Within minutes of approaching a battered car on Tuesday, American Fork firefighters were able to remove the doors and later the entire roof of the car with the help of some new extrication equipment.

While it was just a demonstration, the new tools will make the department more efficient and safer because the old tools took longer to set up, were noisy and occasionally unreliable.

“These new tools being as portable as they are and as quiet as they are, it makes our lives easier,” Lt. Scott Christensen with the American Fork Fire Department, said. “They get the job done as well as the old tools, they just use new technology.”

The American Fork Fire Department was just one of several local public safety organizations that received new equipment thanks to a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

The donations, which totaled more than $81,500, included new radios and remote speaker microphones for the Utah County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, tactical helmets for the Lehi Police Department, the extrication equipment for American Fork Fire Department and a chest compression system for Pleasant Grove Fire Department.

Lt. Kyle Hardy with Pleasant Grove Fire Department said the equipment they received does CPR on a patient, which frees up a firefighter to attend to something else and also provides high quality CPR continuously.

“The biggest thing the LUCAS (the system) can do for us is allow us to place a CPR device on the patient fast,” Hardy said. “It’s all about time, because time is tissue, so our biggest goal is to get that CPR device going.”

In the few months they’ve had the device, Hardy said they’ve already used it five times and saved two people with it.

“They (Firehouse Subs) are awesome for doing this,” he said.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded after Hurricane Katrina and has since provided more than $469,000 to Utah first responders for life saving equipment.

“We love being able to give back to the first responders in every way we can because you (the first responders) in every way we can because you put your lives out there on the line for us,” Randy Judd, Firehouse Subs Area Representative, said.

Will Page, who is a franchise owner of multiple Utah County Firehouse Subs, said the customers can support the foundation by rounding up their bills at the register or purchasing one of their reusable pickle buckets for $2.

He said he is proud to be able to support local first responders and knows that the equipment they are able to provide the department goes on to help other people.

“You never like seeing the police department or you never like seeing the fire department, but when you need them they are always there,” Page said. “You want to be the last person to call them, but they are the first people to show up when you need them.”

“So if we can provide them more safety equipment, more extrication equipment to get them out of cars faster, someday it might be me on the other end of that,” he added.

Shelby Slade covers community events, issues and stories for the Daily Herald.

Shelby Slade is a reporter for the Daily Herald who covers crime and the southern part of Utah County.

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