The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

July 5, 2013

MFD gifted the 'jaws of life'

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The Medina Fire Department has a new tool, and its acquisition left Chief Todd Zinkievich stunned.

“I am in shock, awe, and disbelief at the generosity of this donation,” Zinkievich said. “It’s remarkable to be offered a donation like this.”

The new tool is commonly known as the “jaws of life” and the Medina Fire Department previously was one of very few companies in the county without it. A hydraulic rescue tool, it was donated by Lyons Collision.

Zinkievich said Lyons Collision will often appear at the scene of a motor vehicle accident to remove damaged vehicles. Sometimes they would see the Medina Fire Department struggle in trying to extricate trapped people, and because of that the owners felt the need was evident for the jaws.

“This has been in the works for a few months, but I’m still floored that they came to me and asked about it,” Zinkievich said. “I know the guys in the department are thrilled. We’ve trained on it already, and we’re excited to finally have our own.”

The importance of this particular rescue tool cannot be understated, Zinkievich explained.

“In our line of work, if someone is trapped inside a vehicle, the minutes count,” he said. “If we can get to a person sooner it can only help.”

Lyons Collision owner Jeff Lyons, who is also a former Medina firefighter, said the donation was a way of saying thanks to the village and its residents.

“We’ve been in business 36 years, and the village has been good to us,” he said. “We wouldn’t have the business we have without the citizens here.”

Currently a firefighter in Shelby, Lyons said the advantages of having the rescue tool are vast.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it does more than just cut doors,” Lyons said. “It can also pop doors, can lift, and it’s small enough to get into tight spots and work in them.”

Lyons said he could think of a few instances within the past nine months when the jaws of life could have come in handy, but the Medina Fire Department was forced to wait on other companies’ arrival.

Zinkievich said that wait, which could be as long as 10 minutes, is during a critical time.

“Now we’ll be able to get to work as soon as possible,” he said.

Regarding the donation, Zinkievich said the entire Lyons family is “very giving” within the community, and the new tool is proof.

“This is a very expensive piece of equipment,” he explained. Zinkievich said the tool’s price range is anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 and that the department’s falls somewhere in the middle. 

“It’s a very valuable tool to have,” he added. “It’s also a piece of equipment you hope you don’t have to use.”