Londonderry Firefighters Train in Simulated Car Extrication

Londonderry firefighters completed life-saving car extrication training last week, working under the conditions they would face in real-life emergency events. Battalion Chief Jim Roger said S & S Metals Recycling of Londonderry donated two cars for the May 15 exercises, which the company delivered and put into position.

“There was a call we had on the highway a few years ago where a man was ejected from his car and the car came down on top of him. We set up a real-life accident modeled off that incident,” he said.

Using the tools they would in an actual emergency response, firefighters worked to stabilize and lift the vehicles, then spread open the vehicle’s doors, cutting steel with hydraulic rescue tools, commonly referred to as the “Jaws of Life.”

“The training worked out fantastic,” Roger said. “We did probably six revolutions of all vehicle extrication scenarios. We respond to a lot of calls for this – we have 15 miles of Interstate 93, Route 102 and all the side roads in town. The back roads have had some pretty horrific extrication calls. This training is pretty important to us.”

In addition to providing mandatory training to a probationary firefighter, the exercise served as a refresher for other officers. “These skills are perishable,” Roger said, explaining one of the most important skills to the Department is transporting a patient to the hospital within the “golden hour.”

“That means all the work on the scene has to be accomplished in about 20 minutes, that’s what we shoot for,” he said. “That’s a lot of work in 20 minutes – it takes good practice and training, and it takes good team work. It’s important we get all the battalions working as a team to cut down that time.”

S & S Metals Recycling opens its doors a couple times each year to the Department for the vehicle extrication exercises, in which all battalions participate. “Last year, we did an exercise with a school bus on top of a car and had to use heavy lifting equipment and (stabilizing equipment),” Roger said.

“For this training (last week), we went through all aspects of vehicle extrication with the ‘struts’ (supports), hydraulic tools and air and hand tools. We tried to think of every practical scenario. The guys were very enthusiastic about doing it.”

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