Firefighters Learn Heavy Truck Extrication Training

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

October 22, 2006

Thousands of calls for help go out for firefighters to knock out flames of a burning building, but firefighters also get several calls for accidents. The accidents are sometimes minor, but they can also be major. Firefighters trained on Sunday to handle them when involving heavy trucks.

Albemarle County spans more than 400 square miles. With thousands of hunks of metal with four wheels moving at different speeds-- one is bound to be in an accident.

"A good percentage of those involve heavy and large vehicles with U.S. Route 29 and Interstate-64 running through Albemarle County and Charlottesville," said Steve Hartman of the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad.

That means there is a lot of commercial and industrial traffic in the area. Firefighters have a need to be trained if an accident happens involving a heavy truck.

"The part of the county my engine company covers, we have an interstate running right through the middle of it, and an expressway. We're going to see a lot of these accidents," said Chesterfield Firefighter Rodney Duke.

A burning building gives a lot of concern to someone inside the four walls, but an over-turned truck can also give concern.

"Often times, the energies involving the accident are the doors do not open, you can access the patient, and they can not readily get out of the vehicle. That is where vehicle extrication principles come in," added Hartman.

Principles learned from this exercise which involved real-life scenarios. Working as part of the class were tow truck operators who know exactly what it takes to move a big truck.

"It's pretty much having to know where to put the straps, chains, and making sure everything hooked up stays hooked up. You know you have to be in constant visual contact with everybody involved," said Larry Sipe of the Charlottesville Wrecker Service.

The exercise sponsored by the Albemarle County Fire Department trained firefighters from several states along the east coast.


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