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City, county cooperate in Jaws purchase

Brookhaven and Lincoln County are about to become a littlesafer, thanks to the cooperation of the city, the county and theBrookhaven Fire Department.

The city currently runs two sets of Jaws of Life that coveremergencies both in the Brookhaven city limits and in LincolnCounty. But they’re starting to show their age a little, said BFDChief Tony Weeks.

“The main thing is the ones we have have some age on them, and weneed to update to some newer stuff to better handle any situation,”he said. “A lot of these new cars have new metal alloys in them andsome of the older cutters have trouble cutting throughthose.”

So Weeks did his research and brought a request before the board ofaldermen and the board of supervisors to split costs on a new setof Jaws that will serve the entire county. The updated lifesaverswill cost each budget $7,500, and will be figured in when the newbudget starts in October, he said.

“The city/county joint effort here on these new rescue toolsbenefits people all the way around in the city and the county,” hesaid. “God forbid anyone have a car wreck, but you never know whenit might be me, might be you – it could be anybody. It’s nice toknow we have some good upgraded equipment.”

And officials feel the same way.

“This was a fairly easy decision for the board of supervisors tomake, because you don’t want a citizen out there who needs to getout of the vehicle, and you can’t get them out because of anantiquated piece of equipment,” he said.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said the city and the county have always workedtogether well, and now it looks like that symbiosis will help savelives now.

“I think it’s another good example of the city and county workingtogether and that’s always to Lincoln County and Brookhaven’sbenefit,” he said. “That separates us from a lot of other countiesthat we don’t have a rivalry, we have a spirit oftogetherness.”

Weeks said the main perk of the new equipment is the speed withwhich it will make cuts, and in an emergency situation, timing iseverything.

“In the B post of some of these cars, they have boron magnesiumrods – it’s part of the beefing up the cars and getting themstronger and safer – but when you need to cut that with some oldcutters, you might need to get a second or third bite before itgets through. These will go first time,” he said. “That’s a bigfactor in getting people out of car wrecks is time. The quicker youare, better off the patient is.”

Bishop said that was something the board took into considerationwhen they voted in favor of the new equipment.

“Accidents will happen, and we’ve got to make sure they have theright equipment to make a difference,” he said. “If one of myfamily members needs out of a vehicle so they can live, I want tomake sure they get the best equipment they can. The board wascertainly on board to make that happen.”

Bumgarner agreed.

“Together we have a lot more buying power,” he said. “When they’recalled out they don’t ask if the people in the wreck are from thecity or the county or even out of state, they’re there to savelives and this definitely is a machine that will save lives.”