County fire stations gear up with better jaws of life

10/09/2019

A new grant will allow firefighters to remove passengers from damaged vehicles quicker, more easily and with less risk. The $80,000 grant from the state will help purchase five new hydraulic extrication devices that weigh half as much and cut more quickly than the old devices they will replace. The rescue tools are designed with more grip points and protection from electric shock. “This allows us to rescue victims faster, which ultimately increases their chances of survival,” said Bret McTigue, a battalion chief for the Marin County Fire Department. “In many cases, even minutes without treatment can be a matter of life and death.” The fire department has responded to 201 crashes so far this year; of those, 28 required extrication. The devices, known as the “jaws of life,” will be kept on first-out engines in the Throckmorton, Point Reyes Station, Tomales stations and at the headquarters in Woodacre, where two will be kept. The department is paying for half of the total cost of the devices: $190,000.