Saving Lives Takes Training

By: Lindsey Ward
By: Lindsey Ward

March 10, 2007

“We run a fair amount of motor vehicle crashes. We probably average four or five a day,” said Michael Berg, with the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad.

Of those accidents each day, Berg said about one needs significant extrication .

“We have the interstate, Route 29 that runs through, and 250, a fair amount of travel, fair amount of vehicles,” said Berg.

With all the local traffic, it's important rescue workers know what do in an entrapment situation. Saturday, rescuers, locally and from around Virginia, met at the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad, to learn the all the techniques to get someone out of a crushed vehicle.

“We're following a curriculum that we've developed over the years. What we think is good practices,” said John Burress, Lead Instructor of the Saturday’s training.

Instructors set up five stations, each training students on tools and how to use them, starting with the most common all the way to the Jaws of Life.

“The vehicles that are coming out the technology is outstanding. So, we need to keep up with as much as we can is the technology in the vehicle, what is safe, what is not safe, but at the same time we need to practice those basic skills and techniques,” Berg said.

The basic skills include removing a vehicle's hood or doors, even securing a vehicle on its side so a patient can be removed. One student said all rescuers perform the same basic skills, but there can be differences.

“Everybody's got their own flair and their own perspective on things. It's really interesting to see something from a different region, that a different way to do the same thing really,” said Lt. Greg Rauch, Fairfax City Fire Department.

Training began Friday in the class room and Saturday students spent the afternoon at a local junk yard working hands on. They even used some of the vehicles from Friday night's monster truck show as demonstrations.

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