PORT TOWNSEND — East Jefferson Fire-Rescue received a $42,343 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation for a new Jaws of Life system.
Jaws of Life are used to extricate people from vehicles after wrecks.
The new extrication equipment and accessories will replace the rescue compliment on Engine 15, which is outdated, said Assistant Chief Pete Brummel.
The current three-in-one tool uses hydraulics and gasoline to operate its three tools — a cutter, spreader and a ram. It took time and space to operate because its power source was an external feature that had to be connected to it, Brummel said.
The new equipment is battery-operated, with an internal power source, Brummel said.
“The efficiency of arriving at the scene and putting the tool in use to get somebody out, we’ll be doing it easily in half the time it would take a gas-powered unit to get up and running,” Brummel said.
Brummel aims to order the new machine this week. The department does not expect it to arrive until December at the earliest.
The agency submitted its application for the grant in early September and was notified it received it last week.
Firehouse Subs is a sandwich chain that supports emergency responders throughout the nation. This is the first grant from the chain East Jefferson Fire-Rescue has received, although the fire department has received Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in the past.
“We’re very, very excited,” Brummel said. “This is the first time that this agency has applied to the Fire House Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant program … this is a private sector type of foundation.”
How often the extrication equipment is needed varies.
“Generally speaking, for high-speed motor vehicle accidents, we probably run on those several a year,” Brummel said. “It all depends, we could use it three times in a week or three times in a year.
“It’s really tough to say, but the nice thing is it’s easy and quick to use. As I said before, there are no hoses to hook up, no motor to start. You just grab the tool, hit the button and you can go to work.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].