ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Baconton man is in critical condition following a car crash that happened Thursday night. 64-year old Ben Butler's truck struck a tree on Palm Avenue. Firefighters credit the new jaws of life equipment they used for freeing him in time.
Firefighters say if they were still using their old hydraulic powered jaws of life, there would have been no way to free Butler in time.
The new jaws of life that firefighters use are called eDRAULIC. The powerful tools can cut and rip a car to pieces in a matter of seconds.
In situations like Thursday night's truck tree crash, seconds could mean the difference between life and death.
"It's just only a matter of seconds, time, to get a person out of a crashed vehicle," said Albany Fire Department Assistant Chief Rubin Jordan. "So those seconds are precious."
The old jaws of life were huge hydraulic tools that took a lot of time to set up, and were bound by hoses to machinery.
The new battery powered tools are much quicker.
"There is no cranking up an old motor. Trying to push hydraulic fluid through. We just actually turn a switch and we use them," said Jordan.
Firefighter Ronnie Pettiford is one of the firefighters who uses the equipment to cut through crushed and twisted metal and glass, to reach sometimes badly hurt people.
"You got the victim who you are trying to get to. You are trying to keep them calm,at the same time trying to get them to safety and get them the medical attention they need," said Pettiford.
Firefighters say Butler's extraction was extremely difficult because he was pinned by the crushed truck, but the tools really were jaws of life.
"We have saved many lives with these tools," said Jordan.
Modern cars are made with much more difficult alloys and joints to separate, so getting people out of
crashed cars is a difficult task. Firefighters say the new tools make it possible to save lives.
The Albany Fire Department has 13 sets of the eDRAULIC tools, with one set on each of the 11 pumpers and two in reserve.
Firefighters paid $300,000 of SPLOST funds for the lifesaving equipment three years ago.