fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Jacksonville Fire Department gets extraction device

A battery-powered vehicle accident extraction tool that is light enough to be handled by one person has been added to the Jacksonville Fire Department’s arsenal.

A $9,894 grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation paid for the acquisition.

“The nice thing about this is one person can go over a bank if a car went over the side of a hill. One person can carry it down there,” said Jacksonville interim fire Chief Wayne Painter. The old equipment would have needed three people to respond: one with the extraction tool, one with hydraulic lines and a third with a power source.

When victims are tapped in wrecks, the tool can be used as both a cutter and a spreader. Doors can be opened and roofs peeled back. It can also cut body panels and pillars that support the roof.

“It’s more of a rapid response. For the other you have to get all the other equipment out,” said Painter. Department engines roll with just two firefighters. Under mutual aid agreements, the department will respond to emergencies outside city limits, including in the Applegate and unincorporated areas surrounding the town.

In the two years Firehouse Subs has been open locally, $100,000 in grants have been awarded through the company’s foundation to five area departments for life-saving equipment, said Richard Summers, franchise co-owner. A celebration of the acquisition was held Saturday at the restaurant in Medford Center.

Rescue equipment manufacturer Holmatro’s EVO 3 Cordless Extractor weighs 30 pounds and measures 27-by-11-by-8 inches. It has a maximum spreading torque of 102,738 foot-pounds and a theoretical cutting force of 60,249 foot-pounds.

A spare battery will be carried to ensure the unit can keep operating for extended periods, although a single charge should handle most emergencies, Painter said.

“This one is so much lighter. It’s one tool to get over the bank. You can use this to pop a door to get it open,” said Painter. With the advances in vehicle technology, the department stays on top with annual or more frequent training to deal with things like airbags and electric cars.

“You have to know where to cut and where not to cut. We don’t want to cut into one of the (electrical) circuits. It would kill someone,” said Painter. “They have guides where all the airbags are. You don’t want to cut into an airbag either. They can explode.”

The old extractor was used only a few times a year, but with the simplicity and one-person operation, the new unit may see more service, said Painter. Besides vehicle accidents, the extractor could be used to open stubborn doors on houses or buildings in the event of a fire or other emergency.

In-store efforts to increase foundation funding have been very successful, said Summers. That includes asking customers whether they want to round purchases up to the dollar to donate, and having donations jars at the cash registers.

“We also sell pickle buckets. Instead of throwing them away, we sell them and use the money for the grants through the public safety foundation,” said Summers. The plastic pickle containers go for $2.

“We want to encourage the smaller first responders that don’t have a lot money. They may have a lot of volunteers,” said Summers. While districts can complete the grant application process themselves, the local shop offers to help with the process.

Firehouse Subs founders established the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2005 with the mission of providing funding, lifesaving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. It has granted more than $44 million to first responders in 49 states and Puerto Rico, including more than $345,000 in Oregon.

The foundation is the beneficiary of a charitable sales promotion where Firehouse of America will donate a sum equivalent to 0.11 percent of all gross sales, with a minimum donation of $1 million, through December. More information is available at FirehouseSubsFoundation.org.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

File photo Fire Cpt. Brian Barrett (left) and firefighter Josh Bowden wash a fire engine from the middle bay of the Jacksonville Fire Station.