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Morgan County Fire & EMS to get jaws of life

Sep 14, 2023 10:21AM ● By Linda Petersen

Morgan County Fire & EMS will soon have some equipment that will help crews get people pinned in their vehicles out and on their way to the hospital sooner. The new equipment, commonly known as the jaws of life, will also assist in other rescues in small spaces. On Aug. 15 the county commission approved the purchase of two sets of Holmatro Extrication Equipment from Weidner Equipment.

Weidner has a program where it donates the equipment to the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy training center to give firefighting trainees some hands-on experience. After a year’s use, the equipment is turned back into Weidner and is refurbished to include new hardware, batteries and battery chargers and is then resold. The tools come with a lifetime warranty and a four-year warranty on the electronics. Weidner will provide free training. 

Though Morgan is a small county, the new equipment will be used frequently and will be a valuable tool for the department, Chief Boyd Carrigan said at the commission meeting. 

“If the funding could be approved, this equipment would be well utilized throughout our county and would greatly increase our ability to save lives,” he said.

In 2022 Morgan County Fire & EMS responded to 83 vehicle accidents in the county. This year that number stands at 50 so far, he said.

Although Weber County provides heavy rescue back up to Morgan County, sometimes the equipment is not available. Even if Weber County responds, it could be a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes before they reach the scene, Carrigan said. There are only three heavy rescue crews in Weber County: Riverdale, Farr West and Ogden City.

“This equipment is for sale, and I think it would be a great asset to us,” he said. “I think the only issue is we don’t have enough in our equipment budget to cover the cost of it.”

Carrigan was willing to clear out his department’s equipment account’s available funds ($4,500) and move $10,000 from its turnout rotation budget to help make the purchase happen. Even with that, the county would need to provide an additional $16,726.60 to cover the equipment’s $31,226.60 price tag, he said.

County commissioners agreed to fund the shortfall and told Carrigan to hold onto his equipment and turnout rotation funds, which they said would likely be needed this year. Instead, they agreed to fund the purchase from a $100,000 federal grant the county was approved for in January. If those funds are not available yet, the county will pay for the equipment out of its general fund and reimburse the general fund later.

Buying this used and refurbished equipment will save the county $16,000 compared to its normal purchase price, Carrigan said. λ

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