Decatur County Fire & Rescue sharpens skills at victim crash course

Published 3:21 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

This past weekend, Decatur County Fire and Rescue hosted a 2-day, 16-hour crash victim extrication course at Chapman’s Towing and Recovery.

Captain King explained that the class takes place every two years, so veterans can be recertified and new trainees can learn the basics of extrication.

The first day consists of classroom lecture, while Sunday the firefighters get hands on experience. They get to practice removing doors, windshields and the roof of the car, performing a dash roll, using hand tools and hydraulic tools and practicing with hydraulic spreaders and cutters, otherwise known as “Jaws of Life.”

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King said one of the main things they learn from this class is to always take the car away from the patient, never the patient away from the car.

“You never know what could be wrong, the patient may have a spinal injury so you never want to rush to move them,” King said.

These lessons and other practices made the class beneficial for the four new members of the team, who had never performed extrication before.

“They were anxious of course, but they did good in the junkyard,” King said.

King has explained to the rookies that while everything went well in the junkyard, the scene can be entirely different, because adrenaline and other emotions kick in and they just have to learn to control their nerves. He promised them that it comes with time and the more they perform the better they will be.

The firefighters also worked to use the vehicle’s wiring to deploy the passenger-side air bag and get a first hand look at what happens when the accident takes place. When there is an accident, the air bag deploys in a fraction of a second.

People often confuse smoke coming from the air bag after the crash, but firefighters showed that is actually talcum powder from post-deployment that helps keep the bag free of moisture when it is stored.

King is thankful to the Fire Academy for putting on the course and showing everyone the basics of extrication and the inner workings during an accident.