The National Auto Body Council recently held a First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.) event at Benner’s Auto Body in Cranford Township, N.J., to help ensure New Jersey drivers have the best prepared response in case of an accident.
Cranford and Westfield firefighters and first responders learned new extrication techniques on today’s modern vehicles, which now consist of electric vehicles and vehicles made from exotic metals.
“We always want to help drivers in our area be safer on the road, and helping ensure that first responders are ready with the rescue skills needed for today’s vehicles is just one important way of doing that,” said Joe O’Neil, owner of Benner’s Auto Body. “With all of the airbags, advanced technology and electric batteries in vehicles today, it is challenging for first responders to get the information and education they need to rescue accident victims. By partnering with GEICO to donate the vehicles and Genesis to provide the tools and education, we can give our local first responders the guidance they need to rescue local accident victims more quickly. We’re proud to support our Cranford and Westfield fire departments with this program.”
The NABC F.R.E.E. program helps prepare local first responder teams to rescue accident victims from these late-model vehicles. The program provides education and live demonstrations on working with high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles.
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 need arises to “cut” the vehicle for rescue.
For more information, visit NationalautoBodyCouncil.org.