Since 2005, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has awarded more than $73 million in grants to aid first responders, public safety organizations and military veterans. On Tuesday, the Concord Township Fire Department became the latest beneficiary of the grant program after being awarded $35,320 for updated vehicle extrication equipment.
A check was presented to the department in a brief ceremony at the Dublin Firehouse Subs restaurant, located at 6454 Sawmill Road. Members of the fire department were on hand to accept the check from restaurant owner Paul Belle, show off the new tools, and answer questions about how the equipment will impact the department and the community it serves.
“We definitely appreciate Firehouse Subs and Paul Belle for helping us with this grant,” Lt. Micah Werling told The Gazette. “Our previous tools were over 15 years old, so there was some age to them. Plus, these new tools are so much stronger. With today’s technology in cars, the metal in them is a lot stronger. These can cut and spread that metal up to five times the strength of steel than our old tools, so it’s a lot better product. … They’re also battery-powered, so you don’t have a gasoline motor to contend with, you don’t have the noise, you don’t have the hose to drag.”
The grant, which is awarded once per quarter by the foundation and is funded by customers rounding up their purchases or donating during their visits to Firehouse Subs, covered the entire costs of the purchases. Included in the purchase was a Hurst cutter, spreader, and ram, as well as batteries and chargers.
Firefighter David Hausfeld noted being able to use the various pieces of equipment simultaneously, rather than having to switch between them, will contribute considerably to quicker extractions.
“It’s light-years faster. It’s easier to work with,” Hausfeld said. “There are no cords. You don’t have to mess with hydraulic oil. It’s all contained in its own self and is battery-operated.”
Werling added the new tools are also waterproof and considering the department works next to the Scioto River, the capability of taking the tools into the water if necessary will be invaluable moving forward.
Of course, simply being able to extricate trauma patients quicker, regardless of the conditions, will prove to be pivotal in scenarios when time is always of the essence. Patients’ chances of survival are typically decreased after 60 minutes in trauma situations, making every minute critical in the moments following an accident.
“It’s huge because, with trauma patients, they refer to it as the ‘golden hour,’” Werling said. “We have to get them to the hospital, and the quicker we can get them out of the car and extricate them, the better the outcome, hopefully. It’s all key and part of that process.”
In addressing the members of the fire department on hand, Belle offered a brief rundown of the Firehouse Subs and Public Safety Foundation stories before saying of the grant, “We’re really proud. This is the heart of our company, that’s what we do. … Every department out there, especially the volunteer departments, needs something. We’ve had some pretty big grants of over $100,000. This one is $35,000. It’s equipment that is needed. and it saves lives, so we’re really proud.”
Belle went on to say the total amount of grants awarded in Ohio alone has reached nearly $3.7 million, including almost $500,000 in Columbus.
The equipment purchased with the grant had already been put to use prior to the check presentation as members of the Concord Township Fire Department deployed the Hurst cutter in response to a multi-vehicle accident on Glick Road Tuesday morning.