More than 36 responders from the Kansas City area recently gathered for a demonstration on how to extricate people from today’s advanced vehicles at a National Auto Body Council (NABC) First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) education program. The event was hosted by CARSTAR Metcalf in Stilwell, Kansas.
Fire departments from Kansas City, Overland Park, Leawood, Lee Summit, Shawnee Heights, Leawood, Eudora, Garnett, Johnson County, Consolidated Fire District 2, Northwest Consolidated, Reno Township and Metro Topeka Airport Authority attended this event.
“Hosting the NABC FREE events are a way for CARSTAR to further serve the Kansas City area,” said Steve Hahn, owner of CARSTAR Metcalf.
Four salvage vehicles were donated by State Farm for firefighters to practice “cutting” techniques.
“State Farm is proud to support this program that will help prepare our first responders to handle the emergency situations they’ll face,” said Kevin Gamble, State Farm community and media relations. “We make it our business to help build safer, stronger and better-educated communities.”
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 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.
Billy Hurt from Alex Air Apparatus and Ron Wetter from Danko Fire Equipment were the instructors at the event. The program displayed key products used to increase the speed at which occupants can be removed safely from damaged vehicles. Hurst Jaws of Life is a rescue equipment manufacturer which has partnered with the NABC.
“Our training and experience in repairing vehicles also translates into knowledge of how to ‘cut’ these vehicles in an emergency scenario,” said Hurt. “Hurst knows the tools and techniques for extrication. CARSTAR collision repair facilities know the vehicles.”