Extrications of car wreck victims was the focus of a joint training of ambulance and fire personnel on March 11.
Some 38 members of Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services and Jefferson County Fire Department practiced rescue methods and the use of different tools at four stations set up in back of the fire hall.
Ira's Sales and Service provided used vehicles, which were demolished in the exercises, and local Boy Scouts and the former fire chief served as victims.
"The training was the first in a long time of this magnitude and went very well," said Mike Lepin, assistant EMS chief.
The stations included a car fire, car rolled on its side, car on its top, and a car that had been "T-boned" by a second car, with multiple victims.
"These situations were not made up, they were re-enactment scenarios from accidents that happened last year," observed firefighter Mark Johnson.
On the car rescue with a fuel spill, Johnson said, "Cars don't explode on impact like they do in Hollywood, but fuel on the ground can ignite very quickly." So if someone is trapped in a car, it's important to have firefighters on the scene as well as ambulance personnel.
Crews practiced how to block the highway with their vehicles to provide traffic safety to rescue workers, and how to do triage when there are multiple victims (decide who to treat first).
Firefighters practiced using hydraulic rescue tools to cut cars open, and air bags to lift over-turned cars so victims could be extricated, while EMS personnel did rapid triage and treatment on patients.
"Fire, police and EMS all have our responsibilities and are interdependent on each other," Lepin noted.
He said the two groups will be meeting every other month to increase the amount of interagency training.
"Next we're going to do cardiac arrest drills," Lepin said.