Jaws of Life = Priceless – Nov 2019

{Scott Stout – Director of Office of Emergency Services Special Thanks to Chuck Hiatt, Captain of Operations & Training Officer}

Cutter = $4600, Spreader = $4200 Ram = $4600, Jaws of Life = Priceless

First responders must train and receive various certifications to qualify for the job, but the learning never ends. In any vocation, there are those who show up when scheduled, check the necessary boxes, then wait for the clock to mark the end of the day. Conversely, there are those determined souls who are not satisfied to watch time pass, who have their craft in mind in the shower, when falling asleep (If they sleep), or out on the water. The ones who ask, “What can we learn? How can we do this better, faster next time?” are the proactive team members every employer hopes for. When the Roane County Firefighters experience periods of time between emergencies and they are not recovering from assisting the Sheriff’s secure the safety of a crime scene overnight or working alongside our volunteer firefighters to put out the last house fire out on New Hope Road, you can find them using that time proactively honing their skills. Last Thursday, October the 4th, Mike’s Auto body donated a white minivan to the county to learn how to use familiar tools for new techniques.

The Jaws of Life, so named for their ability to keep people from the jaws of death, are a set of hydraulic powered tools that fall into three categories, spreaders, cutters, and rams. AVG COST $4600 The spreaders hydraulic powered arms come to a narrow tip that can be inserted into small gaps between metal panels and expand holes or pry doors from their hinges. Conversely, the spreader can be used to compress. AVG COST $4200 The cutter is a hydraulic pair of shears powerful enough to cut through your vehicle. (AVG COST $1000 replacement blades) AVG COST $4600 Extension rams are expanding cylinders that are placed in strategic points in the structure to open up space with hydraulic power.

This may seem simple enough before you start to think a little deeper about the problem. Does this part need to be pried apart before pinching another area? Do we need to pry something apart before cutting it open? Then consider the varying makes and models of cars each year, let alone over the last century. Each decade’s advancements in alloys, structural, and safety standards bring new levels of safety and new challenges for those who are there for us when things have gone terribly wrong. In a time when the growing pains and benefits of technology dance the line between progress and egress an agent of our change, Steve Jobs, reminds us that, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” As taxpayers we employ a team of four firefighters who go beyond what is officially required; We pay for the tools they need to pry us from harm and in turn, they train to wield them better today than yesterday.