The Laurel Fire Department recently installed new hydraulic rescue equipment, commonly referred by the registered name “Jaws of Life,” on its pumper at Station #5 on Parker Drive.
The equipment purchase was part of a grant awarded to the city of Laurel in June 2015 in the amount of $85,932 for equipment and training through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters grant (AFG).
The AFG program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Built in 2009, Laurel Fire Station #5 sits at the northwest-end of the city to meet the demands of U.S. Hwy 15, a main artery from Jasper and Jones Counties into Laurel and I-59 with a daily traffic count nearing 35,000.
The station previously did not have its own set of vehicle extraction rescue equipment.
“Although the Laurel Fire Department has two other vehicle extractors, they service the southern end of the city limits poised to respond to I-59 and Laurel’s train tracks,” Laurel Fire Chief James Brown said. “Having vital equipment on a scene—and not wasting valuable time navigating one of the city’s busiest traffic routes—could mean the difference between life and death. We are grateful to have received this grant.”
Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said that the grant award covers 95 percent of the total cost of the equipment, with the city responsible for the remaining 5 percent of cost which was approximately $907.
The mayor noted, “The remaining grant proceeds will be used to purchase HazMat protective clothing as well as HazMat training enabling the Laurel Fire Department to fulfill its mission set out by Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s (MEMA) most recent Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Laurel Fire Department is charged to serve as a DeCon Unit not only for the city but for the 30-mile region."
The mayor added, “We hope we don’t have to call on any of this equipment routinely, but if we do, we want our citizens and local business owners to know they can rely on it and our fire department’s timely response.”
Copyright 2016 WDAM. All rights reserved.