Firefighters learn new tactics for extracting victims from vehicles
STONINGTON - Firefighters from around the area and other states got the chance this weekend to meet with experts and get hands-on experience with the latest techniques in extricating victims from car accidents.
The class in "Tactical Advantage Extrication" held in the area over the weekend was the brainchild of Mount Carmel Rescue volunteer Tim Berezovske, a driver with the Baltimore City Fire Department for the past eight years.
"This is something I've wanted to do for a while, because the firefighters around here don't see that many of the newer vehicles, with the high-strength steel and other features," Berezovske said.
Throughout the weekend, firefighters from Mount Carmel, Kulpmont, Elysburg and Herndon, stood with their comrades from Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New Jersey to learn the latest techniques and see some of the new tools available.
To assist him, Berezovske assembled a super team of instructors for this weekend.
"We have Larry Anderson, who is the head trainer for Hurst, the company that invented the Jaws of Life," Berezovske said. "Isaac Frazier, runs a rescue truck on the I-95 corridor and he does this day after day. We also have Jay Hisel, from Iowa, the owner of 911tools, to teach about stabilization."
After a morning of classroom work, the class put on their gear and went out in the field - the hands-on lessons was held at Joe's Auto Body, Paxinos - and put into practice what they had learned.
At one point, Kulpmont firefighters watched as Frazier used an extrication tool, block of wood and a chain demonstrating an effective method of moving a steering wheel.
"Just by placing the wood on the windshield for leverage, then wrapping the chain around the steering column, the jaws can really give you leverage to pull the steering wheel up if a driver is pinned underneath it," the instructor said.
"This has been an excellent class," Kulpmont chief Jeff Gilotti said. "Some of the extrication techniques that we have learned have really been informative." Despite the adverse weather conditions, first rain, then sleet and snow, the class continued since it would be the same conditions they would face in real-life situations.
The final car the class was set to take apart was a 2009 Toyota Prius, donated by Geico.
"It is very different to work on a 2009 Toyota Prius than a 1999 Jeep Cherokee," Berezovske said. "Hopefully, the firefighters here will learn about the new vehicle technology and be able to apply it.
Berezovske expressed thanks to Geico Insurance for the Prius, the instructors for volunteering their time, Susquehanna Fire Supply for providing the tools and Joe's Auto Parts for the vehicles and the location.