The City of High Springs Fire Department was awarded an equipment grant worth more than $30,000 from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation on Thursday. The event was held at the High Springs Museum and included a training session where the community could see how new extrication equipment will help firefighters to save lives.
The new equipment includes three hydraulic cutters and a hydraulic spreader and is worth $30,327. “With these tools, we can now save lives quicker, more safely, and it’s a huge benefit to anyone and everyone. The fact that it costed taxpayers absolutely nothing . . . is a huge blessing for us,” said High Springs Fire Department public information officer Kevin Mangan.
The High Springs Fire Department has a well trained and dedicated team, but using technology that is around 20 years old has limited the department, said Municipal Emergency Services customer service representative John Montgomery. “High Springs Fire Department is an excellent candidate because not only were their tools old, and not up to the current new car technology, restrained budgets. But most importantly, they had the drive, the training and the willingness to see this from inception,” he said. “It’s a blessing to work with life safety heroes,” Montgomery added.
The new equipment will help firefighters work faster and save time, so crucial in emergency situations when every second counts, Mangan mentioned. “You probably heard the term golden hour before, when they talk about medical emergencies,” he said.
“And what that golden hour is, from the time that somebody calls 911 to the time that somebody is receiving truly advanced medical care, typically in a hospital, their chances of life greatly are increased if they arrive at the facility within that 60 minutes,” Mangan added. “So if we can save 2 or 3 minutes by not having to set this [old equipment] up, that’s 2 or 3 minutes sooner that they are getting out of the vehicle, that’s 2 or 3 minutes sooner that they are in the back of the rescue on their way to the hospital.”
Fire department spokesman confirmed that the old equipment was a big problem for the firefighters. “They’re out of date. The tools are definitely serviceable and workable but it was only a matter of time before we would start to have some serious failures and we were getting very close to that point,” said Mangan. According to Mangan, fire departments in surrounding counties face similar problems. After receiving the grant, High Springs Fire Department is beyond the surrounding counties equipment, he noted. “They still have the old technology with the hydraulic tools. They have more capabilities, but nobody has this technology in Alachua county except for us. So we’re now ahead of the curve when it comes to vehicle extrication capabilities,” he explained.
“We’re just so fortunate and happy to be able to receive this. These are tools that are badly, badly needed, and we’re just beyond thankful to get it. It’s going to enable us to do our job faster and safer,” Mangan concluded. “This is for everyone, this is for the citizens, and this is for the visitors,” he said.
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation provides emergency units all around the country with funding, equipment and educational measures. First responders in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada have already received more than $20 million through the non-profit. The foundation has also spent more than $3,5 million to help emergency services in Florida.