Darien Fire Department purchases innovative new “Jaws of Life” tools with grant from The Darien Foundation

Darien, Conn. — The Darien Fire Department (DFD) has purchased a new, state-of-the-art set of “Jaws of Life” tools thanks to a grant from The Darien Foundation, supplying it with cutting-edge technology to respond to serious car accidents and other emergencies.

The department received a $100,553 grant to purchase a full set of Holmatro cutting tools, which emergency responders use to dismantle a car or other heavy machinery to access and remove injured individuals.

One of three volunteer fire departments in Darien, members from DFD respond to approximately 650 emergency calls per year. The station is also responsible for a busy stretch of Interstate 95 between Exits 11 and 14, which requires a high volume of responses annually.

In submitting their request for a grant, the Darien Fire Department pointed out how serious accidents have become more common over the past two decades due to increased incidents of speeding and a greater number of tractor-trailers on the road.

“The number of major accidents we respond to on the I-95 corridor makes this equipment vital,” said Chief Brian Francefort of the Darien Fire Department. “Our firefighters will be able to access and extract accident victims more quickly, allowing for faster medical attention. The tools will also improve the safety and response of our DFD responders, who can operate more efficiently and spend less time exposed at an accident scene.”

The Holmatro Pentheon Series tools boast innovative technology designed around integrated hydraulic-pump technology. “Stepless speed maximization” allows rescuers to optimize motor, pressure, and speed settings, enabling the tools to dismantle all types of vehicles, including more recent reinforced crash-resistant models which have posed a challenge to older extraction tools. The Holmatro tools even work underwater.

The new tools are battery-operated, mounted to the fire engine, and kept continuously charged. In the event of a power failure, the tools can still be operated via a direct line to the truck’s internal generator.

The new Jaws of Life replace an aging, twenty plus-year-old set of gas generator-powered tools, which were cumbersome to operate. Firefighters needed to connect portable or truck-mounted gas generators to the equipment using long hydraulic hoses. By eliminating the noisy generators and hydraulic hoses, firefighters on scene can communicate and operate more efficiently. There is also considerably less maintenance required for the new Holmatro tools.

“One of our mission goals is to stay ahead of the technology curve in order to best serve our community,” said Dan Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Darien Fire Department. “We’re certain that this cutting-edge equipment will have a meaningful impact for years to come.”

The DFD needed two new sets of these lifesaving mounted rescue tools. One set of tools was included as part of the Town of Darien’s replacement of the station’s Rescue 44 vehicle. The Darien Foundation grant allows the department to replace the set on Engine 41 at the same time, giving firefighters the ability to dismantle both sides of a car at once and reduce extrication time by more than 50 percent as well as handle multiple accident scenes at once if the need arises.

Additional benefits provided by the newer technology include the ability to dismantle all types of vehicles, including electric models; greater space savings on fire apparatus, since generators and hydraulic hoses will no longer need to be stored; and the ability to use the equipment at a wider range of emergency scenes, including storm-damaged homes and underwater.

“The Darien Foundation has long supported all three of our volunteer firehouses with grants,” said Sarah Woodberry, Executive Director of The Darien Foundation. “We’re proud to fund technology that improves the working conditions for the men and women of the DFD, and we’re happy to come in alongside the Town on this important initiative.”

The Darien Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, has provided $431,500 in grants this year and nearly $6 million in total grants that benefit the community of Darien.

For photos of the new equipment, click here.

Submitted by Darien, CT

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