February 25, 2022 — This week all of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District team had the opportunity to brush up on vehicle extrication basics during hands-on training sessions.
Vehicle collision responses can range from simple to complex responses and use a myriad of disciplines including protecting responders on the crash scene, size-up and scene management, vehicle stabilization, victim access, controlling hazards (such as leaking fuels, vehicle specific hazards, and other safety concerns for responders), disentanglement, and extrication of victims using a variety of tools. Many of the tools that firefighters use in an extrication process are highly specialized and high-value assets. These tools can also be dangerous to the responders if used in an unsafe manner. Responders need to be proficient in the use of these tools to meet time-based victim removal objectives — to get a victim from a trauma scene to definitive care within the "golden hour".
Fire engines within the District carry a "rescue heavy" compliment of vehicle collision focused equipment which can include: stabilization strut systems, pneumatic air bags for lifting heavy objects, battery operated hydraulic rescue tools, and gas-powered rotary saws. The battery operated hydraulic rescue tools carried on each fire engine include Hurst "Jaws of Life" eDRAULIC spreaders (for lifting and spreading), cutters and an extending ram. The rescue heavy compliment of equipment is an enhancement to normally offered fire engine capabilities. All of these tools have a variety of applications and are accompanied by other similarly dynamic tools on the fire engine.
The El Dorado County Fire Protection District is grateful for the hospitality of Extreme Towing in Diamond Springs and their contribution of vehicles to be used during this training. The skills practiced by firefighters will directly influence continued competency in vehicle collision responses throughout El Dorado County.