Often firefighters encounter situations that their typical tools—hooks, hoses, axes—can’t handle. Cutting through debris, lifting heavy objects and seeing into thick, black smoke demands specially designed tools to get the job done.

Jaws of Life
  Usually used to cut through steel of vehicles involved in accidents, this tool can exert pressure up to 25,000 pounds, making it especially useful in freeing trapped passengers. Other attachments allow firefighters to spread or pull heavy objects, allowing them to gain access to needed areas.
Maxi-Force Air Bag
  These steel-reinforced rubber bags can lift and move objects as heavy as 74 tons when inflated. Because they're less than one-inch thick before inflation, these "super balloons" are ideal for lifting collapsed brick walls, floors, beams, fallen trees, cars, trucks, and trains.
Rabbit Tool
  This portable hydraulic tool is used to gain forcible entry into a fire area—even if the door has multiple locks or security shields. When inserted between the door and the frame, the Rabbit tool can exert a pressure of up to four tons.
Thermal Imaging Camera
  About the same size and shape as a megaphone, these infrared cameras are used to detect fires hidden behind walls, above ceilings, and beneath floors. Because of its ability to sense surrounding objects of different temperature levels, thermal imaging cameras can spot the silhouettes of victims and firefighters through the smoke and darkness.