The Edmond Sun

March 19, 2013

Firefighters hone vehicle extrication skills

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — It appeared to be a real-life scenario: A three-car crash with injuries. The sooner rescue personnel could extricate the victims and get them on their way to advanced medical care the better their chances of surviving.

Edmond Fire Department personnel tackled the drill as if it were real, said Fire Maj. Joe Elam. Earlier, Elam had set up the scene at the agency’s regional training facility, located near I-35 and Covell.  

The Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team consists of highly skilled rescue technicians, firefighters trained to respond to a variety of special situations including: Collapsed buildings, trench cave-ins, high angle rope rescues, swift water rescue, confined space emergencies, heavy machinery and transportation incidents, flood rescue and vehicle extrication.

Elam said the Technical Rescue Team utilizes a special trailer that includes many specialized tools for most situations that may be encountered including freeing citizens trapped in a vehicle.

The extrication process includes protecting the accident scene, patient triage and assessment, securing the vehicle to prevent unexpected movement, opening the vehicle and removing a section of the vehicle to gain access to the victim.

In life-and-death situations, seconds count, and firefighters take advantage of training to sharpen their skills, Elam said.

Tools of the trade include spreaders and cutters, vehicle stabilization tools, axes, rams, hack saws and long boards.



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