Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association President Damon Frutos displays the “Jaws of Life” recently acquired ... and put right into action.
The Cloverdale fire district recently acquired a new rescue tool for cutting into vehicles - and they deployed it almost immediately in a serious wreck on Highway 20.
Several months ago the Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District announced the acquisition and deployment of a hydraulic rescue tool, commonly called the "Jaws of Life." Since being placed in service, Cloverdale firefighters have employed this tool on two separate motor-vehicle collisions in which patients were trapped in their vehicles. Prior to this tool being acquired, firefighters in Cloverdale had to wait for the Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD, or another agency, to respond with equipment capable of freeing trapped occupants from their vehicles.
About six weeks ago Cloverdale Fire's tool developed a hydraulic leak. Due to the tool's age - almost 30 years - repair and replacement parts were not available and repair was not possible. This left the Cloverdale firefighters with limited rescue capabilities yet again.
A new set of hydraulic rescue tools would cost the Cloverdale fire district approximately $35,000, money not available in the districts' budget. Cloverdale Fire Chief Thad Olsen searched for a replacement and was able to locate a newer used hydraulic tool for sale in Chicago for the price of approximately $7,200.
This sum of money was also not available in the current Cloverdale fire district budget, but Chief Olsen approached the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association President Damon Frutos, and explained the available opportunity and the lack of funds. The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association immediately voted to donate $4,000 of fundraiser contributions to the district so these tools could be purchased.
This newer tool is much more powerful than the tool it replaced, and is capable of cutting the newer metals that are currently being used in automobile manufacturing.
Late on Friday, May 23, the new tools arrived. On Monday and Tuesday of the following week the new tool was tested and placed into service.
Almost immediately, on Thursday, May 29, the tool was used at a collision on Highway 20 and Fryrear Road to remove the occupants of two vehicles (see story, page 1).
Cloverdale firefighters are proud to have these new tools available, and credit the community for its generosity during their recent fundraisers. The Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association has not only solicited donations from local residents through its annual sticker campaign, but has also conducted raffles at the Sisters Rodeo for the last two years. Funds from these events have been paid back to the community with purchases of emergency equipment such as this hydraulic rescue tool, scene lighting, medical equipment and much more. The volunteer association is planning another fundraising raffle at this year's Sisters Rodeo as well as this year's Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.
Frutos said "It is truly an honor to serve in a community which cares so deeply about its neighbors. I would like to thank everyone who has so generously contributed to our organization and made this purchase possible."