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Who’s behind the tools at HURST Jaws of Life®? If you’re on the U.S. West Coast it’s regional sales rep Eric Sanders, who first learned about HURST rescue tools 30 years ago when his fire academy instructor put a Jaws of Life spreader in his hands.

“When I started at the academy, the spreader weighed half as much as I did,” laughed Eric, who studied fire science at Allen Hancock College and graduated from the Fire Academy in 1988. “Hurst has really done a good job of reducing weight while increasing strength and performance. It’s been an incredible evolution, especially with our eDRAULIC® battery-powered tools.”

Eric volunteered around his neighborhood fire station as a kid, doing odd jobs and watching product demonstrations behind the fire department until he was old enough to begin training. After graduating from the academy, he served with the San Luis Obispo County Fire Department for several years. He draws on that hands-on experience to better understand the needs of rescue specialists, fire departments and first responders.

“My past experience being a firefighter goes hand-in-hand with what I do today,” he said. “Knowing how those products are used in the field by the firefighter gives me a better perspective of what they face when they’re on the scene.”

What’s more, prior to joining HURST Jaws of Life, Eric worked with two other fire safety and rescue equipment manufacturers, so he has a wholistic look at the industry and the range of equipment needs. With that added knowledge, he’s able to work in partnership with HURST Jaws of Life dealers to make sure firefighters have the right tools to get to the patient faster.

Eric’s a guy who’s always ready to go. In fact, he was part of the Oakland USAR Team for several years, recruited as a shoring specialist to be ready to respond to FEMA emergencies. He now lives in San Diego, taking full advantage of the diverse California landscape and waterscape with pastime activities including off-road racing, surfing and boating. When he slows down, he relaxes with friends and family.

“I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to develop great relationships with fire agencies and distributors up and down the state of California and throughout the west,” he said. “My early years around the fire station were the spark for the direction I ended up going, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”