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Photos/Angela Reinhardt Jasper firefighters demonstrate their new battery-powered Jaws of Life equipment at the fire station on Burton Street. The city received the extrication tools through a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation grant.

Jasper gets $35k Firehouse Subs grant for improved Jaws of Life equipment

         The sound of a metal vehicle being splayed and cut apart is unsettling, to say the very  least. It’s a sound that’s almost physically painful, and when peppered with the occasional popping and shattering of windows, one you don’t want to hear in your lifetime. 

            Last week the sound was amplified inside the Jasper Fire Station where firefighters gave a live demonstration of the two  new Hurst extraction tools the department received through a $35,320 grant from Firehouse Subs. The equipment is battery powered, waterproof, smaller, stronger, and faster than the antiquated hydraulic Jaws of Life machines being replaced.                                     Jasper’s Asst. Fire Chief Von Headrick, who has since retired, said they’re also much quieter, which allows firemen to talk to one another at the scene of a crash and helps keep crash victims calmer. The older equipment limited where first responders could take it.

            The new Jaws of Life tools have already been used to rescue a woman who had to be pulled from her vehicle that was on its side in a creek bed. 

            During the Dec. 14 demonstration, Jasper Fire Chief John Sherrer said the department is going to “pay it forward” and donate the older Jaws of Life set to a smaller department that currently has no extraction equipment. 

            “These tools are going to help us perform out duties a lot faster,” Sherrer said. “…We can’t thank you enough.” 

            A north Georgia franchisee spoke on behalf of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, in addition to corporate and PR representatives. 

            “We are thrilled to be here on behalf of the foundation to award this grant to you all,” said Nancy Palmer, Firehouse Subs Manager of Development and Outreach. “This equipment is much needed and useful. You hope you don’t have to use it, but…we want to make sure you have the very best equipment. Our mission is to make sure that our first responders have everything they need to improve their life-saving capabilities and the lives of the heroes in their local communities.” 

            Franchisee Matt Lampkin said, “Remind your friends and family that that nine cents or that seven cents when your round up, that’s where we get this.”

            Firehouse Subs gave out over $2 million this quarter to first responders in the form of 96 grants nationwide. Since the franchise chain was founded in 2005 they have given over $73 million to 5,800 public safety organizations. Around 70 percent of that funding comes from in-restaurant fundraising.

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