By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Oxford Fire Department will soon receive $19,975 for a new eDraulic cutter and spreader – better known as the Jaws of Life.
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is making the grant. The Foundation is funded by Firehouse Subs, which has more than 400 restaurants, including one in Oxford.
“It’s absolutely perfect timing,” said Chief Mike Hill of Oxford Fire Department. “We got a call last week after we’d sent off the rescue tools from Engine 1 for repair, and they weren’t repairable.”
The new battery-powered eDraulic cutter and spreader will offer advantages over the gasoline-powered equipment it replaces.
“With the battery-operated unit … it’s a lot more convenient and a lot cleaner,” Hill said. “You can even carry it out in the woods if there’s a plane crash.”
While the most frequent use of the spreader-and-cutter duo is to extricate people from smashed vehicles, the equipment also can be used in collapsed buildings as well as less dramatic rescues.
“We’ve used them when kids got their heads caught between two bars in a fence,” Hill said.
Firehouse Subs has granted more than $2 million through its foundation for ATVs with rescue capabilities, automated external defibrillators, air masks and other fire, police and rescue equipment.
“This Firehouse Subs grant couldn’t be at a better time,” he said. “[Federal] money’s a lot tighter than it was five or six years ago.”
Mayor Pat Patterson said the no-match grant was especially welcome.
“We want to thank the people at Firehouse Subs,” he said.