New tools help firefighters cut open vehicles

By Sarah Wright

The San Mateo County Fire Department and CalFire have deployed new equipment to Pescadero’s Station 59 to help firefighters more quickly remove people from cars following vehicle accidents.

The $40,000 hydraulic extrication tools — purchased from rescue equipment supplier Holmatro — are designed to cut and remove the doors of newer vehicles, some of which are built with stronger metals.

CalFire Public Information Officer Cecile Juliette said that on Jan. 8 the county bought the equipment as part of its six-year operating plan, which spans from 2019 to 2025.

“Upgrades are our entire focus,” Juliette said. “And this is a major upgrade.”

Juliette said a main goal of the plan is to shorten response times in the face of obstacles characteristic of the Pescadero area, such as heavy traffic, frequent accidents and rural roads. Juliette said that getting patients to the hospital quickly is critical to saving lives, citing the “golden hour,” the hour immediately following an injury in which medical attention can be most effective.

Firefighters on staff have been trained to use the new equipment and began using it last week.

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