The University Fire Department will honor former fire chief William “Bill” Shechter during a commissioning ceremony Friday, July 19 for a new Jaws of Life rescue tool purchased with donations made in his memory.
The ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the University Avenue fire station. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Shechter passed away in February after suffering a stroke. In lieu of flowers, his family asked that donations be made to the University Fire Department for the purchase of a lifesaving tool or piece of equipment. Shechter served the department as assistant chief and fire chief from 1970 to 1986, and later served as fire chief for the Fairbanks Fire Department and as the director of Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Services. After his retirement, Bill continued to serve the community in a variety of roles, including as commissioner for the University Fire Service Area until the time of his death.
The Hurst Jaws of Life is a highly powerful tool used to disentangle victims from vehicle crashes by forcefully removing doors and roof panels to give medical personnel access to victims, said Doug Schrage, UFD fire chief. “This piece of equipment will benefit many people, which is fitting given the years of service Shechter provided our community.”
The tool will be carried on Ladder 10, the University Fire Department apparatus at Fire Station 2, which serves the Mitchell Expressway, Parks Highway and Airport Way. Previously, the nearest Jaws of Life was at the headquarters station on the UAF campus.
ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Doug Schrage, fire chief, 907-474-7681, firstname.lastname@example.org.