New ‘Jaws of Life’ replacing ones bought 47-years-ago for Benton Charter Fire

Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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BENTON CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNDU) - 16 News Now got a first look at some of the newest equipment at the Benton Charter Township Fire Department.

It’s coming at the right time too. The department’s new cutter and spreader tools are replacing to jaws of life they purchased nearly a half-century ago.

This is the new cutter the Benton Charter Township Fire Department will use to rescue people who are trapped in their cars after an accident.

Combined with a new spreader, these tools are a big upgrade from this 47-year-old set of jaws.

“It’s been a reliable piece of equipment, but with the age, it’s breaking, we can’t get parts to repair it, and with the new equipment, it’s much faster,” said Benton Charter Township Fire Chief Rob Harper.

The extra speed could make the difference between life and death in this line of work.

“A thing in EMS called the golden hour. You have someone who has a traumatic injury. They would like to be in an OR suit within that hour to save their life. And with this new equipment, it helps us meet that golden hour,” Harper said.

The new tools are also battery powered keeping any cords from restricting their movement.

The old jaws had to stay attached to hydraulic power so it could only move so far from the truck.

A majority of the cost was covered by a $15,000 grant from AAA, but local supporters like Starks Family Funeral Home, Zielke Towing, and Honor Credit Union stepped up to pay for the rest of this life-saving investment.

“With the construction on the highway here, our call volume just soared. Over the (July) 4th weekend, I think we had 8-10 vehicle accidents,” Harper said.

The department also uses jaws of life for plane and train emergencies. These new tools will be able to manage those jobs and work through stronger materials that developed throughout the past five decades.

Because when it comes to saving a life, time is of the essence.

Harper also said it was easy to tell the difference between the two sets, having used the old ones just a day before the new ones came in to replace them.

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