Taking place at the
Howard said he stages accident scenes for the firefighters to follow. When they show up, they can be greeted by anything from a car wrapped around a tree, to one sitting upside down or on its side, to one with a full fledged utility pole speared straight through.
"The worst case scenario. That's what I do with them," Howard said.
The cars are provided by
The equipment that the group is training with comes from America's Bravest Equipment, with company representative
The first step, Howard explains, is stabilization. The scene cannot be safe enough for crews to work if the vehicle is in danger of rolling over, or falling down an embankment, or whatever else could happen to it based on its position and location.
Very rarely does a vehicle extrication take place on a nice clear, flat surface, he said. Firefighters are taken through the process of making sure the vehicle is stable before they can work with it.
During actual wrecks, the crew have many more things to worry about as well, Howard said. The vehicle could be spilling fuel -- thousands of gallons of fuel, in the case of a tanker. Or, one vehicle could be blocking another.
If there's a child involved, firefighters could have to contend with an upset or irate parent. They may have to work around EMS personnel who are climbing inside the car to stabilize a patient, "starting IV's, making sure the patient isn't bleeding to death," Howard said.
There could be other environmental dangers, like live electric lines. Plus, different vehicles are made out of different materials -- modern cars have a lot of plastic, but older models may have steel. Airbags, both those that have gone off and those that haven't yet, could be another challenge.
It's up to a battalion chief to assess a scene and come up with a strategy. From there, lieutenants and captains pick the tactics they want to use to best get the task done. The firefighters doing the work are "task level," Howard said, and they might be having to do double-duty, acting as EMTs and administering patient care before an ambulance arrives.
"These guys have a whole lot to deal with," Howard said.
Firefighters have to have 240 hours of training each year. Not only does that help assure the citizens of
Last year SFD improved their ISO (
SFD is working harder every day to improve even more, Howard said.
"There's not many fire departments in the state of
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