With more cars on the road in Chula Vista, emergency crews are responding to crashes in the city at least once a day on average.
The South Bay city was recently listed among the top 20 worst commutes in the U.S., having seen a 15% increase in traffic in the last five years. With that many more drivers behind the wheel, car crashes in the city have significantly increased.
Emergency personnel have to extricate people from their cars after crashes in Chula Vista at least once a day. Over the past three years, more than 1,500 people have been trapped in their cars after a crash and required the jaws of life, according to a study by the Chula Vista Fire Department.
“That's more than once a day where somebody is trapped and our firefighters are having to go in there and rescue, extricate them, and stabilize them to go to the hospital,” said Darrell Roberts, President of the Chula Vista Firefighters Association. “Those are significant numbers."
The equipment used by crews in Chula Vista is not able to cut through the newer material so easily, so the fire department conducted a study and applied for a grant that would provide crews with better tools.
"Cars these days are made out of tougher, more protective materials than they were even 10 years ago, which is good for you or I, but can pose some problems for emergency crews trying to get to victims when they're in involved in a serious crash,” said Capt. Linda D’Orsi of the Chula Vista Fire Department.
Right now, it takes emergency crews about 30 minutes once they’re at the scene of a crash to extricate the victim and get them on their way to a hospital. Authorities are hoping that with new equipment, that time will shorten to 23 minutes.