What Are The Jaws of Life: All That You Need to Know

Accidents have claimed many lives. Not because the victims couldn’t have been rescued, but because some of the rescue measures were time-wasting. Others led to further complications that resulted in fire outbreaks and other deadly occurrences.

Driven by the urge to find a better solution, George Hurst invented the jaws of life in 1961 to remedy the limitations rescue teams faced during their missions. You may be wondering, “What are jaws of life?” This article is a corpus of everything you need to know about the equipment.

What Are The Jaws Of Life?

what are the jaws of life used for

The jaws of life tools are special equipment with hydraulic fluid used for extricating victims of accidents from compressed areas, especially during a fatal car crash.

You can use hydraulic rescue tools in various emergencies. However, firefighters use them most, especially during fatal car accidents that lead to complications such as compressions of sheet metals, etc.

Unfortunately, some accident victims die due to delays in the rescue process. Others died due to further complications that resulted from using the wrong tools for rescue missions. The jaws of life have saved many accident victims from the “jaws of death.”

The following are some jaws of life brands that most firefighters use in emergencies to rescue accident victims:

How Does Jaws Of Life Work?

The jaws of life are designed to function with pistons, just like in automobiles. When you turn on the tool, the electrical or gasoline power source triggers and moves the hydraulic liquid into one of the pistons.

After that, the first piston pushes the second one and ultimately applies massive pressure to the equipment at once. Immediately the pressure triggers the whole equipment; the user is expected to carefully handle it to achieve the goal of its use.

What Is The Jaws Of Life Used For?

If you are wondering, “What are the jaws of life used for?” The hydraulic rescue tool is primarily used for rescuing accidents victims from severely damaged areas that compress the victims within a spot.

Firefighters and other rescue teams use the jaws of life to rescue accident victims, especially during emergency cases.

Before the invention of the jaws of life, people were used to engaging random tools – such as saw-blades, in rescuing accident victims.

Cutting sheet metal with a saw blade can easily trigger sparks that can further lead to fire outbreaks. Issues like this have complicated rescue situations and made them even graver than they were.

Why Was The Jaws Of Life Invented?

Auto crashes or collisions are deadly because of compressions that make it difficult to pull the driver and passengers out of tight spots compressions. This situation prompted the invention of the jaws of life.

If you are asking, “Who invented the jaws of life, and why was it invented?” George Hurst invented the jaws of life in 1961. It is the most suitable tool in an emergency situation that requires pulling victims out from compressed areas.

Therefore, the jaws of life were invented due to the limitations of regular random rescue tools. The equipment helps to cut iron sheets, open compressed areas, etc., to enable accident victims to come out alive.

jaws of life tool


Q: What are the different types of jaws of Life?

There are basically four different types of jaws of life hydraulic rescue tools. They include spreaders, rams, cutters, and combination tools. The four different types of jaws of life serve diverse essential functions.

The various types of jaws-of-life rescue tools are crucial equipment that can save you hours of fruitless effort when extricating people out of crashed vehicles. The rescue tools are the best in situations where you need to avoid any circumstances that may complicate the rescue process.

Snatching accident victims from the dreadful “jaws of death” requires smartness and swiftness. Otherwise, the rescue crew may worsen the case. That is why the four types of jaws of life are necessary.

Q: How many jaws of Life are there?

There are specifically four jaws of life. They are; spreaders, rams, cutters, and combination tools. These hydraulic rescue tools play different roles in achieving one purpose – to rescue stuck accident victims from badly crushed vehicles.

While the spreaders are used in cases of compressed frames of vehicles and other structures, the cutters help to cut through obstructing metals that hold an accident victim from getting out of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, the rams help to dislodge critical parts of the wreckage, which prevents accidents victim from getting out of a stuck position. Lastly, the combination tools combine both the spreading and cutting functions with just one device.

Q: Who uses jaws of life and why?

Firefighters mostly use jaws of life to rescue fatal-accident victims from extremely complicated situations where they are stuck in a crushed vehicle.

