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The Jaws Of Life are a hydraulic rescue tool used to rip cars apart. Usually the Jaws of Life are used by firemen. They consist of a pair of metal claws that are used to spread/cut/rip automobiles apart in order to save persons who may be trapped inside.

The Jaws of Life were originally designed for race track use but have since become a tool of rescue crews everywhere.

Apparently Hurst(www.hurstjaws.com) is /the/ company for all your Jaws of Life needs.
The Jaws of Life are actually a set of rescue tools made by several different companies. This includes Hurst (who hold the trademark for Jaws of Life), Amkest, and others.

These tools are hydraulic powered, and have many different uses. There are four main types of tools:

  • Spreaders - Used to open doors by applying an unbelievable amount of pressure to the door to pop the Nader pin. We usually can open a door in under a minute with them. They are also used to do an emergency dash roll (discussed below)
  • Cutters - These are used to, well, cut things. Generally these are used when opening the door is either not feasable, or would not provide enough access. We would then cut the door posts, and take the roof off to access the patient.
  • Combination tools - these tools have both spreaders and cutters built in to them. Good for departments with not a lot of room on their fire trucks.
  • Rams - These are used to push things. Generally we would use these if someones legs were trapped under the dash. We would put one end in the corner of the door, and extend the other until it push the dash as far as we needed it to go (or as far as the tool will let us).
Besides Hydraulic tools, there are a myriad of hand tools that can be used. For example, a crash axe has a point and axe on one end, and a can-opener looking contraption on the other. Generally we can take the roof off of a car with a crash-axe, a metal hand-saw, and a jar of dish soap in the time it takes them to set up the hydraulic tools.

We have also used the tools to assist the sheriff's office with forcing entry into a house, for tearing down a swingset, and other rescues.

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