Drilling, building, and saving lives

Marrying the cars / Rheya Spigner

Over 30 firefighters from ten counties in the Southwest Georgia Chief's Association were at the Albany Fire Department Training Center Saturday to learn vehicle crash management.

Firefighters learned how extricate people from vehicle crashes without further harm to the victim.

The trainees learned techniques including "marrying the car" which consists of placing two cars together in order to safely take someone out. They also learned the difference between tempered and laminated glass. Lastly, they learned how to remove persons and open gateways in cars with a tool branded "the jaws of life." Other techniques learned were called "tunneling", "stabilizing the vehicle" and blow outs.

Multiple stations were set up to help with the training session. One station focused on "tunneling", where a tunnel is built inside the vehicle to remove victims; another station dealt with the "blow out" where car doors are removed to get the victim out. The last station was for learning how to stabilize vehicles in order to keep the victims spine aligned before removal.

Rob Bryan with the SOWEGA Chief's Association says for every structure fire in the country there are 20 crashes, that ratio is similar in Georgia and the Association wanted to make sure they focused on vehicle safety and victim extrication. He said, "They can go back to their departments and train other guys at their departments so they can help more guys get better trained for the citizens of South Georgia."

The training was held on the Albany Fire Department training site and the program was hosted by Municipal Emergency Services.

Rescue Tool Specialist, Tom Winkler, with MES says crashes need to be taken more seriously. He adds it's not an "accident" because crashes can be prevented, and the idea of a crash is almost second nature in the United States.

The firefighters complete their training on June 1st.