Southwick Fire applying for jaws of life grant

SOUTHWICK – During Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting, the Southwick Fire Chief was given approval by the board to apply for a Jaws of Life grant for the department.

Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson. (WNG File Photo)

Administered by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), Anderson is applying for a $38,000 grant for a piece of equipment known as the Jaws of Life. Having a motor on one end with hydraulic arms, a spreader and a cutter the Jaws of Life equipment helps extricate people or objects from cars during motor vehicle accidents.

After the fire department did a recent assessment of their equipment to find out what needed to be upgraded, it was decided that a new Jaws of Life would be beneficial, since the current one is about 30 years old. Anderson also pointed out that the current piece of equipment runs on hydraulics, while the new one would be battery operated and would have more remote capabilities allowing use in more diverse situations and scenarios.

According to Anderson, the grant from FEMA closes next week yet he doesn’t expect to hear back on whether Southwick receives the $38,000 of funding until the spring of 2019.

Nevertheless, Anderson knows that an improvement on their Jaws of Life tool is necessary.

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