By Sterling McGinn

Through a generous donation from the Tahquamenon Area Senior Citizens organization and funds from the Newberry Fire Department budget, the department has a new set of extrication tools, more commonly known as the “jaws of life.”

Extrication equipment is essential to a fire department’s fleet and can cut through metal automobile doors and can lift and push heavy materials out of the way during a rescue.

The equipment was manufactured by Holmatro and is battery powered opposed to the old equipment, which was hydraulic powered and required hoses and a gas motor. “The equipment was limited in use because the hoses were attached to the truck,” said firefighter Bruce Klusmeyer. “The old equipment was over 20 years old.”

The new equipment set includes multiple tools including spreader, a combination spreader and cutter and a telescopic RAM with extension for V strut, which is used to spread heavy components.

The total cost for the equipment was approximately $60,000.

Klusmeyer said the old equipment will still be used in one of the trucks, meaning three rigs now have “jaws of life”.

A representative from Holmatro came to Newberry on Wednesday, October 18 to train firefighters and demonstrate the new equipment.

Members from Luce County EMS were also present for the training. Firefighters were able to test the equipment on two cars donated by Danny Troop from Troop’s Auto Crushing in Newberry.

During training, the department received an emergency call after a vehicle struck an electric pole. They used the jaws of life to cut into the vehicle to remove an occupant.