Contributed photo
Local Lions Clubs donated money to purchase a Jaws of Life for the Battle Lake Fire Department. Pictured above are: Donna and Jack Galvin, and Jerry Smith, Ottertail Lions; John Peterson and Dean Nelson, Battle Lake Lions; Lowell Hoekstra and Doug Hansen, Underwood Lions. Kneeling: firemen Tyler Akerman and Chief Tom Minten displaying the four pieces to the Jaws of Life unit.

Extrication equipment, or “Jaws of Life” is a vital tool for fire departments when called to an accident scene.  The tool is used to cut into vehicle bodies to reach accident victims. It became apparent to the Battle Lake Fire Department during a call to an accident scene, that the equipment that the department had was working but due to the cold weather and severity of damage to the vehicle, the equipment had some issues.  

Since the “Jaws of Life” is aptly named, research into replacing the current tool was done.  The cost of a new, battery operated “Jaws” was estimated at $50,000.  Since the budget for the department was not prepared to cover that kind of cost, area Lions Clubs were approached to see if they could possibly donate some funds toward the cost of a new “Jaws of Life.”

Several area Lions Clubs, being community and service oriented organizations, stepped up whole heartedly. Because of their generosity, a new Holmatro “Jaws of Life” was purchased. The Jaws of Life actually has four parts:  a cutter w/battery charger; a spreader w/battery charger; a telescoping ram w/battery charger and a combination tool with battery charger.  

It took a few months to get the “Jaws,” but it is now in service and the Battle Lake Area firefighters have trained on it and cannot say enough about the benefits of the new “Jaws of Life.” Because all the parts are battery operated, there are no cables, hydraulics and motor which makes the “Jaws” much easier to handle and more accessible to the damaged vehicles. 

The following Lions Clubs are to be thanked for their generous donations: Battle Lake Lions; Underwood Lions; Ottertail Lions; Urbank Lions and Henning Lions.  Their donations covered the cost of the new “Jaws of Life” and some of the accessories, mounting and wiring needed to get the equipment in service.