The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation awarded the Story City fire department approximately $30,000 worth of lifesaving equipment on Wednesday.

The foundation celebrated First Responders Month by awarding more than $71,000 in equipment grants to local first responders.

Story City’s fire department received $30,940 of extrication equipment, also known as the jaws-of-life, that help improve the department’s rescue for victims in car accidents.

Story City Fire Chief Lysle Macdonald said he was completely surprised when he received the grant award letter.

“I spent about three days writing that (application) and when I turned it in, I hoped I didn’t waste my time,” he said. “When I got the (acceptance) letter, I read it over three times.”

This brand-new, state-of-the-art equipment will allow Story City firefighters to cut through materials used in modern manufacturing. It will help them get to victims in need of immediate medical attention faster, according to the public safety foundation.

Story City’s department continued the act of giving by donating their previous extrication equipment to the Ellsworth Fire Department. The neighboring fire department frequently requested help from Story City’s fire department in order to use its equipment.

Giving Ellsworth its previous equipment was a way for Macdonald to support a fellow fire department and give it the tools it needs to continue saving lives.

“It gives them something to work with and utilize,” he said. “If somebody could get a little more use out of it (the old equipment), we thought we could return the favor.”

Firehouse Subs uses the grants to support local first responders who may find it difficult to raise funds in order to purchase new equipment and tools to fully service their community, due to budget cuts.

The sandwich company estimates that the “jaws of life” can cost an average of $33,000 per set.

The Public Safety Foundation’s senior manager of development, Meghan Vargas, told the local first responders how proud she and the company are to give back to the people that keep the community safe.

“While we hope you never have to use this equipment, we are glad you will have it,” Vargas said. “You guys are the real heroes.”