 years. Currently he is a firefighter, rescue technician, paramedic, and North Carolina Executive Emergency Manager. Hesselmeyer is the owner and primary consultant with On Target Preparedness (OTP) which contracts with emergency services agencies and non profits to assist in risk assessments, plan writing, plan revision, exercise development, etc. He currently volunteers with Buies Creek Fire Rescue and works part time with Harnett County EMS. He can be contacted at [email protected]
or visit his website at www.ontargetprep.com