Adams Fire Department raising funds for new Jaws of Life

Published 6:04 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

Timing is key to saving lives after accidents, and that’s why a local fire department is looking to upgrade a key piece of equipment.

The Adams Volunteer Fire Department is raising money to purchase a new Jaws of Life to be able to cut through reinforced steel on newer vehicles. The department’s current 25-year-old system can’t match the improvements in the auto industry.

“It saves lives. It’s just that simple,” said Curt Sheely, assistant chief.

The new Jaws of Life will cost about $25,000. The department has organized a few fundraisers like raffles and drawings. They’ve also applied for grants. About $11,000 has been raised so far, and that money will be combined with the grant funding and the department’s equipment balance to purchase the Jaws of Life.

While the department’s number of fire calls has decreased, Sheely said the department is often called to assists with rescues after car accidents and other incidents.

Rescue equipment is important in a town like Adams, which is about 17 miles from Austin and about 37 miles from Rochester. Delays in reaching an injured person after an accident can be critical.

“It can be very critical to get a person out of a vehicle, so the EMTs and paramedics can start working on them right away,” he said.

Jaws of Life can be adapted for use outside vehicle crashes, like for farming accidents. Sheely also said the department commonly works with other departments to speed the rescue, especially when multiple vehicles are involved in a crash.

The need for a newer system first came up in 2005. The department hasn’t yet had an instance where a they were tasked with cutting through the frame of a newer vehicle. Sheely said they’re hoping to have the new Jaws of Life before that day comes.

However, Sheely said they recently had their system stall three times following a crash, which happened the same day of a raffle fundraiser for the new Jaws of Life. They were able to adapt the tools to reach the victim.

The fire department is aiming to purchase the Jaws of Life next month.