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2009-12-03 digital edition

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2009-12-03 / Front Page

Lexington Firefighters Train on New Tools

Members of the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department received and were trained on a new set of Jaws of Life tools last Tuesday night. Members of the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department received and were trained on a new set of Jaws of Life tools last Tuesday night. 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.

Pictured above are the new tools purchased by the LVFD to help in rescue operations. The top right tool is a cutter; the one below that is the spreader and on the left are the hydraulic hoses and ram used by the department. Pictured above are the new tools purchased by the LVFD to help in rescue operations. The top right tool is a cutter; the one below that is the spreader and on the left are the hydraulic hoses and ram used by the department. 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.
Fire Department is seen knocking out the window to gain access. Fire Department is seen knocking out the window to gain access.
Each tool has several uses, as seen above. The spreader used by Kevin Bayer is being used to crush the fender and hood to allow access into the cab of the car. Each tool has several uses, as seen above. The spreader used by Kevin Bayer is being used to crush the fender and hood to allow access into the cab of the car.
The new tools are much lighter than the other set the LVFD already had. Each firefighter takes his turn with the equipment, learning to understand the proper use of each piece in order to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the victims for whom they may have to use these tools someday. The new tools are much lighter than the other set the LVFD already had. Each firefighter takes his turn with the equipment, learning to understand the proper use of each piece in order to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the victims for whom they may have to use these tools someday.
Kevin Bayer successfully pries open a passenger door on the vehicle donated by Lexington Auto and Wrecker for the training. Fellow firefighter Allen Retzlaff stands by to help. Kevin Bayer successfully pries open a passenger door on the vehicle donated by Lexington Auto and Wrecker for the training. Fellow firefighter Allen Retzlaff stands by to help.

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