SEQUIM — A large, unexpected monetary gift has outfitted Clallam County Fire District 3’s firefighters and paramedics with four Jaws of Life devices.
District 3 officials report that a longtime supporter of the district recently walked into Fire Chief Ben Andrews’ office and handed him a cashier’s check for $50,000, with two stipulations: that the funds be used to improve the district’s service and that the donor remain anonymous.
District staff recommended to District 3 commissioners on Tuesday that the money be used to purchase four new, battery-operated Jaws of Life devices for the first-out apparatus. Commissioners approved the recommendation.
“The district is humbled by the generous gift and believes this is the best use of the donated funds,” Andrews said in a press release.
District 3 Operations Chief Tony Hudson said he had planned to replace the district’s Jaws of Life devices over the next three years.
The district’s equipment was purchased more than 10 years ago and is becoming unrepairable, Hudson said.
Jaws of Life devices are extrication equipment that are used to free those entrapped in vehicles after wrecks or in other such types of situations.
Hudson had received a quote of $48,000 to replace all four extrication tools. With the donation, the district will be able to replace all of the battery-operated devices in one purchase.
“With winter approaching, and the likelihood of increased motor vehicle accidents, these tools will be a vast improvement from what the district has been using,” Andrews said in a press release.
“The sooner victims are free from the wreckage of an automobile accident, the sooner first responders can get them to definitive care at a hospital.
The district covers the east side of Clallam County with a small portion in Jefferson County.