More than 36 first responders from Tallahassee, Fla., and surrounding areas gathered recently for a demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication, preparing them to provide the best response for car accident victims in the region, all thanks to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.) program and Universal Collision, Inc.
The event took place at Universal Collision Center, Inc., on Feb. 26, where first responders from Leon and Gadsden Counties and the surrounding area gathered to help ensure that Tallahassee drivers have the best prepared response in case of an accident.
State Farm Insurance and LKQ Corporation donated the late-model vehicles. HURST Jaws of Life and Municipal Emergency Services provided the classroom information and extrication demonstration. Proctor Acura, Honda and Subaru furnished a hybrid vehicle for viewing during the event.
In crashes where minutes can spell the difference between life and death, first responders to the accident scene need up-to-date information so they can act quickly and safely. Knowing specifically where and how to efficiently cut, pry and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders.
Keeping first responders up to date on the latest new technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The NABC F.R.E.E. program helps first responders stay abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles are all covered in the program. The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid and electric vehicles and the many safety concerns surrounding these vehicles makes this program a necessity. Alternative fuel systems present different challenges when first responders arrive at the scene of an accident. Electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles have fuel systems that pose dangers for first responders if the need arises to cut or pry the vehicle for rescue.