MORROW — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the city of Morrow Fire Department an Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

The $123,473 grant will cover replacement costs for the department’s aging extrication equipment, more commonly known as the “Jaws of Life,” as well as state-of-the-art power stretcher loaders for all city ambulances.

The current “Jaws of Life” set, which is about 12 years old, consists of cutters, the “jaw,” and a multitool, which is like a combination of the two, as well as hoses and two pumps that power the tools. One is lighter, said 10-year veteran Firefighter Taurus Christler, so that a firefighter can carry it and perhaps the multitool down steep ravines.

“We teach ‘cut the car away from the person,’ not ‘cut the person away from the car,’” explained Fire Capt. Jeff Moss.

About $60,000 will go to installation and training on the new power load system, which consists of an arm that lifts and pulls the stretcher into the ambulance’s patient compartment. At present, the department is using power stretchers it bought last year, which eliminate the need for first responders to lift patients.

Medical research cited by Stryker, the stretcher company, notes the power loader can cut down on back injuries by as much as 62 percent, which makes the job safer for firefighters and EMTs.

According to Moss, from Oct 24 through 26, the department will test extrication equipment from four companies on vehicles donated by New Image Towing. Then, firefighters and EMTs will give feedback to the department as to which system they like best.

The new extrication equipment is expected to arrive by December, while the power load systems are expected to be installed in November.

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