Lexington Firefighters Train on New Tools
Lexington Volunteer Fire Department held a training session last Tuesday night after receiving a new set of Jaws of Life tools from Municipal Emergency Services, Inc. The tools were purchased for a little under $20,000 with funds the Fire Department earned from their annual fundraisers held in 2008 and 2009. There are three parts to these new state-of-the-art tools: a spreader, used for spreading, peeling, pulling, and squeezing steel and other materials found in today’s automobiles and trucks; a cutter, used to deliver up to an incredible 236,000 lbs. of cutting force; and a ram, ideal for displacing dashboards or steering columns.
The Jaws of Life was first used in 1963 as a tool to free race car drivers from their vehicles after accidents. They became widely used by fire departments and EMS operations after 1972. Prior to having these types of tools, the Lexington Fire Department, like those around the country, used circular saws to help get people out of wreckage, a choice that held many drawbacks for the victims as well as for the rescuers. The saws generated sparks, making for a fire hazard when fuel spills were involved, and they were very loud, which stressed the victims, not to mention the saws were very slow in cutting away the metal.
Lexington’s VFD now has two sets of Jaws of Life, with the latest addition providing the most technologically and ecologically advanced system available. Here are a few pictures of the volunteers learning to use the tools.