By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Sometimes the right equipment makes all the difference.

In the case of Crescent Fire Protection District, a $30,000 purchase of new tools for search and rescue means more lives will be saved.

andquot;The capabilities are much greater with the new tools. We bought the biggest and the smallest,andquot; said Fire Chief John McFarland speaking of new Jaws of Life and hydraulic spreaders that can lift heavy material such as a collapsed building or car off a person.

The tools come thanks to a grant the district won from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

McFarland said the new spreaders and Jaws of Life are more lightweight than the old tools, making it easier for crews to carry them with one arm, leaving the other arm free to help victims.

andquot;That will come in handy for cars that go down the canyon into the river,andquot; he said.

andquot;The grant also provided the smallest and most compact gasoline-powered single hydraulic pump and the smallest, most lightweight cutting and spreading tool.

andquot;This combination of equipment will handle the most severe highway and industrial entrapment emergencies and also the difficult over-the-bank emergencies that may require rappelling or helicopter airlift of the tools,andquot; McFarland added.

Having the new equipment brings Crescent Fire Protection in line with other local emergency responders that already have similar tools.

For all the agencies to have similar equipment is important, McFarland said, when multiple departments respond to the same incident and may need to use each other's tools.

But most importantly, he said, the new equipment will decrease the time it takes to remove a wreck victim from the scene and get them to medical care.