Tehama County Receives Grant to Purchase Jaws of Life

OTS Grant Will Buy Essential Safety Equipment

Tehama County Fire Department recently issued a press release reporting that it received a $60,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), which operates under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The money will be used to purchase new emergency extrication equipment commonly referred to as the Jaws of Life. These specialized tools are most often used by first responders to extricate and rescue people who are trapped inside a vehicle after a crash.

What are the Jaws of Life?

“Jaws of Life” is a term used to describe several kinds of hydraulic tools, such as spreaders, cutters, and rams, that are used to pry apart vehicles that have been damaged in crashes and contained trapped occupants. In such emergencies, seconds matter, and these devices help to free accident victims as quickly as possible. They are also used to reach people trapped by collapsed structures following earthquakes. 

  • Spreaders. As the name suggests, the spreader is used to pull apart pieces of the confining structure. It has pincer-like parts made for tearing into a vehicle or other metal structure. The arms of the spreader are opened hydraulically, with the operator in control of a valve switch that opens and closes them. With the spreader arms closed, the operator may insert the equipment into a small opening, such as a door jam, then open the arms. This piece of equipment can also be used as a clamp to crush material.
  • Cutters. The cutter is like a huge, powerful pair of bolt cutters. They are quite similar in operation to a spreader. Some Jaws of Life apparatus combine the spreader and the cutter.
  • Rams. The ram is the most basic of the three in terms of its hydraulic system, which is simply used to extend and retract a piston rod within a cylinder. Its function is to push apart areas of the car or other structures. A ram is often used to push out a dashboard that has collapsed in order to free the vehicle occupant.

Watch the YouTube video. The clip below shows a car door removal using the Jaws of Life.

An Important Grant for Tehama County

Cal Fire’s Battalion Chief recognized that the purchase of this important equipment, which greatly reduces the time it takes to reach a person who needs immediate critical medical attention, would not have been possible without the funding from the OTS grant. 

Use of the Jaws of Life helps first responders abide by the core principle of the “golden hour” that exists within the emergency medical community. That principle recognizes that a matter of minutes can make the difference between life and death for a person with traumatic injuries, and reducing the time it takes to get the patient transported to the hospital for treatment helps increase their chance of survival. 

Red Bluff Personal Injury Attorneys

Hello, and thanks for visiting our legal blog. I’m Ed Smith, a Red Bluff personal injury lawyer, and the founder of AutoAccident.com. Unfortunately, the need for extrication equipment is a reality in Northern California. Many injury accidents happen every day on our highways and streets. For decades, the experienced injury attorneys at our firm have been advocates for those hurt in Red Bluff and surrounding cities. If you or someone in your family has suffered injuries in an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, call us for compassionate, free, and friendly case advice at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400.

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Photo: Nejc Soklic via Unsplash

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