Firehouse Sub grant

Enterprise firefighter Matt Odom demonstrates a new extrication tool his department received through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

Seconds and resources matter when emergency personnel respond to an automobile accident, which is why the Enterprise Fire Department is celebrating a recent Firehouse Subs grant.

The fire department unveiled a new extrication tool, used for freeing people from car accidents, Monday in front of the local Firehouse Subs. The restaurant chain’s foundation awarded Enterprise the nearly $23,000 needed to cover the cost of purchasing the tool, which is colloquially referred to as “the jaws of life.”

“We respond to about 150 motor vehicle accidents on a yearly basis,” Enterprise Fire Chief Byron Herring said. “Out of those 150, there’s about 20 percent of them that someone has to have some type of extrication assistance. That doesn’t always mean we have to cut the door off or the steering wheel off, but if they have to be assisted in any way, that’s considered extrication.”

Herring said the new tool gives the department four extrication devices, or one for each fire station once the new fire station near the Enterprise Municipal Airport is operational. That would improve the department’s response time in critical moments.

“This equipment will allow us to have some of the best equipment that money can buy on all lead fire engines in the city of Enterprise,” Herring said. “We should be able to have a fire engine on the scene in three to five minutes. Seconds and minutes can be very valuable when you’re in a situation where it’s life and death.”

Chris Holmes, representing the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, said departments can submit grant requests for equipment, and the requests are reviewed quarterly. Each quarter, the foundation awards between $1 million to $1.5 million nationally and internationally.

Holmes added a bulk of the money is raised through sales of pickle buckets, the chain’s “round up” program and donations of change in buckets at each store’s cash registers. The “round up” program allows people to round their total bill to the next dollar and donate the difference.

This is the second time the Enterprise Fire Department has received a grant from Firehouse Subs. The department also purchased an all-terrain vehicle in 2011 in order to respond to emergencies in places where fire engines may not be able to reach, such as wooded areas.

The local Firehouse Subs, managed by franchisees Gene and Paula Yager, has also helped secure grants for the Elba and Samson fire departments.

“I feel very fortunate to operate a small business in the city of Enterprise,” he said. “I grew up here and feel fortunate I am able to share back to a community that made me happy. I’ve been very fortunate, and I’d like to give back to the community that helped me be fortunate.”

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Follow Jeremy Wise on Twitter @DEwiseTrojan.

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