Grant Award for New ‘Jaws of Life’

Written by Estero Bay News

April 2, 2024

The Morro Bay Fire Department received a sizable State grant breathing new life into its use of the Jaws of Life.

Fire Chief Daniel McCrain announced the award of a $48,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, “to purchase new extrication equipment,” reads the news release. The tool, known as the “Jaws of Life,” is a heavy duty hydraulics powered tool used to take apart wrecked cars, prying open crashed car doors and collapsed roofs so rescuers can get to anyone trapped inside.

The tools have long been in use by fire departments the world over, and Morro Bay uses them often with local car crashes.

“This grant will have a significant impact on our ability to protect and serve our community,” Chief McCrain said, “ allowing us to respond even more effectively in times of crisis.”

The money will buy equipment and help pay the training needed to use it effectively and sped up their efforts to save car crash victims.

“The goal of this program,” Chief McCrain said, “is to reduce the time an accident victim is trapped in their vehicle, increasing the survivability for victims.”

As a full service fire department, each crewmember is supposed to train with such tools and try to earn an engineer’s certificate. All personnel are trained in emergency medical care, normally to full paramedic level. That way when they arrive, they can start working on patients immediately.

“Delays in providing care to crash victims,” Chief McCrain said, “impact the ‘golden hour’ of survival, a care principle in the emergency medical services industry. Reducing the time it takes to get to the patient, treat what can be treated, and transport the patient to the hospital helps increase the chance for recovery.”

The money came through the California Office of Traffic Safety, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But the original source of all this money is fuel taxes paid by drivers at the gas pump.

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