Charting a new course in rescue shoring

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Mattijn de Graaf, R&D Director at Holmatro, talks the future of shoring with Holmatro’s OmniShore

In the intricate dance of rescue operations, every second counts. Every move is magnified, with lives hanging in the balance.

The tools and methods employed in these operations can be the difference between a life saved and a tragedy remembered.

In this high-stakes arena, the name Holmatro stands out, synonymous with innovation, reliability, and cutting-edge technology.

Their latest offering, OmniShore, encapsulates these values, promising to redefine the way first responders approach rescue shoring.

Shoring, for the uninitiated, is a temporary solution to stabilise structures, vehicles, or trenches to prevent collapse or further movement.

It is the safety net that rescue operations rely on before embarking on the actual rescue.

Ensuring the site’s stability can mean the difference between a safe rescue operation and a perilous one.

Holmatro’s rich legacy of prioritising safety and efficiency for rescue personnel is palpable in their Pentheon Series of rescue tools.

And now, with the OmniShore, they have reimagined shoring from the ground up.

Designed in line with the highest standards of quality, the system is a testament to Holmatro’s commitment to supporting rescue professionals in their life-saving endeavors.

IFSJ caught up with Mattijn de Graaf, R&D Director of the Holmatro Group, provides a closer look into the development, features, and the future of shoring.

Can you briefly explain what shoring is and its importance in rescue operations?

The broad definition of shoring is the temporary support of elements, to prevent them from further movement or collapse.

These elements can be structures such as buildings, but they can also be vehicles or trenches, to name a few.

Aside from that, there’s technical rope rescue, which involves the transport of people or the moving of elements.

Shoring is instrumental for rescue operations, because a rescue operation can only be done when the situation is stable and safe.

It’s one of the first steps, and of the utmost importance for the rest of the operation.

What inspired the creation of the OmniShore, and how does it differ from other shoring systems available?

Our aim is to help rescuers getting their jobs done faster, safer and easier. So this has been our top focus while developing OmniShore.

The way this system differentiates itself is that you can do structural shoring, vehicle shoring, vehicle lifting, trench shoring and build high directionals with one single system, that consists of only six different struts.

On top of that, there are some patented elements that set OmniShore apart: the Trident Coupler ensures that each connection that you can make is safe, and the OmniLock system helps rescuers take control of a rescue shoring operation with less manpower, while keeping them out of the danger zone.

With OmniShore’s broad capabilities from vehicle shoring to trench shoring, can you explain its versatility for first responders?

The versatility of the system comes from the versatility of its parts. For instance, every strut can also be used as an extension pipe.

And a pneumatic strut plus the patented Pull Restrictor functions as a brace, so no separate braces are needed.

And the battery for the OmniLock system is the same as the one used for our Pentheon Tools.

All of this makes first responders able to do more with less, while arriving at the rescue scene completely armed.

How does the system’s compactness benefit rescue teams, especially in terms of transport and storage?

Rescuers can’t predict what scenarios they will face, and both truck space and storage space are limited.

So having a system that can do more with less parts saves them weight and space in both truck and storage, while maximising the functionality.

The OmniShore struts have an impressive range. Why is this important in rescue scenarios?

This was important, because a certain length is needed to build applications like large rakers and flying rakers.

On the one hand, being able to reach this length is important, on the other hand, I’d like to highlight that we also have the smallest mechanical strut on the market.

This strut can be positioned easily in confined spaces, which is just as important as being able to offer these lengthy extensions.

OmniLock allows for remote operation, ensuring safety. Can you explain the rationale behind this feature?

During certain rescue operations, such as lifting a truck with the basket method, you need back-up struts to follow the load you are lifting.

Without a system such as OmniLock, you’d need people to manually operate those back-up struts.

Our vision, however, is that no one should be near a moving load at any time.

Every OmniLock strut automatically follows a load in upward and downward motion, while remaining mechanically locked at all times.

This means when the load suddenly shifts, OmniLock will hold its position, so that the strut doesn’t collapse.

At the same time, OmniLock minimises the time for rescuers in the so-called danger zone.

How does the Wireless Controller enhance the OmniLock system’s functionality?

With the Wireless Controller, you can operate and monitor multiple OmniLock struts at the same time, from a safe distance.

This way you can wirelessly retract and extend struts, and see their inclination. So this means you will need less people to operate these struts, and you can do it in a safer way.

Where do you envision the future of shoring, and how will Holmatro continue to innovate?

This system was designed to make Rescue Shoring faster, safer and easier.

These are things that will remain vital in the future, so our innovations will surely be focused on those principles.

And of course, we will see how people react when OmniShore is being used in the field, and respond to that.

IFSJ view

Holmatro’s OmniShore epitomises the zenith of this evolution.

By devising a tool that streamlines, simplifies, and secures, de Graaf and his dedicated team have crafted a solution that addresses the pressing demands of contemporary rescue scenarios.

The old paradigm of juggling multiple components for diverse shoring needs has been rendered obsolete with OmniShore’s ingenious architecture.

By encapsulating an array of shoring functionalities within a set of merely six struts, it provides rescuers with enhanced flexibility.

OmniShore’s compact structure solves the perennial issue of limited space, catering to both transport and on-site storage needs.

Blending mechanics with advanced technology, OmniShore champions safety through innovation.

The OmniLock system, a standout feature, transforms traditional operational methods by allowing struts to be controlled remotely.

This is no just technological showmanship; it’s a transformative approach to safety.

In essence, OmniShore transcends the boundary of being just another tool—it embodies Holmatro’s unwavering commitment to the safety and efficacy of first responders.

It’s a testament to the spirit of innovation, with every component, every feature reflecting a deep understanding of the challenges faced in the field.

This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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