South Stormont firefighters to get new cutters for vehicle rescues

TransCanada has donated $10,000 to South Stormont Fire & Rescue to buy a set of eDRAULIC cutters for dealing with extrication during vehicle wrecks. Pictured, from left, Mayor Jim Bancroft, Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau, TransCanada Community Relations Lead Jon Pitcher, Coun. Donna Primeau and Coun. Dave Smith. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

LONG SAULT – South Stormont firefighters will likely have a new piece of state-of-the-art equipment in their arsenal when it comes to freeing people from vehicle wrecks.

TransCanada has given South Stormont Fire & Rescue $10,000 to buy a set of eDRAULIC cutters.

They are one half of a set of tools commonly known as the Jaws of Life (one tool is a spreader to pry apart sections of an automobile; the other tool is a cutter to slice through sections of a car or truck).

Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau says newer cars are being constructed with boron steel in the support pillars so a better tool is needed to cut through those supports.

“A very expensive piece of equipment but it’s necessary in vehicle accidents and we respond to quite a few accidents in our area because we deal with the 401 and Highway 2 is a busy highway in the summer,” Crepeau said.

The chief says the department’s existing cutters run on hydraulics, meaning firefighters have a hose attached when using the equipment.

The new eDRAULIC cutter, which still has to be purchased, is a self-contained battery-operated apparatus.

They have a price tag of roughly $14,000 – the balance of the money to purchase them will be a consideration during township budget talks.

Chief Crepeau says the equipment will probably be stationed in St. Andrews West but will be available to any station at any time.

As for training, Crepeau says that’s already done. “We had the people we are probably going to purchase the equipment from came down late last year. We got a couple of vehicles from one of the tow truck yards – they donated them – and the trainer came and he had the equipment. They showcased their equipment so the guys got to try them, so the training is pretty well done,” he said.

The fire chief says the cutters would also be available for neighbouring townships through mutual aid, though those agreements will need to be updated.

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