The Fundamentals of the Jaws of Life
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Thu Feb 2017
Just about everyone has heard of the Jaws of Life. But, what do you actually know about them? If you were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, you might have experienced them firsthand. They may have even helped save your life.
Imagine that you are trapped in your car. Maybe the force of an accident caused your vehicle to rollover. Perhaps your door became jammed when someone ran into you. Understandably, you are terrified. You hear sirens approaching the accident scene. Help is on the way.
The sirens stop and you hear the voices of emergency responders. Someone comes and talks to you. In the end, you learn that it was a couple of firefighters who coached you through as they used the Jaws of Life to extricate you. Your life has been saved.
The Jaws of Life as Rescue Tools
First, you should know that the Jaws of Life are hydraulic rescue tools. When this particular brand name is used, it refers to the equipment manufactured by a company named Hurst. It is easily recognizable as the premier extrication tool.
Two of the crucial components of the Jaws of Life are the cutters and spreaders. Their names speak for themselves. When confronted with heavy mangled steel, the spreaders literally pull metal apart. They also have the capacity to enter small spaces such as a closed door and enable rescue personnel to secure a tight grip.
Think of cutters as high-powered metal shears that can tear through thick steel. The blade is a sharp tool that can be replaced when necessary. Cutters are designed to rip through pieces of steel to gain vehicle accessibility.
The Jaws of Life may be used to remove car doors. In addition, the Jaws of Life are used to pull back rooftops. Some liken the process to peeling open a tin sardine can to release its content.
Many rescue departments prefer working with devices that are a combination of both the cutter and spreader. Emergency personnel goes through substantial training exercises to work with the Jaws of Life.
The Jaws of Life are used when an accident victim is trapped. The term extrication refers to the process of freeing or releasing someone. There can be a variety of reasons that the Jaws of Life are necessary. Here are some examples of when it may be crucial to use extrication tools:
- Rollover accidents
- Car crashes where occupants have no means of escape
- Building collapses
- Any type of entrapment
If you were involved in any type of accident and the Jaws of Life were used, you may have been seriously injured. At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we have represented a number of accident victims whose injuries have gravely impacted their lives. Contact our office to see how we can help you.