The Jaws of Life is a powerful rescue tool, or set of rescue tools, used by emergency workers to extract people from vehicle crashes and other small spaces. These tools are responsible for saving many people each year because they allow the emergency workers to reach the victims faster than other methods. These tools perform very important rescue functions such as pushing, pulling, cutting and spreading. A separate tool is sometimes used for each task, although the combination tool is a popular choice for emergency workers. The Jaws of Life operates with hydraulic fluid pressure and the power for this may come from a petroleum engine, electric pump or rechargeable battery. Let’s find out who invented this important safety device.
Who invented The Jaws of Life?
The Jaws of Life was invented in the early 1970’s at Hurst Performance, Inc. The original idea came from George Hurst as a way to rescue drivers involved in high speed motor sports crashes. Hurst hired engineer Mike Brick to develop the tool and he, along with Tim Smith, developed the spreader bar. Brick continued to work on the design and eventually designed a single tool to perform all of the required functions. He had a falling out with Hurst due to a lack of funding and left the company and created the Phoenix Rescue Tool line. Today, similar devices are available from a number of companies.
Did you know?
The name Jaws of Life came from Brick who overheard someone describe the device as “snatching people from the jaws of death.” The term is commonly used for any brand of rescue tools, but it is actually a trademark of the Hurst Jaws of Life company.
Prior to the invention of the Jaws of Life rescue workers used circular saws to cut victims out of a vehicle crash!
The following video shows a rescue team demonstrating how they remove the entire side of a car.