Bluebonnet, LCRA award $25,000 grant to Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department
Department will upgrade gear for faster, safer vehicle rescues
Tanglewood VFD receives CDPP grant

Representatives from LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative present a $25,000 grant to the Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department for a new Jaws of Life set. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Savannah Hall, Tanglewood VFD supporter; Guy Hall III, first assistant fire chief; Russell Jurk, Bluebonnet Director, District 4; Sherry Murphy, Bluebonnet community representative, Giddings area; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA board member; Guy Hall Jr., fire chief; Julie Hall, Tanglewood VFD supporter; Debbie Key, firefighter and emergency care attendant; and Travis Crim, captain.

The Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department will purchase a new Jaws of Life set to help rescue people trapped in wrecked vehicles, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,375 in matching funds from the Tanglewood VFD, will allow the department to replace an outdated Jaws of Life set with a newer, more efficient battery-operated model.

“Our Jaws of Life unit is over 10 years old, and we’re having some problems with one of the main pumps,” said Guy Hall III, first assistant fire chief. “We've been trying to replace it with something that's more dependable and will cut down on the number of volunteers it takes to run it.”
The fire department is working to upgrade and expand the equipment it has on hand to better serve both residents in the rapidly growing area and motorists passing through on U.S. Highway 77.

“In the last five years, we've had several entrapment wrecks where we've had to pop a door and cut the car up to get victims out,” Hall said. “At least half of our call volume is vehicle wrecks, and the call volume is steadily going up.”

The department’s current Jaws of Life requires a motor-powered hydraulic pump to be set up on scene. The spreading arms weigh about 80 pounds.

“You have to pull off the pump, which takes two people unless you're the size of the Hulk, and then stretch out a hose connected to the tool,” Hall said. “Then somebody's got to start the pump, somebody's got to work the tool and then work the valve. It's a lot of steps.”

The new Jaws of Life will be battery-operated, allowing for easier maneuverability and quicker deployment in emergencies.

“There's no hoses and there's no pump,” Hall said. “There's just a battery. One person can walk, push the ‘on’ button, twist the handle and go to work. Ultimately, it’s better for our firefighters and better for the patient by getting them to the hospital quicker.”

The department’s new Jaws of Life will be transported on a firetruck purchased with the help of a previous LCRA grant.

“Sometimes you come from work to a grass fire and you’re stomping around in nice pants and a nice shirt,” Schneider said. “I’ve been a firefighter for 45 years, and there’s no telling how many boots, pants and shirts I’ve lost battling grass or brush fires. Now, we’ll have better protection for ourselves, and we always want to make sure everyone goes home safely at night.”

The community grant is one of six grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and LCRA through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available at