District, which has seen a rapid increase in calls, needs to fulfill its half of matching grant

Hubbard Fire District is raising funds for a new set of tools and equipment.

The district received a $25,000 matching grant from the Burlingham Foundation toward the purchase of new extrication and stabilization tools and needs to raise another $25,000 to cover the remaining cost.

Hubbard assistant chief Michael Kahrmann said that the district's tools, which were manufactured in 2006, are becoming outdated and no longer have the power to quickly take apart modern vehicles. The old tools are also significantly heavier than new equipment.

The district is specifically looking to replace its two sets of cutting tool, spreader and ram. The replacements are much more powerful than the station's current equipment. For example, the district's cutting tool has a cutting force of 60,000 pounds, while its replacement would have a cutting force of more than 300,000 pounds. The new set would also weigh half what the old equipment weighs.

The district did a side-by-side comparison getting into a car between the current tools and the equipment the district would like to purchase.

"We started with our tools on one side and the demo tools on the other," Kahrmann said. "There was a 22-minute difference. That's a long time."

Emergency responders have a concept known as the golden hour: If responders can get a patient to a trauma center within an hour, the patient has a much higher chance of survival, Kahrmann said. If one-third of that time is simply trying to extricate the patient from a crushed vehicle, that greatly affects the chance of success.

Kahrmann said the fire district would also like to purchase stabilization struts for securing cars and airbags for rescuing people who are pinned under a heavy object like a car or building. Currently the district uses wooden cribs to raise vehicles off the ground. Cribs are blocks of wood stacked underneath a wreck like Jenga pieces. Wrecked cars could still come off the blocks, posing a danger to emergency responders and patients. Stabilization struts are anchored to a vehicle and hold it tightly in place. Hubbard would be the only fire district in northern Marion County to possess such devices.

"We'd like to get them not only in our district but for districts we provide mutual aid to," Kahrmann said.

The district sees an immediate need for new equipment, as calls have increased each year since 2015, from 437 calls in 2015 to 635 calls last year. So far this year they've gotten 515 calls.

The district has so far raised about $9,204 of the $40,000 it needs, Kahrmann said, mainly from Hubbard volunteer firefighters and the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.

The district is also waiting to hear back on an application for a grant from the Leary Firefighter Foundation.

Should the fire district receive money from that grant, Kahrmann already has a backup way to use any donated money. The fire district's monitor, a device that shows cardiac rhythm in patients, helps with vital signs and includes an automated external defibrillator (AED), recently died.

"It costs more to get it fixed than to buy a newer version of it," Kahrmann said.

He explained that to fix it would cost $2,500, while he found a monitor that is seven or eight years newer that he could purchase refurbished for $1,700.

"Our base tax rate is low so we live bond to bond," Kahrmann said. "A lot of what I do is just write grants because that's what we survive off of."

For more information, call Hubbard Fire at 503-981-9454.

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