New rescue tool available for Ridgefield Fire Department

The Ridgefield Fire Department is considering adding a new gadget to its rescue toolbox.

The department watched a demonstration on how to use the TL-9 stablizer — a tool designed to make lifting heavy objects safer and more efficient — earlier this month.

Captain Rommie Duckworth said the TL-9 is meant to complement the Jaws of Life — an emergency rescue personnel tool used to assist in vehicle extrication of crash victims.

“Picture them like a pair of scissors, but instead of cutting you can use them to squeeze things down or spread and open wide,” he said.

The stabilizing tool makes lifting objects such as vehicles a quick process without the need for much manpower, Duckworth added.

“During the demonstration many of us felt that it worked really well and that it would be very practical and useful,” he said. “Numerous calls came to mind where it might have made a rescue easier and faster.”

He said the TL-9 stabilizer is made by a Connecticut company, and serves as a foot plate for the Jaws of Life.

“If we needed to lift a car, instead of taking more manpower and time-intensive tools we can put these special grippy tips [TL-9] on the end of the Jaws of Life,” he said.

“It’s a flat stabilizer that goes on the ground, and while using the Jaws of Life to lift the vehicle up it keeps it stable.”

Duckworth believes such a tool would be beneficial to Ridgefield firefighters.

“When we have two firefighters on an engine that already has the Jaws of Life, instead of having to call another engine, I as a captain can step off, tell the driver to grab Jaws of Life and put the TL-9 on the ground,” he said.

Duckworth said he doesn’t know if the purchase of the TL-9 will be included in this year’s  budget.

“It’s relatively inexpensive, and I hope it’s something we might include in our rescue toolbox in the future,” he told The Press.