Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Emergency Management has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security for a $22,800 grant for the purpose of upgrading the county's emergency JAWS of Life equipment.
According to Emergency Management Director Pat Prunty, the current equipment setup is a complicated one, consisting of a generator, tools, and a host of hydraulic hoses and cables. Prunty said while the system has worked, it usually takes a minimum of two operators to safely use the JAWS and that there are several aspects of the system that can cause problems, and those are problems certainly unwelcomed when someone's life is on the line.
"The grant will allow the county to purchase a whole new setup that's much easier to use," said Prunty. "It will all be battery-powered that one person can grab and easily use."
The current system has to be stored in the county JAWS of Life truck, which is housed at the Kyrock FD. Prunty says the new system will contain a cutter, a spreader, and a ram. There will be no need for generators, cables, and hoses that are sometimes inefficient.
"Car accidents don't always happen on smooth, level ground," he said. "Emergency workers sometime have to lug our current equipment over hills, ditches, and through the woods. The new setup will allow someone to grab it from a truck and take off."
Prunty said he hopes everything will be finalized by December but that he's already reaching out to vendors and suppliers to seek the best options for the county.
The current set of JAWS actually belongs to the Lincoln Fire Department. They have loaned the current setup to Emergency Management for the past year. Before that, Kyrock Fire Department owned the setup that was used. The new equipment will belong to the Fiscal Court under the operation of Emergency Management.
"This is going to give us a huge advantage in emergency situations where someone has to be extracted from a vehicle," said Prunty. It's going to be much easier on our emergency crews, but the main thing is, it's going to help more people."