More than 50 first responders from Evansville, Newburgh and Henderson, Ind., and surrounding cities’ fire departments gathered Feb. 9 for a demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication thanks to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) program and Lefler Collision & Glass Repair Centers.
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 FREE 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.
“Saturday was a great day with our hometown heroes,” said Jimmy Lefler, CEO of Lefler Collision & Glass Repair Centers. “It was great to see so many different fire departments come together for training with the latest extrication equipment. The new-model crashed cars with the latest multi-location airbags and safety equipment provided a realistic experience that older salvage yard cars can’t provide.”
State Farm provided the vehicles, and Genesis Rescue Systems supplied the classroom education and extrication demonstration. Other partners included P & L Rescue Services.