One town in Green Country has equipped its fire department with some new life-saving tools.
The Bartlesville Fire Department recently received two sets of powerful car jacks called Res-Q-Jacks, something that officials say the department has long needed but never had.
"We're very excited to have these new rescue tools because, before, we might have to wait for a wrecker (at the scene of an accident)," Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hollander said. "We don't know how long a wrecker might take, and this could literally mean the difference between life and death for trapped victims."
When the city purchased two sets of Res-Q-Jacks for the fire department, it came with training from one of the salesmen. The department decided to conduct that training this week. All 66 firefighters have to complete the training so that they could practice on how to use the equipment and learn better extrication techniques.
Firefighters, like five-year veteran Tom Brink, said these rescue tools will eventually be used in the field to stabilize cars involved in serious accidents, like rollovers. Even though rollover accidents account for only about two percent of all the wrecks in Oklahoma, they result in 35 percent of traffic fatalities, according to some estimates.
"We'll be able to get these jacks up quickly, lift up the vehicle if we have to and get the patient out safely," Brink explained.
One of the firemen even donated a car so that his colleagues could practice with the Res-Q-Jacks. The firefighters flipped the car themselves to simulate a rollover and then cranked up the jacks to try different removal procedures.
Brink said the jacks will be useful when responding to more than just car wrecks, though.
"It could be like a concrete slab falling on somebody," he said. "We'll be able to use these jacks to get these people out from underneath the slabs."
By the end of the week, all the Bartlesville firefighters should be able to use the jacks if the situation arises.
Firefighters hope that time never comes, but say they're ready when the next call comes in.
"We trained on them, and I think the department is confident on using these things now," Brink said.
Fire officials also hope these new rescue tools give the community some peace of mind.
"I think the community should feel better knowing that they're much safer," Hollander said, "and that we can extricate them and their family much quicker."