Photo shows how much room these tools open up the front section. The firefighters are laughing because they just started the car.

HHFD Conducts “Jaws of Life” Training

Training under freezing temperatures on Saturday afternoon, February 17, 2007, the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department conducted rescue and “Jaws of Life” training at the DPW yard near the airport. Two donated vehicles were used in the exercise that practiced the basic techniques that are regularly used by the Department.

The hands-on exercise began with a training overview and review of safety procedures.
During the first drill, the vehicle was driven deep into a snow bank and the rescue truck winch pulled out the vehicle.

Each car was stabilized, each door was removed, glass was removed, the roof was removed, the car’s frame was broken and spread -- as to extricate a victim whose legs were trapped under the dashboard. Additionally, the Department practiced opening trunks and hoods.

Training emphasized the safety and treatment of victims during rescue operations. Also discussed were the hazards of: un-deployed air bags, seat belts, hybrid electric cars, etc.
The immediate solutions for ruptured gas tanks was to apply absorbent material for small spills, and apply a layer of foam for larger spills.

Senior Department members were able to share, with the newer members, many practical rescue techniques and tips that they had learned from their experiences.
Transportation and disposition of the vehicles was donated by Lenox Towing.
Because of proximity of Route 80, 17 and 46, Hasbrouck Heights is the second busiest town in Bergen County for extrications. The first set of “Jaws of Life” tools were donated to the HHFD by several service organizations about 30 years ago. The replacement set was purchased by the Borough of Teterboro in 1993. The HHFD welcomes tax-deductible vehicle donations for future exercises.

About “Jaws of Life”
During emergencies, when a few wasted seconds can cost lives, the “Jaws of Life” are brought in to pry open accident vehicles and allow rescue workers to remove trapped victims from the wreckage. We often read about rescues that used the “Jaws of Life.” What is it? How does it work?

“Jaws of Life” is not a “tool” -- but refers to several types of piston-rod hydraulic tools known as cutters, spreaders and rams, which are used by trained rescuers working as a team.
The spreader is used to pull pieces of the structure apart, or it can be inserted into the side of the vehicle to tear a section out. The cutter is used to cut through the vehicle like a pair of giant bolt cutters. Some “Jaws of Life” equipment combines the cutter and spreader into one machine.

The ram’s function is to push apart sections of the car (or other structure). For instance, a rescue worker can place a ram on the door frame and extend the piston to push the dashboard up, creating enough space to free a crash victim.

A typical “Jaws of Life” machine uses about 1 quart of hydraulic fluid. A portable engine pumps pressurized hydraulic fluid into the piston cylinder through one of two hose ports. An operator switch controls which port the fluid enters through. If it enters one port, the fluid forces the rod up and opens the arms of the spreader or blades of the cutter. The operator can then toggle the switch and cause the rod to retract, closing the arms or blades.

The “Jaws of Life” is actually a brand of tools that is trademarked by the Hurst Jaws of Life Company, but the name is often used when talking about other brands of rescue systems.
The HHFD operates two Hurst hydraulic generators, one gas powered and one electrically powered by the rescue truck. The gas powered generator is portable, while the electric generator is mounted in the rescue truck.

Both generators pump hydraulic fluid through hoses which allow the tools to open and close.
The electric Hurst pump is connected to a hose reel inside the rescue truck, while the gas generator relies on separate hydraulic hoses that need to be connected at the time of the emergency. Both generators are able to operate multiple tools simultaneously. ###

Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department un-Official web-site

Thank you for visiting our hometown.  Come back soon!
[The Gazette Newspaper] [Contact Webmaster] [Policy Statement] [Advertising information]  
©Copyright 1998-2008. All rights reserved.
All photographs used in this web-site are copyrighted and property of the photographer.
Photographs used herein are on loan and are not public domain 
Site created and maintained by
The Iron Horse Advertising & Marketing Co. Inc.
in collaboration with SAK Information Systems, LLC

The Gazette Newspaper Movies Stuff