The latest addition to the Fort St. James Fire Department will help save lives on local roads.
New road rescue extrication cutters, commonly known as the ‘jaws of life,’ were recently purchased by the department after receiving a $10,000 donation by TC Energy and the Coastal GasLink project.
“The last pair we had were purchased in 2007, and they were not designed for the current metals and alloys that are on the roads today,” said fire chief Ryan McVey.
“We were finding while they still worked, the completion time of the extrication was prolonged due to the amount of time it took.”
The new cutters have a much stronger cutting force which will speed up extrication in serious situations when every second could mean the difference between life or death.
McVey said they had been on his wish list since he became fire chief last November.
The old cutters for which the department has an extra set of blades will remain on their rescue truck that is specifically designed for road rescue extrication as a backup.
Because the truck has two different power units both sets of cutters can be used at the same time.
At least 15 volunteer members will be trying out the new rescue tool in the coming days to familiarize themselves with it.
“I think the willingness of TC Energy and Coastal GasLink to step up and help the communities they’re working in was outstanding and it probably wouldn’t have been done for a couple of years, in my opinion, so without them we wouldn’t have got these,” McVey added.