As a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for over 15 years, it did not take me long when I started to realize that those other medics who carried utility knives strapped to their belts were not doing it just for show. When you are out there taking calls in all kinds of situations you just dont have the room to carry a bunch of tools, but you frequently find yourself needing them. Rescues seem to be at the top of the list when it comes to needing that little advantage now and then for extricating a victim trapped in a car, or wrapped up in a piece of demolished farm equipment.
By the time you collected a seat-belt cutter, window-punch, utility knife, oxygen tank wrench, and other small tools your belt would be full and you would be in constant confusion trying to select a tool quick when you need it. Gerber Company, out of Portland Oregon, has been turning out high-quality, affordable, specialty knives and equipment for years and their Hinderer Rescue Knife answers the need of the professional again.
The Gerber Hinderer Rescue Knife at first look appears to be just another good quality locking pocket knife, but its red-colored, hard-rubber, diamond-grip handle makes it stand out as different quickly. The Hinderer has that over-sized easily gripped handle for a reason. The man who designed this knife, Rick Hinderer, was a fire fighter and took the many needs of his profession into account. Many times when performing rescues in the field, turnout gloves are used and their bulk make hanging on to small tools all but impossible. The Hinderers shape is easy to hang on to even with these gloves.
On one end of the knife a hook-cutter opens out for safely cutting seatbelts or other strapping. The main blade is designed to open single-handed with a thumb-nut at the top of the blade. The length of the unit closed is 5.1 and with a blade that is 3.5 it makes a commanding 8.5 total length. It is rather light-weight at 5.6 oz but sturdy. When the blade is opened you can see that the tip has been flattened which is a nice touch, keeping accidental stabbing from happening when cutting clothes away to treat injuries. In fact the serrated blade makes the cutting of all kinds of material possible. Finally at the base of the knife there is a window punch and an oxygen tank valve opener, two indispensible tools for the rescue professional.
After using the Hinderer for a while, overall it is a sturdy, well-performing tool. This is not surprising for Gerber, which has produced high-quality knives for a long time. The fold-out seatbelt cutter has a tendency not to cut properly, but the blade itself cuts so well that it makes up for it. Although the punch is not spring-loaded, with a little practice it works fine. The only other complaint seems to be that the handle has a tendency to get roughed-up by the oxygen tank valve when the wrench has been used enough times. All-in-all at low price at Amazon.com the Gerber Hinderer Rescue Knife is a great value. A case and a 9-piece tool kit come with the knife also making the whole package well worth it for any new or veteran rescue professional.