Firefighters practice vehicle extrications - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Firefighters practice vehicle extrications

CARLYSS, LA (KPLC) - Drivers are bombarded with distractions nowadays from phones to other gadgets, and firefighters say it’s causing more wrecks – bad ones.

They say they’re turning to the tool known as ‘Jaws of Life’ more frequently to help remove trapped victims.

But they need proper training to do that.

While the vehicles may look pretty beat up, by the time Carlyss firefighters were through they looked even worse.

“We're just providing some wrecked cars that we'll usually scrap out,” said Dawn Holtzman, owner of TOPS Auto Recycling.  

It's thanks to TOPS that firefighters were able to learn about vehicle extrications on Thursday.

But firefighters weren't just learning about it, it was a hands-on training that gave them real life practice.

Instructor Todd Singletary says it's an annual training for firefighters, that's important because, “When they have a patient in the car that is trapped, time is crucial.”

Plus, Singletary says they're seeing more and more extrications on the job, especially on highways.

“So they need to be able to have the right equipment to be able to cut and remove that patient as quickly as possible, to get them transported to the hospital,” added Singletary.

It's why they need to know how to use tools like these.

“They have the cutter, they have the spreader and they have the ram which you saw where they did the dash lift. If that front dash is pinned on that person they have to use that ram to be able to lift that off so they can slide the patient out of the car,” explained Singletary.

Whether it's sawing out a window, cutting off a door, or removing the roof, firefighters need to stay up to date with ever-changing vehicles and tools.

“So as the cars change we have to stay on top of it and train as well,” said Singletary.

While it's called training, Singletary says it’s more of a refresher for these firefighters. And overall, he says, “They're doing very good.”

Firefighters say they’re seeing more bad wrecks here in part due to smaller vehicles on the roads and excessive speeding.

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.
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