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Starting Out in Vehicle Rescue Training

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  • Starting Out in Vehicle Rescue Training

    Question and Some Answers about Getting Started as a Vehicle Rescue Training Officer

    "I was recently promoted to Captain in my department. Along with all of ny inhereted duties, I am in charge of extrication training. I am worndering if you can provide me with some insight as to where to begin.

    The only formal training i received on this subject is what I learned at our State Fire Academy during my recruit training.

    I am clueless as to how to even begin to develop a training schedule, lesson plans of hands-on training for the 40 members of our department.

    My Reply:

    1) You'll need to review information about vehicle rescue to make sure that you are up to speed. Visit the University of Extrication section of Firehouse.com website. Make sure you review my 'archive' articles, particularily those that pertain to skills or rescue tasks.

    2) Decide on what level you want your personnel to train to for vehicle rescue. NFPA now has a standard that addresses three levels of vehicle rescue work. Just like hazmat levels, NFPA 1670 has awareness, operations and advanced vehicle rescue levels. Purchase a copy of NFPA 1670 and study
    how you could get all your personnel to at least the Operations level of the Standard.

    3) Review your extrication equipment inventory. Make sure you have what you need for crashes typical of your district. Buy new things if you don't have them. Nothing gets the guys excited about training more than being able to use new stuff.

    4) In the Univ of X archive articles, study the "Phases of Rescue" drill series of articles. This is where you should start
    with your personnel. Explain the drill and run them through using current techniques. make sure you time everything; better yet, videotape it. Review the tasks that took too long. Run the drill again and againg until your total times are within the benchmarks set for the drill. This will get you started and let you know how you compare to the norm that is out there.

    5) Scheudle a drill where either auto delaers bring new cars to the station for you to look at or you take all your members down to the dealership. Study the new vehicles to learn about airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, construction materials, battery locations etc. This will get everyone up to speed on the new technology.

    6) Get a junk car at the station and just do some EMS longboard work with it. Patients out the doors from thefront seat and the rear seat areas. No tools are allows to rip anything apart. You have to work with what you see. This will make sure everyone is up to speed on EMS protocols related to vehicle rescue.

    7) Layout all these training sessions on a calendar, with weekly or one a month vehicle rescue drills. Make every drill lead to the next drill is the series. that way, the guys can see what the overall plan is for rescue training and how each training fits into the big picture.

    Any other suggestions from Firehouse.com readers? Please feel free to get involved and help out a brother fire officer.

    Ron Moore
    Forum Moderator
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  • #2
    Further to Ron or to support Ron-

    1) Look heavily at the phases of rescue / systems approach to RAR. This is the "guts" of RAR response. Live and breathe it at all training drills and actual calls. Learn from it, expand on it....

    2) Look at the equipment you have. Do a training needs analysis. How many calls a year do you get? What is the most common type of call? What is the most comon tools used? What is the most common techniques used? Who actually performs these extrications? Who needs further training? Who needs any training at all? etc., etc.
    Focus on the unusal- don't look at what has been done and responded to and tunnel vision on those, look at the bigger picture.RAR response is a huge area to learn from.

    3) Read, read, read. Read books, visit web sites, read forums, etc. etc.

    4) Use forums to your advantage. The biggest problems with forums is that a lot of people don't reply to posts. They have all sorts of comments on issues, yet won't share their thoughts or experiences. At the same time, don't trash other people for their thoughts- you won't learn from that and will in fact turn people off from your posts....

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Just to add a little to the pot, I recently started out conducting vehicle extrication training. To say the least it was a large task as I am sure you are aware. Seemed the more I read the more I realizied I didn't no half as much as I did. I also teach EMS which gave me some good background. Things I could recommend in addition to previous posts would be:

      1. Outside training - Their are a number of good extrication training programs out thier. I recently attended one in Kentucky for 2 days. The blend of techniques and ideas from all over are priceless. I found this to be real helpful in getting me to "look outside the box". The knoledge and confidence that I was able to gain truly helped me in setting up training for our department.

      2. Pratice what you preach - Before I teach on anything I go out and pratice with all the instructors. This way we can nip any problems with the program and also lets us brush up before we teach.

      3. Read, research, pratice, play - just try to gain as much knoledge on the topic. If you get questions you can't anwser, look it up or discuss it on the web. Try to keep up with the vehicles and information.

      Mike Dettloff


      • #4
        All excellent points. I'd only add two things:

        Stress proper stabilization. Too many classes throw out a couple of step chocks on your typical 4-wheels on the ground wreck and leave it at that.

        Build into the beginning of your series a full class on stabilization. Have cars in all different situations and positions and use all the different tools on your apparatus. Then take them all away. Put them in a position where they have to improvise and see what they can come up with - the car jack in their personal vehicle etc. Have them think.

        Do the same thing when you get to the actual extrication. We've had situations in ice storms where extrications have been performed with what we had in our personal vehicles and toolboxes because there were so many simultaneous wrecks.. It stinks but it could be necessary.

        In short, teach stabilization and improvisation/self reliance. Don't let folks rely on the fancy tools you have - you can have a run of bad luck!
        Susan Lounsbury
        Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
        Griffith Volunteer FD


        • #5
          This is a great string! All excellent points to remember.

          I might add that I often see people who start "teaching" extrication seem to stop "learning" extrication. Just becuase you are now being asked to teach others, NEVER stop attending training for yourself. This is a rapidly changing field with things like hybrid cars, side airbags. If nothing else, I have found that just the experience of working on another vehicle teaches me new things. No two extrications are the same, the more times you get to see how the vehicle responds to different evolutions, the more options you come up with for the next time you have to extricate someone.
          Richard Nester
          Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

          "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter


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