Category: Flashover News

Be prepared for anything with a multi-tool built for the fire service

By Robert Avsec for FireRescueOne BrandFocus

 During my fire service career, I often said the title on my business card should have been professional problem solver rather than firefighter, captain or battalion chief. It's what we do: solve the problems of other people – people who are usually having a really bad day.

Ask any firefighter to empty the pockets on their turnout gear and it's likely you'll have enough inventory to stock a small hardware store. From pliers to screw drivers to nylon webbing to multi-tools (e.g., Leatherman), your average firefighter is ready for whatever comes next.

Something else you'll likely see is a pair of Channellock pliers or wire cutters (or both) because, for almost as long as there have been firefighters in the U.S., the DeArment family has been making durable, quality hand tools for tradesmen and women.


Today a fifth generation of DeArments is running the family business in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and leading the way in creating innovative hand tools for working professionals, including firefighters. In fact, the company currently manufactures more than 130 different sizes and types of pliers and hand tools. 

Designed specifically for firefighters, first responders, and EMT’s, Channellock rescue tools are packed with several functions essential in emergency situations.  

Since the launch of Channellock’s flagship product in 2008, the rescue tool line has evolved based on real world feedback from first responders. “Our Rescue Tool line allows first responders to have multiple safety functions that are essential when time is absolutely critical – all in one tool,” said Ryan DeArment, vice president of sales and marketing at Channellock. 

With a Channellock rescue tool a first responder can carry only one piece of equipment, giving them several capabilities on the emergency scene:

  • Cutting cables, wire, and various light metals.
  • Prying open doors and windows.
  • Shutting off gas line valves.
  • Tightening or loosening hose couplings.


Today, the Channellock Rescue Tools product line includes two tools specifically designed for the fire service: The Model 87 Rescue Tool and Model 86 Rescue Tool.

At first glance there appears to be little difference between the Model 86 and Model 87. Their common features include:

  • Light weight of just over one pound.
  • Length just under 9 inches, meaning that both the Model 86 and 87 fit easily into turnout gear pockets.
  • High alloy steel construction that makes them durable and ready for any task.
  • Handles that provide tools for prying, gas valve shut off, and spanner wrench that accommodates hose couplings up to 5 inches in diameter.


Based on feedback from firefighters and other first responders who use the tools every day, the designers at Channellock redesigned the Model 86 Rescue Tool to include Channellock’s XLT (Xtreme Leverage Technology) joint that gives the Model 86:

  • High leverage cutting capability but with less user-grip force than before.
  • A unique jaw design that accommodates many shapes and provides maximum grip, along with laser heat-treated cutting edges and the XLT joint that can safely, effectively and efficiently cut through hardened steel wire and cables.
  • A spring-and-lock feature that keeps the Model 86 closed in your pocket while making for easy one-handed operations when first responders are dealing with numerous high-stress situations all at once.


The Model 87 Rescue Tool shares many characteristics and features with the Model 86, with one difference: the jaws. Whereas the jaws on the Model 86 are capable of both cutting and gripping, the jaws on the Model 87 are designed solely for cutting. Its narrow jaw profile cable cutter with precision-mated, heat-hardened edges is capable of quickly and efficiently slicing through battery cables, aluminum framing, and other soft metals, as well as fitting into tight spots.

Additionally, both models add to Channellock’s ability to continue providing firefighters with quality options when they’re seeking a compact and light rescue tool capable of giving them the ability to do several tasks with one tool.

“We are proud to offer the latest addition to our line of rescue tools that have become the first choice with first responders and rescue professionals,” said Ryan DeArment, vice president of sales and marketing at Channellock. “We specifically designed the 86 Rescue Tool based on professionals’ feedback on what they need in a quality, lightweight rescue tool.”