Firefighters Train to Get People Out of Vehicles Safely - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Firefighters Train to Get People Out of Vehicles Safely

HANFORD, Wash. -- Firefighters from all over our area got a chance to practice the craft of extrication Saturday at the HAMMER facility in Hanford. The firefighters had 20 cars they could use to practice the different ways of getting patients out of their vehicles in case of a serious motor vehicle collision.

Extrication instructiors taught students to deal with a variety of accidents, all while making sure the patient stays safe. And firefighters say that training events like the one on Saturday help firefighters see new possibilities on how to help people in motor vehicle accidents.

The Hanford Fire Department's Fire Operations Manager Steve Ingram says, "It opens their eyes to new ways to get access into vehicles."

Instructors say that it is important to train before an actual accident because once firefighters are on the scene, time is critical. Extrication instructor Jeff Pugh says, "Time is of the essence. Its about getting the patient into the hospital within the hour."

To get th extrications done fast, firefighters can use a variety of tools, like axes, jacks, and saws. They say each situation is different and requires a different strategy and that most normal training doesn't allow you to practice this many different types of car wrecks.

Randy Garcia of the Gleed Fire Department says, "Usually when we train there are only one or two cars and you can only go through so many scenarios."

Some of the cars were on their sides and some upside down but firefighters in training say each scenario taught them something important. Instructors at the training Saturday say all firefighters should have the training and that it could save hundreds of lives.