Chris Howell, NewsOn6.com
CATOOSA, OK -- Firefighters are noticing the accidents they've been called to in recent years haven't claimed as many lives. But there is a downside to that.
"The cars are made safer, the roads are made safer, so we don't use the jaws as much as we used to," said Chief Denus Benton of the Catoosa Fire Department, "so it's very important that we do as much training as possible."
Chopping apart cars with the Jaws of Life is necessary training for any fire department, but at a recent training session for Catoosa and Oak Grove firefighters there weren't enough cars.
"We didn't have the opportunity to gather as many cars where we could do some training on, and like I said that training is important," said Benton.
Willie Turner drives a wrecker and provides the junk cars for several local fire department training, but lately he's had trouble finding the cars.
"The cars are not out there like they used to be," said Turner. "The metal market around 8 to 10 months ago was really high, probably around two hundred dollars a ton for junk metal. Everywhere you seen there was signs on the corners, people buying junk cars and taking them and scrapping them and so now the cars just aren't out there like they was."
So although anti-lock brakes, airbags and cable dividers on highways have made driving safer, firefighters still need to train on extricating accident victims, and the training requires cars.
"We'd like for the public, if they have junk cars, call and donate them to the fire department," Turner said.
That would allow firefighters to continue with their valuable training in saving lives with the Jaws of Life.