Eleven local fire departments have received grants from steel giant ArcelorMittal to purchase rescue tools for serious crashes, and Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer told the Region News Team his department was able to buy equipment that lets responders cut through the new higher-strength steel being used in vehicles now. [Munster firefighters using new equipment during a recent demonstration in Lake County/Photo provided] Here in Northwest Indiana, advanced steel grades are developed and tested at ArcelorMittal's facility in East Chicago, while the Indiana Harbor and Burns Harbor steelmaking operations produce these steels for the North American auto market.
The Highland Fire Department purchased the Champion PW-65-5 Honda SIMO power unit and the SC 11M-10 beast cutter spreader through a nationwide ArcelorMittal grant program to support fire departments located in communities where the steelmaker operates.
“In an effort to provide optimal safety to both the driver and passengers, today’s vehicles are constructed with advanced steel grades,” explained Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer. “In severe crashes, an extraction – or disentangle exercise – is often required to remove passengers from a vehicle due to crumple zones designed to minimize intrusion to passengers.”
“All the fire department chiefs here today are so appreciative of ArcelorMittal’s support so we could purchase equipment, which will allow us to efficiently and effectively respond to severe crash scenarios,” added Timmer. A demonstration of the new equipment was held at the Highland Fire Department this week.
“Above all else, the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate is our number one priority,” said Les Swanson, process manager of fire protection for both ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor and Indiana Harbor. “This grant supports our health and safety focus and also aligns with our company’s franchise business of automotive. Here in Northwest Indiana, advanced steel grades are developed and tested at our R&D facility in East Chicago, while our Indiana Harbor and Burns Harbor steelmaking operations produce these steel solutions for the North American auto market.”
ArcelorMittal is the leading steel supplier to automakers throughout the world, with about 17 percent of the world’s automotive market.
ArcelorMittal provided funding to 21 fire departments in U.S. communities where it has operations to upgrade hydraulic rescue equipment.