The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has awarded a total of $53,942 in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants to the Town of North Kingstown and the City of Warwick to purchase Jaws of Life and cutter sets to improve response times for their local fire departments.
“We are pleased to offer this life saving equipment to both communities,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “Although our goal is to prevent crashes, this equipment will aid emergency personnel in extricating persons from their vehicles when they have become entrapped following a crash.”
The 58-square mile Town of North Kingstown will be reimbursed with $27,712 to purchase their second Jaws of Life and cutters. Their fire department currently has one set on a Special Hazards vehicle located in the middle of the town in Wickford. They anticipate this additional purchase to greatly improve their current response times throughout town and to their neighboring communities of Narragansett, South Kingstown, Exeter, Jamestown and East Greenwich.
“On behalf of the Town of North Kingstown, I want to thank Director Lewis for awarding the Town this equipment,” said North Kingstown Town Manager Michael Embury. “A second set of “Jaws” will certainly improve the ability of fire personnel to extricate someone who is trapped in a vehicle. This equipment will also allow North Kingstown personnel to assist neighboring communities when needed without diminishing local coverage.”
Warwick, the second largest city in the State, will be reimbursed with $26,230. Presently only their Fire Department’s Special Hazards Unit has a set of jaws and cutters. The City anticipates their response time to outlying portions of their service area, such as Warwick Neck, to be shortened by adding the second set. Warwick is also targeting assisting their neighboring emergency personnel in West Warwick, East Greenwich and Cranston through this purchase.
“Every minute during an emergency is crucial,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “We are grateful to RIDOT for this funding, which gives us more resources to ensure the safety and well being of our citizens and to assist neighboring communities in times of crisis.”
A total of $200,000 has been budgeted by RIDOT for this equipment. Although the Warwick and North Kingstown Fire Departments are the first to be reimbursed, RIDOT hopes to allocate additional funds to other departments based upon need. As part of RIDOT’s agreement to reimburse the departments for the equipment, North Kingstown and Warwick have committed to demonstrate the jaws and cutters, for example in a “mock crash” scenario, at high schools in their municipalities as part of a larger traffic safety educational program.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362 x. 4009