VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)– It’s one of the most important life-saving tools for firefighters. Now the fire department in Vail has the “Jaws of Life” thanks to a generous donation.

Firefighters in Vail say the winter driving conditions that are present during most of the year, combined with high speed and high volume, mean they’re going to be using the new equipment more than they’d like.

Firefighters in Vail tested the Jaws of Life tool (credit: CBS)

Firefighters in Vail tested the Jaws of Life tool (credit: CBS)

The tool helps pop the vehicle door and then has strong cutters that can sever steel to allow firefighters to get inside to rescue those trapped.

Firefighters in Vail tried out the tool on a wrecked SUV on Wednesday.

“We’ve used it several times so far and I think the most recent one was an accident on Vail Pass where we had to extradite people from a car,” said Vail Fire Chief Mark Miller.

New technology and stronger materials used to build vehicles means first responders need the latest equipment to save lives.

“We’re able to cut into cars now, much easier than we were in the past,” said Miller. “It’s about four, probably four times more powerful than what we’ve had.”

Miller said there have been instances where new cars can’t get cut. The new piece of equipment will help save lives.

“I-70, I-70, honestly we get a lot of accidents on I-70 especially Vail Pass throughout the winter and through the summer and usually there are multiple vehicles involved which means there are extrications involved,” said Miller.

An amount of $5,400 was given to the fire department to buy the equipment from a local insurance company.

“I would think they should feel comfortable to get out of a badly wrecked car,” said John Neil with Neil-Garing Insurance.

“The volume of cars that come over Vail Pass and into Vail and Beaver Creek and so on is tremendous so this gives us and them a greater level of comfort,” said Miller.


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