North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue welcomes new Jaws of Life

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- The North Myrtle Beach Fire Department welcomes new extrication equipment replacing a similar set after more than 20 years.

Chief of North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue, Tom Barstow, says the new equipment could be the difference between life and death.

"They're our "combi" [combination] tools. [Jaws of Life] are built to do spreading and cutting. [Jaws of Life] can cut up to 120,000 pounds and spread up to 50,000 pounds," 

Brian Dushanko explained.

Dushanko is a firefighter and paramedic with the department. 

But if you need something more heavy duty, Dushanko suggests another new tool.

"If we need to spread something, like a door off of a vehicle or a dashboard off of an entrapped person, we can use our spreaders."

All fired up, the spreader tool can cut a piece of metal like scissors would cut paper.

The next tool, what Dushanko called a ram, is used to physically push a dashboard and metal off of a person.

"Both of these rams can push 29,000 pounds in their first stage and they can push over 14,000 pounds in their second stage."

The power source are pumps. These pumps supply power to the tools, and for the first time, they can run more than one tool at the same time. 

"We also have a portable pump that's inside the vehicle that we can pick up and take with us down embankments, different boat accidents, or moving around to different sections of the highway in case we don't have enough reach with our hose reels," Dushanko explained.

Barstow explained the pumps have to generate enough pressure to power the tools. The tools run off of hydraulic fluid. 

"These tools give us the capabilities to be able to cut the new steels and allows in vehicles more efficiently and faster."

While running through each tool, Barstow realized the new equipment will also free up another set of life, saving hands, because there will no longer be the need for someone to stand at the truck and man the pump between tool switches. 

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