Fentress Co. Emergency Response Personnel Participate in Extrication Training Course

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

On Saturday, June 16th, the Fentress County Rescue Squad held its annual extrication training course final in which its members are able to certify or recertify to use extrication equipment when working automibile accidents. Students are trained in the usage of several tools, including the famed “jaws of life” hydraulic spreader, various hand tools such as saws, drills, crowbars and axes, as well as tools used to stabilize overturned vehicles like jacks and wooden cribbing.

Participants wear full safety gear when participating in the course, which includes no small amount of glass breaking. While it is easy to see why full safety gear is necessary, the extreme heat (92 degrees) on Saturday afternoon posed an additional challenge to those wishing to gain their certification.

The hands on session held at Gary’s Auto Salvage is the culmination of an extensive training course which includes 40 hours of in class training for new certifications and 20 hours for recertifications. Emergency personnel must recertify every two years in order to maintain their credentials, but the Rescue Squad offers the course each year to ensure availability to training for its members.

“You can have all the classroom experience in the world, but until you get out here and hold the tools yourself you really don’t know how to do it.” said Joe McGrogan, Captain of the Fentress County Rescue Squad.

Beyond just learning how to use the various tools, trainees must also ensure the safety of not only themselves and their fellow rescuers, but that of the “patients” that would, in a real-life scenario, be occupying the vehicles they are practicing on. They use protective barriers such as handheld backboards and medical sheets to ensure that no harm comes to any occupant of the vehicle while they attempt to gain entry. As one trainee put it, “its like cracking an egg without breaking the yolk.”

In spite of the extreme heat and intense labor of using the extrication tools, those present seemed to be enjoying themselves. “We can make a convertible out of anything out here!” said McGrogan.

The Rescue Squad wishes to extend its gratitude to Gary’s Auto Salvage for the usage of the vehicles and the premises.