Extrication Training 2019

As firefighters we are required to be trained for all sorts of incidents.
One that we see all too often is a vehicle accident where someone is trapped and we need to free them from the vehicle.
We visited a wrecking yard who agreed to supply a couple of cars and enlisted the aid of a state certified trainer to learn what to do.
We learned how to use our new Paratech stabilization struts to make sure that the vehicle wouldn't move while we were cutting it to we could get the victim out.
One of the firefighters wanted to learn how to deal with a car that was laying on its top with someone trapped inside so that was our initial challenge.

First we set a strut on each side of the back of the vehicle and secured them to each other to keep them from slipping.
We decided that it wasn't necessary to use the one that is leaning against the front wheel.
To keep the car from slipping forward we drove wedges under the front (not yet in place).
We could have secured it in other ways such as driving anchors into the ground or securing straps to the back struts.
We used lifting air bags to raise the back of the car a few inches while turning the screw adjustment on the struts to control the load if it shifted.

Then we moved in to cut the roof free from the rest of the car.
We first used a window punch to break the glass to make it easier to get the cutter in place.
We used the battery powered cutter that the trainer brought.
It was easier to use than the hydraulic tools our department has and we will be getting a set if we can get a grant.
There is no way we can afford them otherwise.
We had to make sure that we weren't cutting through air bags, seat belt tensioners, or gas cylinders used to help lift a back hatch or hood.
Just strip away enough plastic trim to see what is there.

Once the roof was free we simply slid it out from under the body.
It would have been a little harder if we had a patient and EMT laying on it but it would be easier to do that than trying to get a badly injured patient out through a window.
We also tried out our Hi-Lift jacks while we were lowering the car back to the ground.

The next job was a car lying on its side.
Same general technique, stabilize it and cut away enough to free the patient.
In this case we cut the front (A) post and and used a ram to push the dash and steering wheel away to make room to move the patient.
Here the trainer is showing what we had just cut through.

We also used the jaws/spreader to open a locked door and then tear it off.

We set up the tripod that we can use in rescue situations where someone is in a hole.
It can also be used to support something heavy overhead or to provide a change of direction for a rope being used for rescue.
Of course you should tie the legs together and/or drive stakes through them so that they don't shift or slide.

Another set of skills we hope that we never have to use but are glad we know.

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