Douglas County Fire District No. 2 purchased a new Holmatro hydraulic extrication tool “Jaws of Life” with $ 50,000 of funding provided by the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. The new tool and accessories will be used to replace an existing unit which is nearly 20 years old. The tools purchased include: New spreaders, cutters, rams, hydraulic pumps, mini cutters used to cut foot pedals or in other tight locations, struts to stabilize vehicles on their side, cribbing, and sawsalls.
The new extrication tools are designed to cut the high tensile strength steel being used in modern vehicles. Modern vehicles utilize lighter weight steel and alloys that are four times as difficult to cut as cars made in the 90’s. The District’s current cutter generates 58,000 pounds of force and the new cutter generates 208,000 pounds of force. In addition to the ability to cut quickly through metal used in modern cars, the cutter also has a much larger opening allowing firefighters to make one cut instead of two or three.
Another advantage of the new system is the lightweight and portability of the hydraulic pump. The current hydraulic pump is mounted in a fire engine and has fixed cord reels. The new system utilizes lightweight portable pumps that can be carried over the bank or to remote locations. Two pumps were purchased including one capable of running two tools at once and a smaller pump capable of running one tool. This combination will allow firefighters to operate three tools at one time which will speed extrication of people who are entrapped as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
Firefighters appreciate the generous donation by the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Band of Indians. Battalion Chief Rob Bullock said, “When people are trapped in a car accident every second counts. These tools will save lives”.