The alarm goes off, sending a shudder down the spines of first responders. An accident has happened. Frantically suiting up and jumping in the truck, the firefighters head out. Once there, they realize a person is trapped in their car. This calls for vehicle extrication.
Firefighters from Fort Bragg participated in vehicle extrication training at Ed’s Auto Salvage Linden, N.C., April 17.
Edward Schantz, owner of Ed’s Auto Service and Salvage, prepares cars to keep firefighters trained on vehicle extrication.
“We did this because we wanted to give back to the community,” said Schantz, who served two tours in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Infantry Division. “It’s our way of saying thank you for what you all do.”
The gratitude comes in the form of car donations for vehicle extrication training.
“The purpose of this training is for firefighters to conduct vehicle extrication so that they can stay proficient in emergency extrication needs,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Law, the acting first sergeant for the 95th Engineer Headquarters Firefighting Detachment. “This way they can perform life-saving tasks for Fort Bragg and other municipalities around the area.”
It takes an immense amount of support in order to keep firefighters trained.
“We’ve been lucky enough that Ed’s Auto Salvage provides these vehicles to us,” said Law. “Without these vehicles, we are unable to perform our auto extrication (training).”
Emergency situations can show up in almost any form.
“Fires aren’t as common as people think they are,” said Pvt. 1st Class Brandon Wagner, a firefighter assigned to the 513th Engineer Detachment, 30th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade. “Ninety percent of our calls are medical and most of them are vehicle accidents.”
With so many calls as a result of accidents, training must be as realistic as it can be.
“This is as close as we can get to real auto accidents,” said Law. “There are multiple vehicle accidents on Fort Bragg, ranging from a fender bender to a t-bone. This training provides them the necessary skills and the hands-on time with the tools to remain proficient.”
The training included various scenarios, the final one included a multi-car accident in which a vehicle rolled over, adding a more challenging aspect to the already demanding training.
“The task is to remove the trapped survivors by using the training they’ve gained here,” said Law.
The major aspect of this training is tool and equipment familiarization, and becoming more prepared to deploy as a team, whether in the states or worldwide, said Law.
Whether running into a burning building or using the rescue saw, firefighters train to save lives and provide comfort. The same cannot be said for the cars used for the training at Ed’s Auto Salvage.
“My favorite part of this training was cutting up the hood with the K-12 (rescue saw),” said Wagner, who made sparks fly while using the saw. “It can’t get any more fun than that.”