Fire departments seek new ‘Jaws of Life’

When the Navarre Beach Fire Department tried to demonstrate its emergency equipment to extricate passengers pinned in wrecked cars a couple of years ago, their so-called “Jaws of Life” failed.

The department’s set of hydraulically powered steel blades and spreaders couldn’t cut through the body of a late-model car to show how first responders rescue accident victims.

“It was embarrassing,” said Fire Chief Mike Howard, who estimated the age of his tools at about 20 years.

Obsolete car rescue devices increasingly plague fire departments around the nation and although most in Santa Rosa County stations have been replaced in the last decade or so, the Navarre Beach and Gulf Breeze units are still waiting for funding in the range of $25,000 to $35,000 needed to upgrade.

For more on this story, read the Sept. 17 issue of Navarre Press.  Click HERE to subscribe.


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