More than 30 first responders from Burleson, Texas, 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 LKQ Corporation.
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 need arises to cut or pry the vehicle for rescue.
“We work with vehicles with high-tensile strength steels every day,” said Randy Wittig, director of LKQ Corporation Special Projects. “It was a privilege to connect with our local first responders and provide the opportunity to practice extrication techniques on later model cars.”
Added LKQ Site Manager Donna Winn, “The LKQ Burleson location is a large facility that gives us the ability to host a NABC F.R.E.E. event. Hosting an event is one way to give back to the community and provides first responders the opportunity to practice extrication techniques.”
Toyota provided the vehicles, and HURST Jaws of Life supplied the classroom education and extrication demonstration.