Well, we have had a VERY busy couple of weeks, from fires, to car accidents, to our regular meeting/training night, to TWO Saturdays for the star of our show: Vehicle Extrication training and certification!
First, we would like to thank State Farm Insurance for sponsoring this vital class for area fire departments. Many departments do not have the money to pursue this necessary training, so we depend on sponsors like State Farm and our partners at the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute to bring them to our firefighters.
Our instructor for the course was Roger Meyers. He is very well-known in our area for his expertise, good-natured ribbing, and his safety-first approach to all of the fire courses he teaches. His assistant trainer for this course was local Lincoln Firefighter and EMT, Jonathan Evans, who is an aspiring trainer for MUFRTI. His patience and reassurance were welcome additions to the class.
On 10/10/2020, we had the in-seat portion of the class. We were presented with a coursebook, visual aids, and scenarios focused around the building blocks of the vehicle extrication course.
Roger and Jonathan covered many topics including: Vehicle Incident Safety, Personal Protective Equipment, Hazards, Hazard Mitigation, Incident Management Responsibilities, Tools and Equipment, Victim Management, Passenger Vehicle Stabilization, Victim Disentanglement and Extrication, Heavy Vehicle Extrication, and more!
The whole class was engaged, paying rapt attention, knowing that one day, we might have to put these trainings and skills to use.
We would like to thank WFPD Firefighter 117 for providing pizzas for the class! It’s the little things like that which help us care for our volunteer firefighters!
Now, without further ado, on to the second half of our training: Practicals Day!
On 10/17/2020, while a crowd enjoyed the sights and sounds of Heritage Days down in Drake Harbor and on the square in Warsaw, our steadfast class of firefighters was decked out in their bunker gear and facing down five wrecked vehicles at the end of Tamara Lane by Burr King. These beauties were in all stages of incapacitation, from barely scratched (we’d fix that soon enough!) to completely mangled.
So began our venture into tearing apart cars in a careful way.
For the first car, Roger and Jonathan demonstrated numerous methods for extracting patients from inside of a vehicle. They gave us tidbits along the way which included how to fashion a window breaker out of the antenna, cutting a chunk out of the battery cables, how to do a “pull and peek” when looking for airbags (which are extremely dangerous for first responders if they did not go off during the accident), how and why to look for hydraulics in tailgates and other parts of the vehicle, partial removal of the roof, using leverage and a strap to pull the pedals off of a potentially stuck foot, and more.
After the instructional part, it was time for firefighters to do what they do best: Tear ’em up! The class was split up into two teams, with one team going at the most mangled car on site:
The other team practiced pulling an entire side off a car, rather than just the doors:
The next challenge brought the teams back together. The little red two-door coupe needed a third door to “remove a patient from the rear seat” which was a lot trickier than it sounded and we were mighty proud of ourselves when it was done! *Special thanks to Elijah (Wreck-it Ralph) who was inside the tiny car, working on it from the interior!
This brought us to the final car of the class, a little blue sedan. We were just getting into learning how to “tunnel” a car when suddenly, tones dropped on a real brush fire and a quarter of the class had to hop in brush trucks and head out to do the other thing firefighters do best; fight a fire!
But wait, there’s more! Shortly thereafter, tones dropped on ANOTHER call, which took another quarter of the class out onto a real call!
“Tunneling” a car is a method used when a vehicle’s front half is wedged under something (like an 18-wheeler) and access through the sides is impossible. These tend to be used in recoveries, rather than rescues.
The best thing we saw was the effort of all of the remaining firefighters from other stations (and the few remaining from Warsaw) cleaning up and ensuring that the WFPD’s equipment got back to Station #1. While the items may not have made it back on the correct truck or in the right compartment, all items WERE accounted for and returned (to the best of our knowledge). The firefighters even cleaned up parts and pieces of the totalled vehicles, down to the broken glass (as much as possible with brooms and dustpans, anyway!) and busted doors.
We learned so much over the two-day course, it would be impossible to list every little nuance here, but we hope you enjoyed the look into our Vehicle Extrication training!