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Firefighters Train For Removing The Injured From Car Wrecks

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What were once functioning vehicles now have shattered windows, roofs peeled back and doors ripped away.

Twenty-eight Dalton and Whitfield County firefighters recently used hydraulic equipment -- commonly known as the "Jaws of Life -- and other equipment during a two-day training exercise to learn faster and more effective ways of rescuing individuals from wrecked vehicles. The efforts were part of First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) training at Ken's Carstar locations on Cleveland Highway and Thornton Avenue.

Representatives from Holmatro, a rescue equipment company in Atlanta, provided the tools and demonstrated their proper use.

Chief Ed O'Brien with the Whitfield County Fire Department said the hydraulic equipment can generate up to 10,000 pounds of pressure that can be used to cut open cars. Firefighters also used sawzalls, an electrical reciprocating saw, during the training.

Eight 2005 to 2016 model vehicles were donated by State Farm. Dalton agent Brandon Combs said he believes it's important that firefighters learn to "get in new cars faster and more effectively."

"The evolving car industry safety standards change every year," he said. "The training these guys get based on older model cars is kind of obsolete compared to what's coming out."

In the past, firefighters trained on 1980s and 1990s model vehicles. A lot of the extrication training was on "mostly older cars in junkyards," O' Brien said.

Ryan Robbs, an engineer with the Whitfield County Fire Department, said the training was a great way to improve techniques.

"We learned to check airbag location, compression gas tubes and safety procedures in scenarios of where patients might be," he said.

Robbs said firefighters try to go by the "golden hour," which is the time from an emergency call to getting an individual to the hospital.

"Anytime we get on the scene, life is always priority over property," he said.

Jamie White, owner of Ken's Carstar, got the idea to host the training after seeing the training at a meeting in Ohio.

"It's an event through the National Auto Body Council that allows local firemen to properly train on newer cars," said White.

The firefighters also learned about new metals such as boron steel, high strength steel and aluminum; where to cut on vehicles; and airbag and restraint systems.

Lt. Chad Young with the Dalton Fire Department said the training on newer model vehicles is "definitely appreciated."

"A lot of times we don't get to cut on them because they aren't salvaged much," he said.

White said he wanted to see the firefighters receive good training. He's hoping to host at least two trainings a year for firefighters. ___

 

This article is written by Shaka L. Cobb from The Daily Citizen, Dalton, Ga. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.