Ocean Township’s Wanamassa Fire District 2 has received a $67,938 grant through the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a new set of hydraulic rescue tools to help extricate victims of serious car crashes, commonly called the “Jaws of Life.”
“The grant will be used by the fire district to purchase what is among the most important tools that first responders bring to motor vehicle accidents and entrapments,” said Rep. Christopher Smith, who represents Ocean Township. “The grant covers roughly 95 percent of the cost to replace the department’s very outdated Jaws of Life, which they’ve had in operation since the 1970s.”
Originally designed for car-racing applications, the Jaws of Life was first commercially available in 1971 and the Wanamassa fire department bought their unit in 1978. And the fire department can definitely use the upgraded Jaws of Life with the old equipment becoming obsolete.
“They are ready to be retired and belong in a museum, not on our rescue truck,” Fire Commissioner Earl Gifford said.
The money is through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. A long-time member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Smith helped create the AFG grant program in 2000 with the aim of meeting the firefighting and emergency response needs of ?re departments and EMS organizations across the country.
Since 2001, about $7.1 billion in grant money has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from ?re and related hazards.