Vernon firefighters will soon be better equipped when rescuing people from vehicles or buildings, thanks to a donation of more than $12,500 from the Vernon Four Seasons Kiwanis Club.
“We are very happy to support the local fire department,” said club president Tom Watkinson. “We are providing a donation of $12,554.55 to purchase a piece of equipment that will complement the Jaws of Life”
The donation to Vernon Fire Rescue Services is going towards a multi-use extrication tool referred to as a combi tool, which is used to cut and spread apart metal on a vehicle or building in a rescue situation.
“The department is very grateful to the Kiwanis Club for this donation,” said Fire Chief David Lind. “City Council has invested heavily in improving fire services equipment over the last few years, and this is just going to add to the tools in the tool box.”
This year council budgeted $50,000 to replace aging vehicle extrication equipment, but the combi tool was too pricey to fit under that budget.
“The Kiwanis Club was looking for areas to serve the community and provide support, and when they heard about the benefit the combi tool could offer, they decided to make a donation,” said Chief Lind.
The previous equipment was up to 35 years old, and Lind said the new equipment will serve the community for many years to come.
“Vernon Fire Rescue Services appreciates the work that all our not-for-profit organizations and service clubs do in the Greater Vernon area every day. These are our community members making a difference.”
Auto extrication equipment is carried on multiple fire trucks to provide city-wide coverage. “In winter, if roads are icy and driving conditions get bad, we may need to respond to multiple vehicle crashes back to back and need equipment in multiple places at once,” Lind said.
The city’s old equipment relied on a gas-powered plant and hydraulic lines, limiting its operation range and requiring multiple people to move it around.
The new tools have the hydraulics built into them and are powered by a battery power pack, providing more versatility and allowing firefighters to take the tools into buildings and other restricted areas.