The National Auto Body Council (NABC) kicked off a cross-country campaign to highlight September as First Responder Appreciation Month with an event at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in which participating firefighters will, for the first time, have an opportunity to practice extrication techniques on the latest, all-aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 truck.
The event is the first stop of NABC’s First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) campaign in communities across the country. Hundreds of first responders are expected to participate in the unique, hands-on program designed to help save critical seconds when extricating victims in accidents involving complex, late model vehicles.
As advancements in vehicle technology, including high-strength materials such as with the 2015 Ford F-150, become more prevalent, knowing where and how to efficiently cut and extricate can make the difference in saving lives, as well as the safety of the first responders. The NABC program is unique in that it provides first responders with a valuable, hands-on opportunity to practice extrication techniques specifically on late model vehicles with sophisticated electronics and multiple airbag systems.
The 2015 Ford F-150 was recently used by the IIHS in a light barrier crash test, and is now being donated for the firefighters to practice extrication skills.
State Farm Insurance will be donating up to 50 vehicles for the 13 FREE events currently scheduled across the country. The program is provided at no cost to the participants and includes classroom training by an instructor from international rescue equipment manufacturer Holmatro on the latest technologies in vehicle design and materials.
State Farm and Audi also donated vehicles for NABC’s recent FREE events at NACE in Detroit.
“Our industry has access to the most current vehicle technical information, and NABC’s FREE program is an ideal way for repairers to share this information with first responders as a community service,” said Chuck Sulkala, executive director of the National Auto Body Council. “With limited budgets, most first responders welcome the opportunity to receive additional practice, especially on newer vehicles equipped with the most current systems.”