Saugatuck Township Fire Department Raising Funds To Buy New Extraction Equipment
With a sharp increase in the number of car accidents the last three years, the local fire department wants to avail itself of the latest technology to rescue people, namely the extraction equipment that rescue crews use to cut through metal to get people out of vehicles after an accident.
In her Monday’s meeting report, Saugatuck City Council Member Jane Verplank, also chair of the Saugatuck Township Fire District, announced the fire department has launched a campaign to raise funds for new Jaws of Life equipment.
The increase in car crashes has increased the demand on the fire department, and firefighters and department representatives are making a call to the public for support, asking it to donate to the cause, estimated at $21,000.
Specifically, the district wants to get hydraulic battery-powered rescue tools—cutters, spreaders and combi tools— because they are quicker to deploy into effective action than the current pneumatic tools the fire department has.
“They are known as edraulics; they are not engine-driven and require no hoses so they are quicker to put into service.
They can also handle exotics, such as high-strength steel, Saugatuck Fire Chief Greg Janik told The Local Observer Tuesday afternoon.
Another great advantage of the new technology is that it is not loud like the power unit equipment. “(That loudness) creates another layer of anxiety for the patient. With the battery-operated tool, we don’t have that,” said Janik.
After tweaking their 2016-17 fiscal year budget as much they could without compromising for essential items, the fire department managed to pull together $9,300 to get an edralic cutter, but officials say they need another $21,000 to complete the equipment.
“We have been hosting extraction demos and plan on doing more,” said Verplank Monday about part of the fire department’s fundraising strategy.
So far the demos have taken place at Music in the Park events in Wicks Park downtown Saugatuck, and another is planned for Saugatuck’s Sidewalk Sale on August 18.
The public has donated $2,000 at this point and a pledge of $1,000 is also pending, say fire department officials.
“Motor vehicle accidents have skyrocketed by 65 percent in the last three years. The main reason is distracted driving—texting, electronic devices, iPods, small computers,” said Janik.
“I would much rather buy them now rather than wait three, four years down the road,” he said.