Firefighters get sharper tools

CHATHAM—Chatham firefighters recently held an extrication drill to hone their vehicle extrication and rescue techniques. In case of occupant entrapment due to forceful impact with other vehicles or structures, specialized tools may be necessary to cut or force open vehicle parts that can’t otherwise be readily opened.

While the department has had these tools for many years (carried on its rescue truck 58-9), newer model passenger vehicles are constructed with components that are much stronger than those found on earlier models, so the department acquired state-of-the-art equipment including a cutter (“Jaws of Life”), spreader and a hydraulic ram, all designed to reduce the time it takes to remove a trapped occupant. These new Hurst extrication tools were purchased from MESFire thanks to an AFG grant.

20 16blot extrication drill

Chatham firefighters Paul McCagg (l) and Pat Wemitt use the Jaws of Life to cut through a car roof then lift it off. Photo contributed

During 2015, the all-volunteer Chatham Fire Department responded to 16 motor vehicle accidents (including 9 requiring use of this specialized equipment).

The department is committed to maintaining a high state of training and readiness in order to provide safe and comprehensive prevention and fire and accident response services in the village and surrounding areas.

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