The vehicle stabilization and extrication training also gave the department a chance to learn about new technology available to assist rescue squads in those cases.
Mike Mitchell from Advanced Rescue Solutions brought a system of poles that can be used to stabilize the vehicle in order to make the extrication safer for the victims and rescuers. The poles are compact and easy to include in fire and rescue gear, without taking up much space or adding weight to the rescue vehicle.
The poles anchor the vehicle to the ground and brace it to prevent movement. In addition to making that a safer situation for rescuers to move into, Mitchell said it also prevents further injury to those in the vehicle who could be jostled during the rescue attempt.
“We don’t have anything like this and it’s something we need,” Fire Chief Chris Edwards said. “I’ve had my eye on a vehicle support system for some time. It would be a much safer scene for our guys to work in.”
Edwards said the department works approximately 50 wrecks a year and estimates five to 10 of those are serious enough to warrant that type of system.
“There have been cases in the past where we couldn’t stabilize the vehicle and the victims expired before we could get to them,” Edwards said.
Edwards added that the department recently added a wench to the rescue truck, which can also be used to assist in stabilizing the vehicle, but often more support is needed.
Last fall, the department was called to a wreck on Sharon Boulevard that involved an SUV turned on its side. The department was unable to stabilize the vehicle adequately and called neighboring Sumiton Fire and Rescue to assist and remove the victim to safety.
“We’ve been fortunate that they will come help when they aren’t out on a call, but we can’t always rely on Sumiton or Yerkwood for help,” Edwards said. “Having our own equipment and stabilization poles would have made it safer and allowed for a quicker response.”