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The National Auto Body Council (NABC) says its most recent community service project, the First Responders Emergency Extrication (FREE) program, has been a success. In 2010, the NABC‐sponsored events were performed in 23 communities across the country to the benefit of hundreds of first responders.
To be effective saving lives at the scene of vehicular accidents, first responders such as firemen constantly require the most current vehicle information concurrent with demonstrations of the latest extraction techniques. FREE provides this. The rapid onslaught of advancements in vehicle design, including high strength steels, passenger restraint systems, multiple air bags and the growing popularity of high‐voltage hybrid vehicles makes FREE more important than ever.
“I am proud of our efforts to get this program off the ground and running so successfully,” says 2010 FREE Chairman Michael Quinn of 911 Collision Centers. “I want to thank the shops who hosted a FREE event, the insurers who donated salvage vehicles, Lead Instructor Toby Chess, Holmatro Rescue Equipment including Bob Brown, our rescue equipment partner and the NABC committee members with whom I worked this year.”
Quinn will be passing the chairmanship torch to George Avery of State Farm Insurance for next year’s program.
“I am excited to be part of another NABC program that is a ‘win’ for everyone," says Avery. "Repairers and other stakeholders get the opportunity to give back to their community; first responders get the opportunity to perform extraction techniques on new vehicles in a safe environment. The FREE program, like Recycled Rides, assists shops in creating positive community awareness about collision repairers.”
Chess lauds the teamwork FREE exemplifies.
“It’s wonderful to have the entire industry working together to help ensure quality information gets delivered," he said. "The collision industry sees firsthand the ramifications of new materials and design. It is through programs like this that important information gets back to the folks that need it first, our first responders.”