Crime scene investigators (as well as many other investigators) find need for a variety of tools, but need to simplify their storage as well. Gerber's new Kick Axe provides an innovative large hatchet, capable of the type of chopping faced by most investigators, with a twist, or more accurately, a fold. The unit folds in thirds to a size easily stored in a tool kit or other case, and which can be carried in the cargo pockets of many of the pants now in use.
Cyalume Light Technology
Chemiluminescence, the production of light through a cold chemical reaction, quickly brings to mind Cyalume and the original ChemLight. However Cyalume produces a wide range of chemical light bar products, from the Mini ChemLight often used for marking the back of hats for night navigation, through the LightShape circles used for trail marking or area illumination, through a variety of light sticks from 4 inches to 15 inches long, in a variety of colors, light output levels, and durations.
Among its products, Cyalume packages a kit as a replacement for road flares (fusees). How many wrecks result in some release of hazardous materials, especially gasoline? Yet we continue to see fusees line the road to direct traffic flow. The 10-inch snap light packaged in the 9-27049 kit (a 10 pack with wire stands) provides up to 2 hours of constant green illumination, without any heat signature. Indeed, just for flagging traffic, the light bars are a valuable safety device: Highly visible, yet not putting out combustion by-products to burn the user or passersby.
The light sticks provide many other advantages. At a clandestine drug lab, light bars can be tossed about the scene, providing lighting in the potentially hazardous atmosphere. High intensity light sticks have been used as distraction devices, thrown into a darkened room with a suspect to disorient the individual while providing the entry team light to work by.
Cyalume also produces several models of LightStations, designed for permanent installation for emergency egress direction. Several models are designed so once a protective door is opened, four to 10 SnapLights are activated, flooding an area with light for evacuation. The Model 20 is designed so when the door is opened, one SnapLight is activated, providing some lighting, while an additional 19 SnapLights are available for occupants to carry and use as individual light sources while evacuating. These are excellent safety tools for laboratories, crime scene or bomb squad facilities, etc.
Paul Laska is a retired law enforcement officer who specialized in criminalistics and bomb disposal. He may be reached through his Web site, www.paulrlaskaforensicconsulting.com.