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Bonnieville Fire Department receives nation’s first Mighty Strut lifting device

By Katrina England

Hart Co. News Herald


The Bonnieville Fire Department recently received a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

The program began in 2001 to assist firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

In the grant, FEMA pays 95% of the cost, while the fire department pays the remaining 5%.

Bonnieville Fire Chief Dennis Amos and his department chose to update their current lifting equipment.

The total project cost for the equipment was $100,974.15, with FEMA paying $96,169.66 and Bonnieville Fire Department paying $4,804.49.

“It’s rescue equipment, but everyone calls them the Jaws of Life,” said Amos. “A lot of the time, if you say rescue tools, people only remember them as the Jaws of Life.”

According to Amos, the new equipment can easily be taken into the woods to free someone who is trapped or can be taken into places where the old system couldn’t go.

“They are a new system,” said Amos. “The old systems were hydraulic. These are battery operated. They have the same pressure, lifting power, and cutting power as the old system, but you don’t have to drag the hose and pump around.”

Additionally with that equipment, the department also received a new tool called a Mighty Strut, which is a lifting device.

“Bonnieville Fire Department is the first department in the nation to have this,” said Amos. “It’s a new system that’s designed by High Tech Rescue out of Shelbyville, Kentucky, and we were lucky enough to get the grant in time to order, and we’re the first one in the nation to have this tool…Bonnieville has always had the hydraulic Jaws of Life with the motor. This just updates us and brings us up into new technology.”

Amos said this new technology will be handy on the interstate with the barrier wall. It can be taken into the woods on an ATV and can even fit in the trunk of a car. It is only 4 pounds heavier than the old system.

As far as run volume, Amos estimates the tools are needed and used 20-25 times each year.

“These tools are not just available for the citizens of my fire district, but for the whole county because we’re a mutual aid department. All they have to do is call us…We can respond anywhere in the county if requested by another fire department.”

Amos credited the FEMA grant for allowing the department to purchase the new equipment, which has already been utilized at a recent structure fire.


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