Traffic Safety Grant Will Save Lives in Butte County

New Tools Will Help Crash Victims

CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire was awarded a $105,000 traffic safety grant for the purchase of hydraulic rescue tools with funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant funded hydraulic rescue tools can aid in extricating victims from a severely damaged vehicle. In 2016, CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire responded to 1,298 collisions to aid victims injured in which 94 of those required extrication.

“This grant will assist CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire in obtaining much needed safety equipment that will increase the ability to quickly and efficiently extricate those critically injured crash victims trapped in a vehicle on our roadways,” explains Unit Chief Darren Read, CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire.  “The hydraulic rescue tools for vehicle extrication will be battery powered. This allows for the equipment to be lighter, more portable, and to deploy more quickly.”

Delays in extrication can negatively impact the patient’s critical “golden hour” of trauma survivability.  The “golden hour” for Emergency Medical Services is the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases: 1) get to the patient quickly, 2) treat what can be treated on scene, and 3) quickly get the patient to the right hospital. Anything that can be done to compress each of these time periods aids in patient survival/recovery.

The grant will assist in efforts to reduce the number of persons killed in traffic collisions.  Traffic deaths from all causes increased nearly 17 percent from 2010 to 2015 in California.  State and federal officials anticipate that final figures will show another rise for 2016.  Safer roads and cars, stepped up enforcement and awareness, along with faster and more effective extrication equipment for emergency responders will help in sending that trend downward.

While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.”  Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.


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