jaws of life

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By analogy with an actual jaw and the fact that this mechanical device allows the possibility of preserving the life of the victim being rescued.


jaws of life pl (plural only)

A jaws of life opening a car window
  1. (plural only) Emergency rescue equipment used to open a severely damaged passenger vehicle with a strong mechanical jaw function that forcibly pushes or pulls metal components apart, to quickly and somewhat safely extricate the trapped occupants.
    • 2005, Mary Gordon, Pearl
      Isn't there some machine used in car wrecks to extricate people called the jaws of life?
    • 2005, Chuck McCann, Short, Shorter and Shorter Stories, Volume 1, page 388
      The power of the “jaws of life” were shown first and set aside.
    • 2009, Tony Evans, Tony Evan's Book of Illustrations
      Even when drivers have had wrecks through no one's fault but their own, rescue crews still employ the "jaws of life" to get them out of trouble.
    For the most terrible of car accidents, jaws of life have to be used to extricate the injured.