MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The culmination of a week’s worth of classroom and hands-on training concluded July 13 as students participated in vehicle extrication training as part of their Emergency Medical Technician refresher course.
Students donned gear and used tools firefighters would use in the field to remove vehicle parts that would free a patient and allow him or her to be removed from the vehicle.
“It’s important for us to practice together, because we’re going to be working together on scene,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Nickeson, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron, NCO in charge of the emergency communications center. “We have to work as a team, and there’s no better way [to foster that dynamic] than through training.”
For this extrication, students wore firefighters bunker gear, which consists of three layers to protect the wearer from debris and extreme temperatures. The first layer prevents abrasive material from getting through the gear. Then the second and third layers provide protection from water and heat during a fire.
While it was important for students to know about the gear and what it’s designed to do, they also needed to know its limitations.
“For vehicle extrication, we wear our gear to protect us from sharp objects,” said Jeremy Valler, 23rd CES crew chief. “If we’re cutting out a victim with hydraulic power tools, the bunker gear will stop minor impacts from injuring you, but you’re not immortal in the bunker gear.”
While the gear provides protection, the knowledge of how the tools work and what firefighters do on scene for vehicle extrication helps keep everyone safe.
“They need to be knowledgeable about what we’re doing,” Nickeson said. “If they know exactly what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, it’s only going to make it that much safer on scene.”
Safety is the number one concern of first responders -- whether it’s keeping themselves safe or ensuring the safety of the patients they rescue.
“We have to ensure we’re all safe,” Nickeson said. “Responder safety is number one, because if you get hurt, you can’t help anyone.”