February 20, 2019

Greenwood Fire dept. gets what it wished for and more


LEWISTON — The Grayling Volunteer Fire Department has gained two jaws of life tools within a month of each other.

Fire Chief Mike Dunsmore said this is something the fire department had been attempting to acquire for roughly a year after applying for a grant through AAA of Michigan.

“We’ve been praying this would go through,” Dunsmore said. “Not only did we receive a grant for the jaws of life, but we also heard from Mike Evans, who works with Metro Detroit, who said he had a pair he didn’t need anymore. He said ‘We know you’re rural, do you want them?’ … we went from what the heck do we do with none, to what the heck do we do with two!”

Dunsmore said the department received the grant they applied for, which was worth roughly 16,000 dollars. It was the 80th grant for a jaws of life tool that AAA had given to a safety department in the state. The grant fully paid for a state-of-the-art battery operated set of jaws. Dunsmore said the new jaws are the same ones used on Nascar vehicles.

The other set the department received is hydraulic, and Dunsmore said while it is heavier and a bit more cumbersome to use, it is still a boon. Dunsmore said the fire crew is ecstatic to have their new tools.

“When we got out there to use them it was like being 15 again,” Dunsmore said. “We were like kids, it was such a sigh of relief to be able to say we can get doing something we should have been able to do the whole time.”

Dunsmore said one of the most important things that came with the new equipment, is a drastically reduced response time. He said the first responders operate under something known as the Golden Hour rule. That means once a team is on the scene, the first hour is when first responders have the most viable chance of saving somebody's life. He said once that first hour is complete, the success rate drops drastically.

“If we got called out to an accident, by the time we get to the scene it’s about 10-14 minutes,” Dunsmore said. “Once we see it’s really bad, we would make the call to Mio to get the Jaws, that’s another 7-15 minutes to get a crew and another 20-30 minutes for them to get here. Now we can get to work almost immediately.”

Dunsmore said now that the Greenwood department has access to these tools, other area departments will benefit as well. They have a mutual aid agreement in the area, and if any department calls them out, they’re able to take all of their equipment out to the scene to assist. He said now Oscoda has 3 jaws of life tools at it’s disposal if something goes wrong.

Dunsmore said his team is already practicing with it’s new equipment, and is ready to put them to use in the field if the need arises.


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