STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Stone County volunteer firefighters are not letting the limited dollars in the department's bank account keep them from having much needed life saving equipment. The South Central Fire District recently purchased a Jaws of Life, something the department didn't have until now.
When car accident victims are trapped inside their vehicles, firefighters serving the Perkinston, Sunflower, and McHenry communities will have what they need to help free them.
"I just want to be like somebody's hero you know. Go out there and help somebody," said firefighter Colton Mast.
Before the South Central Fire District purchased the Jaws of Life, officials said the Wiggins Fire Department had the only extrication equipment in the county.
"We've had some cases on 49. As anybody that drives it knows, it's a very busy highway, and you may have multiple patients in different vehicles," said Chief Thomas Muffler. "Or you may have a whole other scene altogether and you can only use that equipment on one vehicle at a time. Having two sets of equipment gives us a better chance of getting care to the patient quicker."
Officials said after a grant fell through, they didn't give up on buying a Jaws of Life device. They got one at a bargain price, thanks to a company that sells refurbished rescue equipment.
"The set we just bought would have cost us $20,000 on the low end. I was able to purchase it for around $5,000, which is substantial amount of savings," said Chief Muffler. "Being the volunteer department we are and the limited funding that we have it wasn't a viable solution for us to buy new equipment."
Eventually, the extrication equipment will be part of the gear on a 2001 fire truck, which officials said is another recent purchase and a great deal.
"We were able to purchase this truck for $5,800 through an auction. Fully equipped. Ready to go," Chief Muffler said. "It's a smaller truck with quicker response. So we decided to use it for accidents and put our extrication equipment on it. We have water and foam in case there's a fire. Just a lucky deal."
Before the volunteer firefighters can utilize the extrication equipment they must first become certified.
Stone County's South Central Fire District officials said right now they are very short staffed and need around 25 additional firefighters. Officials are encouraging more people become volunteers and go through the necessary training. If you are at least 18 years old and are interested in volunteering for the South Central Fire District, call (228) 760-1257.