By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan County Fire and Rescue have a new lifesaving tool set in their arsenal after Morgan County officials approved a nearly $30,000 purchase for what is commonly known as “the jaws of life.”
The extrication tools are most often used to free victims trapped in a car wreck or to gain access to victims trapped inside a burning building.
“The tools have a strength ranging from 115,000 pounds up to almost 300,000 pounds of force that can be delivered to open, cut, or push the material of the vehicle off of or away from the patient to gain access and remove them,” said Morgan County Fire Chief Jeff Stone.
According to Stone, the new extrication tools, produced by Hurst Extrication, are stronger, faster and more efficient than the department’s older extrication tools.
“These new tools will be a great addition as they, unlike our other extrication tools, do not need any source of power such as a generator or power unit and hoses to operate,” explained Stone about the battery operated tools. “They can be quickly and easily taken from the engine and immediately out to work. Our other tools require two people to operate as where one uses the tool and the second operates the pump and assures the hoses are connected.”
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners approved the new purchase for $29,284.
“The purchase consisted of a Spreader, a Cutter and a Ram,” said Stone. “The spreader is the most used tool as it allows the firefighter to open doors and roof of a vehicle after a crash has occurred. The spreaders—as the name implies—spread the crumpled metal and plastic away to allow access and removal of the patient who may be trapped inside the vehicle. The cutters are used when the crash has caused such damage that the car can’t be peeled away and instead must be cut away. The Ram is a hydraulic pole that allows for when the dash of a vehicle has collapsed onto the driver or passenger. It pushes the dash back up and off to allow removal, usually trapping or pinning the legs of the occupant.”
According to Hurst Extrication, “This line of battery-powered rescue tools has once again put us light-years ahead of the competition. They require no hoses and no power unit. And because these tools are stronger, smaller and lighter, they’re quicker than ever to the rescue.”
Hurst Extrication has a long history in the production and evolution of “jaws of life” technology.
“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do. It allows us to build rescue tools that extend lives,” said a company statement. “Over 45 years ago, we patented the first-ever rescue tool system, and we haven’t stopped innovating since then. Our commitment to research and development, along with quality manufacturing, has resulted in a line of products known for their outstanding safety, durability and performance. Because of this commitment, HURST Jaws of Life® is the most trusted brand in the industry, and our rescue systems have been instrumental in saving hundreds of thousands of lives throughout those 45 years.”
According to Stone, Morgan County now has another lifesaving tool to enhance the ability of firefighters to safe the lives of citizens during an emergency situation.