The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced it recently hosted a First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) training session in the Houston area at First Choice Collision’s Cypress location. The program provided hands-on training event of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication for more than 35 firefighters from various area fire stations.
First Choice Collision was the first collision center in the Houston area to partner with the NABC’s First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) program to present this live event.
“It was not a question of whether we would or would not have this event,” said Mike Matejek, owner of First Choice Collision LLC. “As a family-owned business, we cherish our family, and if this event could help families in our community and our first responders in the area one day, we were glad to do it.”
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 and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders.
“We see firsthand what a vehicle can go through in an accident,” said Ronnie Johnston, co-owner of First Choice Collision LLC. “Metal gets pushed around in all directions. It’s no surprise people can get trapped. Giving the first responders the opportunity to practice extrication techniques is the least we can do to give back to a group of men and women who put their lives on the line every day.”
Keeping firefighters up-to-date on the latest new technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The NABC’s FREE program keeps first responders abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles were all covered in the program. The dangers for first responders if need arises to “cut” the vehicle for rescue was highly stressed.
Along with First Choice Collision’s commitment to bring this program to Houston and facilitate the event, State Farm donated five vehicles for training use, and Hurst Jaws of Life supplied the instructors and extrication demonstrations. LKQ Corporation provided the towing services along with dinner for all of the event guests.