The Perry Volunteer Fire Department is one step closer to purchasing new extrication equipment.

The Perry Elks Lodge No. 407 recently presented the Perry Volunteer Fire Department with a $500 check on Sunday, Oct. 7.

“As Elks, our motto is Elks Care, Elks Share, so when we heard that the fire department only needed $500 more of the ($24,000) to get the Amkus piece of equipment, it only made sense for us to donate that last $500,” said Dave Davis, Exalted Ruler of Perry Elks Lodge No. 407.

Fire Chief Chris Hinds said the department’s current cutter and spreader, more commonly referred to as the Jaws of Life, is around 25 years old. The money from the Perry Elks will help finish the remaining funds needed to purchase a new cutter and spreader.

The current system is hydraulic, Hinds said, while the new cutter and spreader will be battery operated. He added that the department has been limited by the length of the hose or how far they can carry the hydraulic pump.

The batteries that power the new Amkus equipment use Dewalt batteries. Hinds said those batteries can be easily found at various lumber and hardware stores in case they have an issue.

“They’re extremely powerful,” Hinds said of the battery-operated equipment. “They have as much cutting and spreading power as the hydraulic ones do.”

He added that some would argue that the battery-operated equipment has even more cutting power.

The department’s current hydraulic cutter and spreader can’t cut through boron steel, which Hinds said is what the auto makers are starting to put in the vehicles to strengthen them. The battery-operated equipment will cut through that steel.

With the money raised, Hinds said the department will purchase one cutter and one spreader. If there are funds left, he added that they will purchase a ram to use with the extrication equipment.

The new equipment will be mounted inside the department’s heavy rescue truck. The current extrication equipment will be moved to a small fire truck in Dawson.

“There often is the time when you could use more than one set of equipment,” Hinds said.

As an example, he said there was a car-semi accident this past winter south of Dawson. Both drivers had to be cut out of the vehicles. The semi driver was killed instantly. It took the department around 40 minutes to cut the driver of the car out of the vehicle.

Hinds said the Perry Fire Department typically uses the extrication equipment one to three times a year. But he added having new battery-operated equipment will benefit the department.

The Perry Elks were happy to be able to donate the remaining funds to the department to purchase the new equipment.

“The Perry Volunteer Fire Department is a dedicated group of men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Perry every single day,” Davis said.

Davis said the members of the Perry lodge are dedicated to helping out in the community wherever and whenever possible. Recent projects include cleaning a portion of Highway 141, handing out drug awareness brochures at halftime of a recent Perry football game, donating to the milk ticket program at the elementary school, putting food in the hospital Blessing Box and, coming up, the annual Christmas basket program for veterans and families in need.

The Perry Elks Lodge meets twice a month at the lodge building on Willis Avenue. For more information about becoming a member, call 515-465-3791.