Haines City fire chief part of team that created lifesaving devices

Firefighters are quick to respond in an emergency, but one local fire chief took his public safety efforts one step forward.

Haines City Fire Chief Thomas Murphy Jr. was part of a three-member team that developed four emergency medical devices used on ambulances and at hospitals nationwide and internationally.

The first was an adjustable extrication neck collar. The neck collar is used for cervical spine injuries in emergencies such as traffic accidents and hospital settings.

READ: Haines City Police Department gets newly donated protective gear for K9 unit

He started work on the adjustable neck collar in 1994 while working as a firefighter. He says he saw a need for it while out responding to calls.

"So, what we did is just come up with one that was adjustable, and you could adjust it on the patient. So, it was a much better fit and easier to use. So as a result, better patient care, better patient outcome. So yeah, some lives were probably saved," Murphy said.

Murphy was able to keep the inventions a relatively low profile until they were used in a training class.

"The first time I found out about it was when we were in a class," Battalion Chief Jacob Jimenez said. "One of the instructors said about the firefighters who invented that and how they made a bunch of money. He looked down, he goes, this is one of them right now."

MORE: Haines City’s first dog park named after fire department’s rescue ‘Ember’ who passed away

The devices are still used today and a number of variations have been developed since.

"One of the things they say is they say, you know, if you really love the fire services, you go in it, and you make it better when you leave than it was when you came in. And I guess that's what I'm doing," Murphy said.

The products are an adjustable extrication neck collar, a head immobilization device, a pediatric collar and an endotracheal holder.