WALLINGFORD – The Wallingford Fire Department received its first battery-powered Jaws of Life as a gift from Nucor Steel’s Wallingford mill this week.
Fire Department Lt. William Massey said the gift “speaks volumes about what a great company they are.”
Prior to receiving the Hurst Jaws of Life SC 757E2 Combi Tool, the department relied on a tool that requires a generator and cables, which limits how far the tool can be brought from the ladder truck it is stowed on.
Massey said having the portable tool, which cost $14,000, will allow firefighters to respond more efficiently to a greater variety of calls, such as workplace accidents. The tool can be used to spread open metal with nearly 300,000 lbs. of force or close down on bolts to cut doors off hinges entirely.
The department has wanted to obtain a battery-powered tool for several years, Massey said, after it took the department 10 to 12 minutes to free a woman from her vehicle after an accident. While she did not suffer serious injuries, he said every minute is critical in cases with life-threatening injuries.
The cable-attached tool is kept on the department’s large ladder truck, which covers the entire town and has difficultly navigating backed up highway traffic.
Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Czentnar said the new Jaws of Life will be kept on Engine 1, which includes Interstate 91 in its 20-mile coverage area.
Nucor’s Wallingford mill raised the money for the tool through its yearly Nucor Steel Connecticut Charity Golf Tournament.
In total, the September golf tournament raised $39,500 to distribute among the groups, Guyette said. Nucor Human Resources Manager Tracy Guyette said the company is “giving back to them what they gave to the community.”
“It’s important for us to give back to the community where we live and work,” said David Garner, a safety supervisor at Nucor. “I’m just glad we were able to help them.”