Ordinarily, regular tools like saw-blade may not be able to extricate accident victims from positions where a hard metal compresses them.

So, jaws of life are the best instruments that rescue teams, especially firefighters, use in saving the lives of accident victims in extremely severe cases like a terrible car collision accident.

Q: What can the jaws of life cut through?

The cutters in the jaws of life rescue tools can cut through plastic materials and sheet metals. Automobiles are basically made up of metals and plastics. The cutters in the jaws of the life toolset are designed to shear or cut through these materials without any obstacles.

If you find anyone involved in a car crash where they are stuck due to metal sheet compression, the jaw tools would be helpful in this case.

However, all four types of jaws of life do not play a single role in cutting through metals and plastics. Therefore, it is essential to study the different types of jaws of life rescue tools and their uses before engaging them.

Q: What is the problem with the jaws of life?

The problem with the jaws of life tool is the hydraulic liquid in the equipment. The fluid pumps through two pipes that link the equipment’s motor.

If a user fails to handle the equipment correctly, it can result in hydraulic fluid spilling. The fluid can be dangerous to the human body. Whatever part of the body the hydraulic fluid touches burns instantly and leaves a scar even after the injury heals.

The hydraulic fluid accident can also affect the proper functioning of any part of the body that happens to be a scapegoat. So, it is very vital to be extremely careful in handling the jaws of life rescue tools at all times.

Q: What is the PSI of the jaws of life?

The jaws of life rescue tools are designed with 5,000 PSI to ensure that the required pressure is released in a rescue situation. Cutters and spreaders may not be effective without the necessary level of pressure.

High pressure automatically means high performance. That means, if the jaws of life were designed with a lower pressure, they might not be able to rescue victims of the slightest car crash.

Some jaws of life have a minimum of 10,000 PSI; hence, they come with so much energy to cut and spread tough metals parts of a vehicle during a rescue mission.

Q: How much can the Jaws of life lift?

The jaws of life are designed with an incredible 19,108 pounds pulling force. Besides that, the equipment also features a cutting force up to 120,268 and a spreading force of 57,998 pounds, respectively.

The capacity of the jaws of life is such that you can trust in any situation. The tools can lift some items that you can hardly imagine possible. That is why it is fit to rescue people who are stuck in severe cases of car accidents where the victims are compressed inside the vehicle.

Q: How heavy are the jaws of life?

The jaws of life weigh as much as 40 – 55 pounds; hence, the need to be extremely careful when handling them. Handling the jaws of life can be really cumbersome if you cannot lift the tool easily.

The jaws of life weight require users to exert more upper body muscles in maneuvering the large devices. Therefore, it would be helpful if you were extra careful when using the tools to avoid any form of accidents in the extrication process.

Q: Is it easy to use the jaws of life?

The jaws of life can be pretty easy to use because of its design, allowing users to hold it with both hands. However, the size or weight of the particular jaws of life rescue tools in use is a factor that determines whether you can use them easily or not.

So, it is important to use light and easy-to-carry jaws of life rescue tools when extricating victims of accidents out of a compressed or crushed vehicle. Besides the weight or size of the equipment, it is also essential to study how to use the tools through a jaw of life video online.

Q: How much do jaws of life cost?

If you are asking, “How much do jaws of life cost?” The jaws of life rescue tools cost around $495 to $750. The tools are not really expensive compared to the roles that they play.

Nothing is too much to give up just to save a soul. Life has no duplicate; hence, paying up to $750 for the jaws of life rescue tools is worth it.

Different merchants sell the jaws of life tools online. You may want to find out the ones that fall within your budget if you intend to buy the equipment.

Final Words

You’ve just learned something very vital about rescuing accident victims through the jaws of life. So, if you were contemplating, “What are the jaws of life?” I am sure the information shared in this article will serve your service the best.

The rescue tool is such a lifesaver. It is the most suitable tool for rescuing victims of emergency situations, especially car crashes or collisions.

However, it is important to understand how to use the tool before engaging them. So, kindly take some time and find out how to use the jaws of life.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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