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Posted on: June 9, 2021

New Technology Improves Life Safety in DeFuniak Springs

Large scissor-like cutter being used by a firefighter to cut a door off a car

DeFuniak Springs firefighters are now utilizing the latest in life safety technology to improve the level of care brought to citizens and visitors. The new vehicle extrication tools, commonly referred to as the “Jaws of Life,” were placed on City fire engines on Friday June 4th. Crews immediately began familiarizing themselves with this new battery-operated technology, cutting up wrecked vehicles graciously donated by Cobbs and All-Pro Towing. 

“All we have to do is grab the tools from the fire engine and we can get straight to work,” says DeFuniak Springs Fire Chief Ross Sheffield.  “The equipment we’ve just replaced is close to 20 years old, is gasoline powered, was extremely heavy, and required extensive set up before beginning to remove an injured patient trapped in a vehicle,” says Chief Sheffield. 

These new life-saving tools are battery operated and are capable of completely disassembling an entire vehicle before a battery needs to be changed. The new tools come ready to work with no costly time spent setting up and can be employed by a single firefighter. With the battery-operated tools, multiple rescuers can be operating simultaneously without having to change machines, hoses or refueling of any gas-powered units. These tools will allow for quicker patient access, and quicker transport to local hospitals for the injured. 

The new battery-operated equipment made by TNT and purchased by the City through Coastal Rescue Solutions, includes a cutting tool for slicing through metal, a spreader tool that separates metal with ease, and a hydraulic ram which can push a dashboard away from trapped victims. Also included with the set is a multi-tool that combines a cutter and spreader into one device, enabling a firefighter to spread and then cut without having to change tools or rescuers.

The City of DeFuniak Springs Fire Department plans to participate in additional training events with neighboring volunteer Fire Departments, to improve efficiency, proficiency, and familiarization with not only the tools, but different vehicle types that firefighters encounter on our roadways. This investment in our community has the potential to save lives as they are employed by the professional firemen who protect Walton County. 

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