County of Marin - News Releases - Extrication Equipment

For Immediate Release
October 01, 2019

Fire Department Awarded Grant for Extrication Equipment

’Jaws of Life’ cuts down time to rescue crash victims

Woodacre, CA – The Marin County Fire Department was awarded a $80,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for the purchase of new extrication equipment to be used to rescue crash victims.

Three firefighters work on a mangled car during an extrication drill as a "jaws of life" device sits on the pavement in the foreground.Extrication equipment known as the 'jaws of life' (on ground) have been used often by Marin County firefighters at vehicle crashes and practice drills like this one.

Known as the “jaws of life,” first responders use the tools to break apart a wrecked vehicle with victims trapped inside. The tools help reduce the time it takes to rescue and treat crash victims.

The grant will be part of a $190,000 package to purchase five extrication devices that will be deployed to crews in West Marin. The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase and accepted the grant on September 24.

So far this year, Marin County Fire has responded to 201 crashes in which 28 required extrication.

“This newer equipment is 50% lighter, safer, with better ergonomic design, and is capable of extricating patients from advanced high technology vehicles,” said Battalion Chief Bret McTigue. “This allows us to rescue victims faster, which ultimately increases their chances of survival. In many cases, even minutes without treatment can be a matter of life and death, which is why it is important to have reliable equipment that allows first responders to provide care as quickly as possible.”

Delays in extrication can negatively impact the patient’s critical “golden hour” of trauma survivability. The “golden hour” for emergency medical services is the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases: 1) get to the patient quickly, 2) treat what can be treated on scene, and 3) quickly get the patient to the right hospital. Anything that can be done to reduce each of these time periods aids in patient survival and recovery.

Funding for the state grant program was provided through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Bret McTigue
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-6717
Email: Bret McTigue
Marin County Fire website