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    Thumbs up Malahat Fire Chief Says

    Malahat fire chief says new tools will save lives:

    By Mike Damour - Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial

    Published: January 23, 2009 10:00 AM
    Updated: January 23, 2009 10:23 AM

    Malahat fire fighters say they’re thrilled to have finally received new equipment that will most certainly save lives after highway collisions occur.

    “We’ve used an old combination tool that spreads like the Jaws of Life and cuts for years and that has been very effective, but it’s not new anymore,” said Dave Balding, chief of the Malahat Volunteer Department.

    “Our new tools include a dedicated cutter that cuts bigger stuff with more strength that more easily will cut things like automobile roofs and door pillars to evacuate someone trapped in a vehicle.”

    The Malahat hall also acquired a dedicated set of spreaders.

    “They apply much more force than the old combination tool and spread to a greater distance.”

    The new tools are vital during rescue attempts involving newer vehicles, said Balding.

    “Today’s vehicles are being constructed with newer, tougher metals meant to save passengers inside,” he said.

    “These tools allow us to cut through those modern construction material where our old ones wouldn’t do that.”

    The hall received the tools in December as an early Christmas present, but the people who will really appreciate the gifts are those involved in road crashes near the ‘Hat.

    “Approximately a third of our annual call volume is motor vehicle crashes,” said Balding.

    Indeed, last year alone the Malahat hall was called to 36 highway collisions and needed to extricate people in about half those calls.

    Without the proper tools, the Malahat fire fighters would have to call for assistance from other departments.

    “That time is critical,” said Balding.

    “There’s a thing called the golden hour, and it means the objective is to get people out and into hospital into a doctor’s care within an hour,” he said.

    “You can imagine what happens if we don’t have the good tools.”

    Half the $27,000 for the tools came from a provincial grant.

    “We also had a donation from the Mill Bay Lion’s Club and the rest came from our budget,” said Balding.

    All in all it’s money well-spent, said the chief.

    “It’s an investment into the safety of the motoring public.”



    Malahat volunteer fire fighters Jamie Shepherd (l) and Bill Graham hoist their new emergency tool that will help them save lives at collision scenes.
    Mike D'Mour

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