Ring Stuck? Can the Fire Department Cut it Off?


A stuck ring is not only annoying but can also be dangerous at times. But don’t panic – experienced professionals can cut rings, even those made of robust metals such as tungsten or titanium. Who can help when this happens? So, can the fire department cut off a ring from a finger?

Firefighters can cut off a ring that is stuck on your finger. They have special tools that can cut a stuck ring without causing harm to the person wearing it. The procedure only takes 10–20 minutes, and calling the fire department is the best bet if the removal methods you try are ineffective.

To learn more about how the process firefighters use to cut off rings, tricks you can try at home for a stuck ring and other professionals that may be able to help when this happens, read on. 

Also read: How to Put Out a Fire on Someone’s Clothes: A Guide

How Do Firefighters Cut Off a Ring?

Firefighters may be known for fighting fires, but their job involves much more than that. Firefighters also do many other obscure things such as catching snakes, responding to car crashes, rescuing animals, clearing away toppled trees, and removing stuck rings.

As an example. In 2019, the East Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency personnel helped an 18-year-old man by removing a ring stuck on his finger. The man went to the fire station by himself to seek help. He had worn the ring for a long time, and the ring got too tight as his finger outgrew it. According to the news report, the firefighters used a mini grinder to cut off the ring from his finger safely.

Another incident occurred in Florida, USA, in November 2019. A woman removed her engagement and wedding rings from her ring finger and put them on the middle finger of her right hand. She was unable to remove the rings when she tried to put them back on the proper finger. When her finger began to swell and turned red, she went to Delray Beach Fire Rescue Station No. 113. The firefighters had to cut the rings using a ring cutter, which is a metal tool with a hook that can go behind a ring.

This video shows the basic procedure used by firefighters with a standard ring cutter:

The process of removing a stuck ring is usually simple. Whenever a ring gets stuck on your finger, you just have to call the firehouse and ask for their help. As long as the department has the proper machinery (which they should), you’ll be in good hands. You can even purchase the same ring cutter used by firefighters, but you would have to do that ahead of time obviously.

If the normal tool is not effective, they may have to use other methods to remove the ring.

Here is a video showing the method for removing a ring with a powered Dremel with a cutting blade:

What Are the Alternatives to Cutting the Ring?

While cutting a stuck ring is the most common method of removal, there are other ways to get them off as well. Maybe the swelling isn’t too severe – or maybe the ring holds monetary or sentimental value, and you don’t want to destroy it. 

Whatever the case, here are a few less extreme methods you can use to remove a stuck ring from your finger:

Reduce the Swelling with Cold Water

pouring cold water into glass with ice

Cold therapy is a great remedy for swelling and can be used to reduce swelling in your finger which may allow the ring to slip off. You can soak your hand in a bowl filled with cold water or apply an ice pack to the affected finger. When the swelling subsides, gently try to remove the ring.

Do note that the water must not be extremely cold to avoid frostbite; it just has to be comfortably cold.

Use Lubrication

Skin-safe lubricants can help the ring slip off your finger without damaging your skin. Just apply the lubricant to your finger, using an ample amount near the knuckle. Then gently twist the ring back and forth. With each twist, slowly pull your finger from the ring. As long as the ring isn’t too severely stuck, it should slide off after enough effort. 

A word of warning: if your skin is already cut or broken, choose your lubricant wisely. Ammonia-based cleaners, such as Windex, work best. Otherwise, you can try any skin-friendly lubricant, such as body lotion, Vaseline, butter, lard, vegetable oil, cooking spray, coconut oil, mineral oil, shampoo, hair conditioner, and liquid dishwashing soap.

Try the String Method

If the lubrication doesn’t work, you can try the string method. This is a really cool trick that can work quite well and save you from having to seek help. It works by compressing your finger, making it easier to slide the ring off. It may sound a little tricky, but it is very simple. 

Here’s how you do it:

1. Take a length of string, thread, or dental floss and slip one end under the stuck ring. (You may have to use a needle to get the string’s end through the gap between your ring and finger. Carefully insert the tail end of the needle through the gap to avoid puncturing yourself.)

2. Once one end of the string is placed under the ring band, wind the rest of the string around your finger up to the knuckle.

3. Pull up on the end of the string that is sticking out through the gap between your ring and finger. Pulling up the string unwinds the rest of the string and should push the ring up over your knuckle. You need to relax your hand and bend your knuckle slightly as you pull the string.

It sounds confusing, but it’s very simple and can be quite effective. It’s pretty cool.

Watch how it’s done:

This video shows it done with a ribbon, which can work, but dental floss seems to work better if it’s really stuck.

Who Else Can Help You with a Stuck Ring?

While the fire department might be the first place you think of calling when you’re dealing with a stuck ring, they’re not the only ones who can free your finger. 

A Jeweler

A jeweler has the perfect tools to cut off a stuck ring without harming your finger. They can also ensure minimal damage to your ring during the cutting process, which is something the fire department can’t promise (they’ll be more focused on your safety than saving the ring). Hence, there is a high chance your ring can be restored to its original beauty after it is cut. 

Depending on the material the ring is made of, the jeweler might even be able to resize the ring so you won’t have the same problem in the future. The cost of the ring removal and resizing will depend on the complexity of the cutting process and the materials used.

A Doctor

As mentioned earlier, a stuck ring can cut off the blood flow to your fingertip and cause severe permanent damage. You should immediate medical help or call 911 if your injured finger is:

  • Swollen
  • Fractured, cut, or broken
  • Significantly discolored
  • Void of feeling

Health professionals will be able to prevent additional damage to the finger and infection, although they might end up calling the fire department to assist with the removal. 

How Do Rings Get Stuck?

Rings can get stuck on your finger for several reasons. The most common causes are:

  • You have a ring that once fit you, but you’ve since grown in size (but neglected to remove the ring). 
  • You forced a ring that is too small onto your finger. 
  • Your finger has swollen due to trauma or injury.
  • Your finger has swollen because your body is retaining fluids due to your diet or a medical condition
  • Your knuckles have enlarged due to arthritis or other conditions.

Conclusion

To get rid of a stuck ring on your finger, seek help from experienced professionals. Firefighters and doctors are your best option,  as they can ensure no harm to your finger during the ring removal process. Another great option is a jeweler, as they can try to remove the ring in a way that minimizes damage to the metal. 

Other ways to remove a stuck ring include cold therapy, applying a lubricant, and using the string method. And to avoid possible permanent damage, you must get emergency care if your finger is injured.

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Chase

I have been a Firefighter in Northern California since 2012 and a Paramedic since 2008. My site is dedicated to helping answer questions people have about the fire service. I am passionate about helping to share what I have learned and assisting those who are pursuing a career as a firefighter. Thanks for coming to my site!

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