Bessemer Township receives Jaws of Life equipment


RAMSAY – The Bessemer Township Fire Department now has a working and upgraded set of Jaws of Life tools to assist with emergency situations thanks to a generous donation from a fire department in lower Michigan and the coordinating efforts of Specialist Tpr. Jason Berg of the Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit in Negaunee.

“It’s a big game-changer for the fire department,” said Berg. “Now they are able to have equipment that is going to function and work, and they’re going to be able to get a lot of life out of it.”

Berg, who grew up in Bessemer Township, said he received a call from the Oliver Township Fire Department in Huron County, where he used to work while serving MSP in lower Michigan, asking if any of the more rural fire departments in the U.P. could use a set of Jaws of Life tools. He said they had just upgraded to battery powered tools and wanted to donated their older ones. Berg said that the tools have been maintained really well.

Berg said that after checking with several communities, he found out the tools Bessemer Township had were old and outdated and they couldn’t afford to buy new ones. Berg said he was able to acquire the donated tools and bring them to Bessemer Township on Feb. 3.

“This new set is far more advanced than what we’ve had,” said Bessemer Township Supervisor Jeff Randall. “Until a year ago, Bessemer Township did not have a set of Jaws of Life. Now we have a couple sets and the tools in this new set are in really good shape.

The old set could only run one tool, where this one can run two. So now combined, we can run three tools at the same time, which gives us quite an advantage on the scene.”

Randall explained that while people tend to think of Jaws of Life as being only a cutting tool, there are other tools, including spreaders, to help spread the car apart. The tools are operated by a gas motor to run the hydraulics units.

“When you use the Jaws of Life you do not move the person. You take the car apart around them,” said Randall. “You know, you gotta cut things apart, but you also have to spread things that are crumpled together apart to get that person out.”

Randall said the tools are a “real win” for the township. “I thought it was a great thing,” he said.

The township board approved the hiring of Mykahl Kirby for the department of public works. “We usually keep a three-man crew. We were down to two,” said Randall. Kirby’s start date has not been decided as he has to give notice to his current employer. Randall said he hopes to have a start date for Kirby soon.

The board also:

–Approved a resolution to allow the city of Bessemer to join in on their combined board of review with Ironwood and Wakefield townships, as they all have the same assessor.

–Looked at salary resolutions for the township clerk, treasurer and supervisor positions. Those will be presented on March 28 at the township’s annual meeting.

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