- Video shows new jaws of life equipment, wrecked cars, Kern County firefighters in action
- The board of supervisors approved a grant from the Office of Traffic and Safety for the Kern County fire department to purchase new jaws of life equipment.
New equipment approved by the board of supervisors will help make traffic collision rescues much easier and quicker for the Kern County Fire Department.
It’s minutes that mean life or death for someone critically injured and trapped in a car after a crash.
“Individuals have a far greater chance of a successful outcome for their health and their life if we can get them to the hospital in one hour or less,” Andrew Freeborn, the public information officer with the Kern County Fire Department said.
With the old equipment, firefighters used hydraulic hoses and power units to cut people out of vehicles.
Now, the new battery powered jaws of life will streamline the process, making it faster and easier for firefighters to rescue people.
After cutting the metal frame of a wrecked vehicle, Freeborn said, “That quickly, within seconds it just cuts right through that.”
It’s equipment Freeborn expects to use often.
KCFD responds to anywhere from 100 to 200 critical crashes a year.
“To put that into perspective, just about every other day Kern county firefighters are having to extricate people from crashed vehicles,” Freeborn explained.
The grant from the office of traffic and safety amounts to more than $84,000 to cover the cost of the new equipment and the training to use it.
“For me it’s automatic, I would absolutely approve this," District 3 supervisor Jeff Flores said. "Anything that advances public safety and saves lives and uses state money to do it, it’s a triple win.”
In a unanimous vote, the Kern county board of supervisors approved the use of the grant by the fire department to facilitate faster rescues.
“Time is of the essence. Minutes and seconds matter, and this equipment will do that along with the heroes in our fire department,” Flores said.
The new equipment will go to station 71 in Lake Isabella and station 76 in Kernville where the fire department often responds to off road crashes.
“Not only are we getting these rescue tools into stations that traditionally did not have the equipment before, the equipment that they’re getting is the newest and latest and greatest,” Freeborn emphasized.
The fire department has ordered the new jaws of life equipment but they don’t have an arrival date as of this time.
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