CIRCLEVILLE - The Circleville Fire Department recently invested in new rescue equipment they say will improve safety at emergency scenes for victims as well as first responders.
The Paratech rescue struts, each with a 70,000-pound capacity, will help emergency crews stabilize anything from a vehicle to a building structure to a railroad car when lives are at risk and seconds matter, according to Dalan Zartman, a representative of Finley Fire Equipment who supervised training Wednesday at the Circleville Fire Department.
"This department has taken a huge step in a really aggressive direction to take care of their citizens across the board," Zartman said. "They also made a wise and responsible choice from a fiduciary perspective by purchasing a growable system that can be upgraded for other uses instead of having to buy a whole new system."
The current package cost about $8,000, according to Captain Marc Zingarelli, acting chief of the Circleville Fire Department, and was approved by former chief Tim Tener before his retirement last month.
Zartman said the department previously had to rely on things like wooden wedges and a timber shoring system to brace heavy objects at emergency scenes, which can be a lengthy process and are sometimes unreliable.
The new rescue struts, he said, can be deployed in about 90 seconds to firmly stabilize a vehicle at an accident scene.
According to Lt. Arron Kerns, the equipment would have been invaluable at a recent scene in which a vehicle crashed into the Pumpkin Patch Farm Market on East Main Street and compromised the building's structural integrity. It could also be an effective tool if someone is trapped in rubble from a tornado or to rescue the victim of a trench collapse.
"These are rare events, but when they do happen, seconds count," Zartman said.
The department chose to purchase the new equipment after firefighter Cory Kerns attended a six-month rescue technology course and began sharing the information with his fellow firefighters at CFD.
Training in the course included rope rescue, water rescue, confined space rescue, structural collapse and auto extrication, he said.
"I just wanted to better the department and better myself," Cory Kerns said. "There's so much of this technology we haven't been using, and we really need to."
Lt. Arron Kerns said though the equipment is owned by the Circleville Fire Department, it is available for mutual aid with surrounding departments as needed.