Firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars

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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Groups of firefighters surrounded the sides of an older blue Ford Focus in a parking lot in Cape May Court House Saturday. Some of the firefighters busted out windows of the car.

“Make sure you yell ‘breaking glass,”’ Alison Amborse of RoadwayRescue of Hunterdon County told area firefighters during a drill to prepare them for rescuing people trapped inside vehicles.

Firefighters need to make sure the rescuer inside the car knows what the firefighters plan to do in the rescue attempt and also so that the victim can be comforted, she said.

On May 5, about 25 firefighters from departments in Cape May Court House, Goshen and Stone Harbor participated in the hands-on training on removing people trapped inside vehicles. They also spent time inside the classroom Friday and Saturday learning about newer vehicles, such as hybrids, which have a gasoline engine and an electric motor.

During the summer, the number of entrapment calls increase, so K.P. Arenberg, a commissioner for Middle Township District No. 1, said he wanted firefighters to be ready.

Cape May Court House Volunteer Fire Co. may respond to three extrication calls a month during the summer, says Cape May Court House firefighter Jeff Conlin.

 Cape May Court House Volunteer Fire Co. firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars As part of the “Best Practices for Vehicle Rescue Program” last week, firefighters learned about hybrids and electric cars and the difficulties that exist in removing people from those vehicles.

But those kind of vehicles were not available for hands-on training, so older cars had to do.

That was no problem.

Bit by bit, firefighters removed pieces of the Ford Focus to simulate being able to free the victim.

Teams of firefighters used tools to remove the doors from the car. RoadwayRescue workers supervised.

With the doors off, they lowered a yellow stretcher to the driver’s side of the car.

“Whosoever’s at the head [of the victim] makes the call," Ambrose said

She told other firefighters must remain quiet unless a problem arises, such as a firefighter about to drop the stretcher.

“So one person is in charge of this,” Ambrose said.

In a calculated move, the victim – simulated by a RoadwayRescue worker – was gently pulled from the car. A firefighter held his head.

"And they're teaching us something we can pick up on," Arenberg said of the RoadwayRescue training.

The Cape May Court House fire department responds to 15-20 entrapment calls a year, and at least 30 firefighters respond, said John McCann, assistant chief of the Cape May Court House fire department.

Removing people from newer vehicles has proved a challenge for firefighters.

"And every car is different," McCann said.

New vehicles have more airbags and more gas compressors, he said.

"That's like a mini explosion," he said, if the firefighters hit a gas compressor in trying to rescue the victim.

McCann called the training "essential."

"I think it's a great experience," said Matthew DeRose, of Stone Harbor Volunteer Fire Co. He's been with that department for three and a half years.

There are some new members to the Court House fire department as well.

"They're getting a real experience," said Cape May Court House fire department Capt. Jeff Conlin.

Joe Russo, who has been with the Court House fire department for five years, said the time to learn to how to rescue people from cars is now, instead of at the scene of an accident.

 

Middle Township firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars

 Firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars

 Firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars

 Firefighters train to rescue people entrapped in cars


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