Jaws of Life will assist Woodleaf firefighters

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

Surprise would be an understatement for members of the Woodleaf Fire Department who recently received an equipment donation that will help with rescue calls.

Southern Power’s Plant Rowan provided a Jaws of Life device after hearing the department could use such an apparatus.

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is a retail electric service that serves areas throughout the Southeast.

“We want to be a good neighbor,” said Compliance Team Leader Terry Syverson.

Members of the fire department attended a safety program at the company. That’s when Syverson spoke with Fire Chief Artie Watson about the needs of the fire department.

“We were really surprised. We’ve never had that type of donation before,” Watson said.

He added that they’ve never had that large an industry in their fire district before.

Syverson said the company had some money in its budget to pay for the equipment.

Watson estimates the value of the tool, which includes the cutting device, pump and hose, to be about $15,000.

The donation only helps build the relationship between the fire department and the company, Syverson said.

He said the Woodleaf department would be the first to respond if there were an accident at the plant.

“Our company wants to have a good working relationship with the public. I think the public would like for the volunteer fire department to have this nice tool,” he said.

The fire department did not already have this type equipment before the donation.

“We thought this would be a good addition to the department,” Watson said.

Syverson said the equipment will help the community.

Watson said that although the rescue squad is one of the primary agencies that respond to vehicle entrapments, the Jaws of Life would help the fire department “get a head start on patient care.”

“We’re trying to improve our level of service,” he said.

The firefighters completed training using the new equipment Saturday. Members used the Jaws of Life on old cars at Kluttz Salvage Yard.

“We want to thank Southern Power for their generosity for helping the community and the department. It will benefit all the citizens if they need it,” Watson said.

In 2006, Southern Co. initiated the purchase of Plant Rowan from Progress Ventures. Plant Rowan is a simple-cycle, combustion turbine electric generating plant located off N.C. 801.

Simple-cycle technology is an environmentally sensitive method of generating electricity.

Southern Co. owns electric utilities in four states, has 4.3 million customers and more than 41,000 megawatts of generating capacity.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.