Recently, firefighters from both Gordon County Fire/Rescue and Calhoun Fire Department had the opportunity to practice their extrication techniques with some new technology.
Despite the extreme August heat, firefighters gathered in the holding yard of Parrish Wrecker Service and were introduced to the Hurst Jaws of Life®; however, this wasn’t the first time some of our firefighters have seen or used the Hurst brand of extrication tools. “Some of the veteran firefighters have seen and used the Hurst tools before, but those tools were hydraulic, meaning those tools required a motor driven pump and hydraulic hoses connecting it to the tools,” said Deputy Chief Byron Sutton.
Nathan Saylors, Division Chief of Training for Gordon County Fire/Rescue, coordinated with Mr. Jarrett Jenkins of Municipal Emergency Services to bring demo tools to Gordon County for evaluation by our firefighters. Firefighters from both the county and city fire departments tested the tools performance in the real environment of strategically taking the metals and plastics of today’s automobiles from around trapped occupants. “In the fire service, firefighters define this task as vehicle extrication,” said Chief Saylors.
Chief Sutton said, “Today, the guys got their hands on the latest technology; battery powered rescue tools. I had the opportunity to drop by for a few minutes and watch the guys in action with the tools. I must say I was impressed by the speed and the power of the tools. I have seen battery powered extrication tools in the past, but they didn’t impress me very much. They just didn’t seem to have the power and the speed of our hydraulic tools, but we all know technology changes every day, and these tools seemed to be just as fast, if not faster than the hydraulic tools we currently carry on our rigs.
It’s not clear yet if either Calhoun or Gordon County’s fire department will invest in the tools. “There are other brands of extrication tools out there, we normally evaluate multiple brands of most everything we use in the fire service, especially when it is a significant purchase,” Chief Sutton said. “We want to make sure the equipment satisfies the needs of our departments, and that we are spending our citizen’s tax dollars as wisely as we can. It’s not about pretty; it’s about performance and dependability.” “Exactly!” said Chief Saylors “we (county fire) recently ordered new fire engines with the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds allocated to us. We have to outfit those apparatus with tools, thus the reason we are evaluating this new technology here this week.”
“On behalf of both Chief Cox [training chief for Calhoun Fire] and myself, I’d like to thank Jarrett (MES) for hanging with us for three days and giving our guys the opportunity to give the Hurst tools a workout. I think most all of us were very impressed with their performance. We would also like to thank Parrish Wrecker Service for donating 13 automobiles and to P&R Auto Sales of Calhoun for donating 5 automobiles, towed by Parrish Wrecker, for our use during this training.