Extrication tool is on its way to Bear Creek
Enough funding to purchase a modern extrication cutter tool has been raised by Bear Creek Fire Service Area (BCFSA). The main fundraising event, a dinner cruise aboard Major Marine Tour’s M/V Star of the Northwest on May 25, netted most of the funds. $8,500 was raised with ticket sales and another $2,000 with an auction, plus another $1,000 donated during the cruise or dropped off at the department.
The the department is purchasing works to cut apart crashed vehicles and help get people, who are trapped by an accident, out of the vehicles. The department needed to upgrade their out-of-date tool so that they are more efficent with newer model vehicles. Because the new cutter has 265,000 pounds more cutting power than the old one, the time to extract a victim from an accident will be much shorter.
The new cutter also is more portable and has the ability to operate without being tethered to a power plant on a department vehicle. It runs with either battery power or from a 120-volt electrical outlet.
The cutter’s cost is right at $12,000. However, the dealer offered BCFSA a discount and included shipping, bringing the cost to $10,720. The cutter is expected to arrive by the end of the month, according to Fire Chief Mark Beals.
Seward and Moose Pass will see the benefits of the new equipment, too. The departments share their skills and equipment in emergencies.
The department is considering using the remainder of the raised funds for training on the cutter. The cost of the training is about $5,000, plus $1,000-$2,000 for about 20 vehicles to practice on.
The cutter is one component of a set of three extrications tools. The other two are a jaws device and a ram. The department has the two tools, though they are quite old, said Beals.
In conjunction with other emergency services in the area, BCFSA is applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the jaws and ram components of the tool set.
Coming up for emergency service groups is a cruise to raise funds for the Phoenix Chapter of the Alaska State Firefighters (Seward, Moose Pass and Bear Creek). The cruise is set for Aug. 25 aboard one of Major Marine Tours boats.
To get involved with local volunteer emergency services contact in Bear Creek 224-3345, in Seward 224-3445 or 224-3987 and in Moose Pass 491-5776.