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NEW KNOXVILLE — The record for an extrication using jaws of life is around one minute 30 seconds at the annual firemen’s picnic and extrication contest in New Knoxville, but firefighters will be pushing their limits on Saturday so that they will be prepared in the event of an accident.
The competition, at 5 p.m., will be preceded by an opening ceremony at 3 p.m. with food and beverages, and the sale of 600 chicken dinners starting at 4 p.m. in New Knoxville Community Park. A reverse raffle will begin at 6 p.m., while at 8 p.m. the band The Leftoverz will play.
Eleven teams will compete, including Buckland and two Lima teams as well as local departments. Firefighter Matt Newman said the competition will award training hours to participants.
“The jaws of life is actually multiple tools,” Newman said.
The device includes a spreader, and a cutter firefighters will use to cut through two doors and the pillar of the vehicle.
“It’s a chance to learn something,” Newman said.
Other attractions will be the involvement of a DARE officer, the Boy Scouts and Friends of the Library.
Also Saturday, the department is trying to secure a crash test simulator that will show the effects of a crash with and without a seat belt.
The picnic comes at the end of Fire Prevention Week, when area firefighters go into the community to try to get out the message that fires are dangerous and there are steps everyone can take to prevent them, as well as to plan what would happen in the event of a fire.
In New Knoxville, many volunteer firefighters took vacation days from their regular jobs to provide that training to kindergarten through 12th grade students.
They showed how fast a couch can burn, taught students to use fire extinguishers and fire hoses, and gave fourth graders the chance to practice climbing out a window. They also conduct a fire drill, which firefighter Brooks Mason said has increased the school’s response times by providing feedback.