Many people grow up with an irrational fear of firearms and knives. For those more firmly based in reality, both are recognized as simply tools to accomplish various tasks. Both can be highly specialized; many can be generic types that work well in a variety of areas, and some are specific to one primary use with a limited amount of utility in other applications. This is not a lead-in to “Guns & Blades” magazine, just building up to a look at specialty knives dedicated to rescue functions in the hands of first responders.
For most of us who grew up with a general purpose folding knife in the pocket, having a blade along is second nature. There are countless times and occasions where a box needs to be cut open, a piece of string or rope needs to be cut, and so on. But, for situations where a knife may be called on to cut seatbelts or other webbing quickly for emergency extraction, cut clothing for evaluation and treatment of bleeding wounds (without creating more bleeding wounds in the process), or cut the rope off a suicide without leaving additional damage, a more refined blade is frequently a better way to go. So-called tactical folders, medium to large fixed blades, and other conventional blades with sharp points are contraindicated here. You may be working in a confined space with little room to maneuver, in poor lighting or slippery conditions, and a pointed tip can do more harm than good.