The National Auto Body Council (NABC) recently held a First Responder Emergency Education (F.R.E.E.) event at CARSTAR Chilton Auto Body in Santa Clara, Calif., to teach local first responders from the Santa Clara, Oakland and Woodside Fire Departments new skills in rescuing accident victims from late-model vehicles.
The F.R.E.E. program provides education and live demonstrations on working with high-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles.
First responders had an opportunity to practice cutting techniques on advanced vehicles, addressing high-strength steel and composite materials, multiple airbags, onboard technology and changing vehicle design. The vehicles for the program were donated by CSAA Insurance, and HURST Jaws of Life provided the classroom education and extrication demonstration.
“At Chilton’s, we are proud to play a valuable role in educating these amazing individuals and showing them how to extricate drivers and passengers from today’s advanced vehicles,” said Steve Sikes, vice president of revenue operations for CARSTAR Chilton Auto Body, which has 16 locations throughout the Bay Area. “On top of that, it we end up saving lives as a result, that’s even better. We are doing something special and helping the community in a huge way. This educational session was hands-on and comprehensive and taught by Eric Sanders from HURST Jaws of Life, so we know that the participants received the latest and relevant training available in the industry.”
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.
To learn more about the NABC F.R.E.E. program, click here.