Jaws of Life is ever-changing to meet vehicle safety standards

Jaws of Life is ever-changing to meet vehicle safety standards


Kailey Miller isn't sure if she'll play soccer again this school year, or if she'll run track. She is sure of one thing, however. She is grateful for the rescue crews that pulled her from her mangled car in October.

"I was pinned in and the car was on it's side. It took them over an hour to get me out," Miller said.

She was driving down a rural road in Mineral Springs, in Union County, when the accident happened. Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to free her from the car. Jaws of Life are made by a company called Hurst, in Cleveland County.

The car you drive is built to protect you better than ever. It has more safety features and stronger steel. If you are in a crash, the metal that keeps you safe could also keep rescue crews from getting to you quickly if they don't have the most up to date gear.

"Steel keeps getting stronger and stronger and stronger so our tools have to keep up with that. These tools are designed to stay five years ahead of the game and we work with auto manufacturers to be sure we can do that," said Chris Jaques, the General Manager at Hurst Jaws of Life.

We visited the Jaws of Life factory floor to see how the newest models of this life saving tool are manufactured. It is a very hands-on process with nearly every piece and part made right in Shelby, NC. The newest version of the Hurst tool is battery powered. It does not use hydraulic hoses connected to fire trucks to get it's power. It's purpose is to give fire and rescue crews more mobility when responding to tricky or difficult situations.

"I wasn't sure at first, because I thought about my drill at home and the frustration of when I go to grab it and use it and the battery has to be charged," said Jason Dickson of Rescue 3 of the Charlotte Fire Department.

After using the battery powered tool regularly, he says he has no concerns at all.

"Each battery lasts at least 20 minutes and that's plenty of time for most rescues. We have backup batteries if we need them. There isn't a type of metal I haven't been able to cut through using it," Dickson added.

Kailey has a broken collar bone, broken ribs, she tore her ACL and has other injuries. She may need more surgery. She is so grateful, though, for technology, and caring rescuers.

"I'm thankful we have the ability to invent things like that, not just for myself but for other people who wouldn't be here today. Everybody that was there, I am so thankful for all they did, I hope they know that," she said.

To see see the progression of the Hurst Jaws of Life technology over the years, watch the web exclusive video on this page.

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