Members of Clearwater and District Road Rescue, as well as Mayor Merlin Blackwell, stand with Wells Gray Community Forest representative, Ken Kjenstad, as he makes a cheque donation of $26,000 toward road rescue’s updated jaws of life units on Dec. 17. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

Road rescue updates jaws of life units

New equipment will replace 30-year-old hydraulic models

Clearwater and District Road Rescue received a needed update to some of its gear after replacing its outdated jaws of life units with new battery-powered models last week.

The cost of the four new units came in at about $42,000, and will replace the previously used hydraulic models, which were 30 years old.

“The thing with these ones is they’re a lot easier ergonomic-wise for the responders. They cut through high strength steel and you don’t have to worry about gas power plants, hydraulic lines, lines snagging or someone stepping on them,” said Mike Savage, deputy unit chief, adding the weight of the new tools is about half of what the road rescue crew had to deal with on the older models.

“And in terms of walking over embankments, you’re not taking all that stuff over it and down, now it’s just one tool and a rescuer and away they go.”

The equipment couldn’t have come at a better time as the road rescue crew made use of it Dec. 17 on the morning it arrived, cutting a local motorist from a vehicle after a head-on crash that left the driver trapped in their vehicle.

The incident happened at about 8:12 a.m. on Highway 5 near Jenkins Road where the new tools were deployed, taking about nine minutes before the situation was turned over to Emergency Health Services.

READ MORE: Road rescue holds fall extrication training

Savage said this rescue alone meant the tools had already paid for themselves.

Part of the cost was covered by a donation from Wells Gray Community Forest, who pitched in $26,000 toward the new purchase.

“I think it’s a sign of the times with the changing vehicle technology, we finally had the opportunity to upgrade our rescue tools to meet the challenges and without the support of the Wells Gray Community Forest (WGCF) commission, upgrades like this and enhancements to road safety for responders wouldn’t be made,” said Savage.

Ken Kjenstad, who represented WGCF at the cheque presentation on Dec. 17, said it was an honour to be involved with a cause that makes the roads safer for motorists in the community.

Mayor Merlin Blackwell, who was also on hand for the donation, said the Clearwater and District Road Rescue Service is a critical part of the Clearwater area’s First Response and Safety Team as they cover a hazardous section of highway from Little Fort area to north of Blue River, as well as some well-used backcountry and Forest Service Roads.

“Thank you for your service and your amazing volunteer commitment.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The road rescue crew made use of its new equipment on the morning of Dec. 17, the day it arrived, cutting a local motorist from a vehicle after a head-on crash that left the driver trapped in their vehicle. The incident happened at about 8:12 a.m. on Highway 5 near Jenkins Road. Photo submitted

Just Posted

Clearwater Famers Market looking for help

“The Farmers Market and the North Thompson (Valley) need more local food.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Rainer Meat Cutting continues family tradition

Finding a new role in the days of COVID-19

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

Most Read