For those of you, who don't know Mike Brick, he was
hired by George Hurst - Hurst Performance - in the early 1970's to develop a
concept for a hydraulic rescue tool. Mike Brick is widely known as the inventor of the famed
rescue tool system and coined the phrase" Jaws of Life".
Mike worked the original idea, and invented the first portable hydraulic rescue
tools. He ran the original rescue tool company for over 10 years, creating the market, and
playing the key role in getting adopting safety standards worldwide, standards
that are still in place today.
Eventually the safety products division of Hurst Performance earned over 12
million dollars from the sale of the rescue tools. Then the first "gas" crisis
hit. Sales of high end car accessories & shifters were down. Soon
the company was on the sales block. The new owners were eager to acquire
the safety products division, but when Mike asked for his commissions on the
sale of his invention, he was instantly fired.
Mike Brick founded PHOENIX RESCUE EQUIPMENT in
1982, on the principal that a hydraulic rescue tool should be capable of all the functions
of hydraulic rescue, (push, pull, cut). He literally re-invented the
rescue tool system.
I got involved because of a family connection and it was through Mike Brick that
I met my business partner Win VanBasten. Eventually Win and I would form
RAW rescue products, one of Mike's first Distributors. The
actual story is this. Mike & company were at the Baltimore Fire Expo
tradeshow. I had heard his talk about the rescue tools and had helped
around the factory a few times and so was familiar with the concepts behind the
tools. Mike had left the booth for a pee break and left me
alone in the booth. A rescue squad came into the booth and I sold
them a Phoenix Rescue tool system on the spot. Mike was impressed
and a little annoyed because I had sold the set without a demo.
At the same time Win VanBasten was Mike's right hand man in the factory.
He was a draftsman with a background in engineering. In those early
days / years Win lived at the Brick house and received his salary in room and
board. After a while Win wanted a raise, but F.M. Brick
Industries was pretty young and struggling to survive. Mike
suggested that Win and I get together and form the Rick and Win company to sell
rescue tools. Mike had just sold the state of Delaware 19 rescue
tool sets. He said that if we trained all 19 rescue squads, that he
would give us the NJ, DE, MD, PA Territory and so we did, and he did. That
is how we got our start in business - and through that company we came
upon the Exit Traveler.
The original PHOENIX RESCUE TOOL had graphite arms,
replaceable jaws and cutter blades, and weighed less than other tools while maintaining
considerable cutting pulling and spreading power. This unique idea was patented, and has
set PHOENIX apart from the rest of an ever growing group of hydraulic tool manufacturers.
The skyrocketing cost of graphite at the time lead to using
aircraft quality anodized aluminum in the construction of the tool. This new method still
falls under the protection of the patent.
Through the years, PHOENIX has continued to produce,
new, innovative, user friendly equipment at a more rapid pace than any other hydraulic
rescue tool manufacturer. Mike achieved this by superior engineering, an open mind set,
and an open ear to the end user. PHOENIX has a long list of firsts and bests, and we
are proud to say that you had the most important part in this.
PHOENIX has the first patented rescue tool on the
market, the widest opening, most powerful combination tools on the market, (stronger than
just plain spreaders too), The only patented separate cutting device, (the C/C Cutter),
the strongest cutter on the market, (the S/B Cutter), the only full set of telescoping
rams on the market, the first diesel power unit, more power unit drive and hook up options
than anyone else, the only true simultaneous operation power unit (two tools at once with
no loss of speed or power, and no reduction in flow), and we've got about this much more
stuff in development!