Local Emergency Workers Test Multiple Brands & Models
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Emergency Management is close to purchasing all-new, revolutionary JAWS-type extrication equipment that is expected to exceed to $25,000, thank to a grant secured by local EM Director Pat Prunty.
The new equipment will be much lighter, battery powered, versus the bulky hydraulic and gas-powered used now, and will allow capability to be operated by one person, instead of two or three.
County emergency crews have been in the process of field testing several brands of the new equipment in a series of mock situations. So far, crews and Prunty have been quite impressed with what they've seen.
"I was really skeptical when I heard this new equipment was battery powered, but wow," said Prunty. "I'm telling you there is NO decrease in power whatsoever."
Prunty said that local crews have put several brands and models through intense tests and say the advantages will be tremendous in comparison with the equipment used now.
"We've actually tried to get some of this equipment to fail and what we've seen so far has cut through everything," said Prunty. "Right now, we're using a gas powered generator that powers our unit. Then you have all these hoses someone has to lug around, then you have the actual tool itself that weighs over 50lbs. Our new equipment will weigh anywhere from 40-50lbs and one person would be able to use it by himself if needed."
Prunty said current equipment is limited because of the footprint made by all the pieces. It can be very difficult to get their current setup to a vehicle that's crashed off-road, in a ravine, or in a wooded area. The new equipment would be similar in size to a large chainsaw.
Emergency Management plans on making the purchase sometime in January so the equipment can be ready to go in February or March of 2018. The county has secured $22,600 in grant money and expects to have to pay an extra $5k or so to obtain a full set of equipment that includes both cutting and spreading tools. Prunty said from what they've tested, all these brands and models can cut easily cut through a crashed car quickly, something that sometimes means life or death.
"We wish we never needed this type of equipment, but it saves lives. It's a great opportunity for our county," Prunty added.