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First Responders Emergency Extrication (FREE) course promotes efficient motor vehicle rescue procedures for emergency personnel at the scene of an accident.
Recently, Precision Collision Auto Body in Seattle, Wash., and the National Auto Body Council (NABC) debuted the organization’s FREE program. Precision Collision hosted the course for first responders at three of its locations in late March.
NABC says that first responders, such as firemen and EMTs, need the most current vehicle information to be effective and save lives at accident scenes. The four-hour FREE course keeps them up-to-date with classroom and hands-on instruction on extrication procedures, including demonstrations in vehicle cutting techniques.
This kind of class is more important than ever given the rapid onslaught of advancements in vehicle design, including high-strength steels, passenger restraint systems, multiple airbags and the growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid vehicles, NABC says.
About 120 Seattle-area first responders took part in the programs offered by Precision Collision. Vehicle and other donations for the event were provided by GEICO, Progressive, State Farm and LKQ Corp. Enterprise Rent-A-Car loaned a hybrid demonstration vehicle.
“Having the opportunity to practice on late model vehicles at the FREE event is especially beneficial,” said Rick Isler, fire chief of the Snohomish County Fire District, who attend the event with several members of his crew. “Understanding all the new metals and vehicle design specifications is a continual challenge, including where to cut and how to cut. This program helped in these vital areas.”
Precision Collision President Greg Wright said he was proud to present the first official FREE program in his market and that the tools and resources provided by NABC made the process of hosting the class go smoothly.
“Helping out in the community is the responsible thing for our company to do,” he said. “The appreciation of the rescue community was amazing and gratifying.”
NABC can provide more information and course materials to member shops interested in presenting the program. Call (888) 667-7433 or visit autobodycouncil.org.