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Beaver Creek to receive grants for 'Jaws of Life'

WORTHINGTON -- Beaver Creek Fire Chief Jason Rauk received some good news last week.

More than $1.4 million in federal grants was recently awarded to 23 Minnesota fire departments through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistant to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, and the Beaver Creek Fire Department is one of the recipients, as is the Adrian Fire Department.

Beaver Creek will receive $55,837 in federal funds, which will be spent on new hydraulic extrication equipment, a thermal imaging camera and new hose and nozzles.

"It is wonderful to be able to get some new things and get updated and current," Rauk stated. "It will make life easier for those who are going to have to use those tools."

The hydraulic extrication equipment is more commonly known as "Jaws of Life," and has cut the time it takes to remove a victim from a car crash considerably. But they don't come cheap -- and that and the thermal imaging camera have been desired by the department for a while.

"It is something we've definitely been wanting to get, it's just a matter of having the funds available to purchase the products," Rauk explained. "They are quite spendy."

Adrian Community Development Director Kevin Norskog said the Adrian department is using its $50,958 AFG grant to purchase new turnout gear -- the helmets, pants, coats and boots worn by firefighters. Some of the gear the department is using now is about 15 years old, Norskog said.

When the grant was turned in, the department had requested enough gear for 28 people, but the funds they will receive will cover 20 helmets and 26 of the other pieces of equipment. The city will kick in the additional $2,682 needed to purchase the rest of the gear.

"The fire department will have new protective gear to wear," Norskog said.

Both departments got quotes last year when they were preparing their grant applications, but now get the happy chore of lining up appointments with vendors. This time they get to do more than look -- they get to buy.