Munford-Atoka Firefighters Complete Vehicle Extrication Course Offered by FCTRT

Today’s world is constantly changing.  So it comes as no surprise that the tools we use in our day to day lives are forever evolving as well. Our technology is progressing at a blinding rate in order to meet the needs set forth by today’s high tech society. Most, if not all of the new gear and gadgets on the consumer market are designed to make our lives easier, more organized, and most importantly, safer.

The automotive industry is a field that has seriously taken off when it comes to embracing new technology. Today’s cars, while appearing similar to their ancestors, truly are a whole new beast. The cars now coming off the assembly line are specifically designed from the frame out to protect their drivers under extreme circumstances in the event that tragedy happens. Air bags, secondary restraint systems, and crumble zones are common place in modern vehicles and have made high impact collisions much more survivable for occupants. In fact, not only has the auto industry strived to protect its drivers, it is also attempting to embrace new technologies in order to make their vehicles safer for the environment. Hybrid and alternate fuel source vehicles are no longer a rare oddity, but have become common place on our streets. While all of these advancements in vehicle construction are a wonderful thing, they don’t truly take into consideration what happens after an impact.

“Most people don’t realize how all of these technological advances have seriously changed the way we approach a car crash,” said Brian Barron; a Lieutenant with the Fayette County Technical Rescue Team. “Many of the same safety features that have been installed in a vehicle to save the occupants life in a collision can seriously jeopardize the lives of rescuers after a wreck. Airbags, explosive seat belt retentioners, and even alternate fuel sources all add to the degree of difficulty involved in disentangling an occupant in the event that extrication is required. The only way we in the rescue industry can truly prepare for this new reality is train on new construction, and to constantly re-evaluate what it is we are doing on scene.”

Chief Alan Barkelew of the Munford-Atoka Fire Department agrees. “It is extremely challenging to try and keep up with all of the new technologies out there being implemented by the manufactures. However, with continuing education courses and hands on training, hopefully we can continue to stay ahead of the new trends.”

It was this common mindedness of these two agencies that lead the Munford-Atoka Fire Department to recently enlist the Fayette County Technical Rescue Team to teach a vehicle extrication course for their Department. The class, which is certified through the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads, was taught over the course of three Saturdays and included both class room instruction and extensive hands on training. Over two dozen Munford Firefighters were certified after passing a written test and learning a number of techniques for both the stabilization of a wrecked vehicle and for gaining access to the passenger compartment after an impact. The course also offered a number of blocks of instruction on identifying and neutralizing threats and hazards associated with alternate fuel sources and modern construction methods. At the end of the class, the Firefighters got the chance to test their newly learned skills through a series of real world scenarios which were specifically designed to emphasize the practical application of new techniques.

“We are extremely pleased with the class,” said Chief Barkelew. “It’s a well designed course and all of the FCTRT’s instructors were very knowledgeable and open to questions and suggestions. Our Department has taken a number of extrication classes in the past but this one was by far the most professional. The material covered a great deal of our communities’ needs and was very informative; especially where new construction techniques are concerned,” he said.

“Training is paramount for being prepared when a real world call actually goes out. You don’t want to be on a back road at 3 a.m. in the morning with pouring down rain to be the first time you have been exposed to these new cars,” said Major Brandon Bagwell; the FCTRT’s Executive Officer. “That’s the main reason we were so glad to make the trip from Fayette County to come teach this class. We believe very strongly in our continuing education programs and I’m convinced of the benefit this course provides to the students. It is our goal to reach as many first responders in the region as we possibly can, and hopefully we can pass on new information to them that might one day save a life. The Munford-Atoka Fire Department is extremely proactive in their training which is the right approach to take. We will continue to work with them and to continue to build on our cross county relationship. After all, we as rescue personnel are in this together,” he concluded.

For more information about the Munford-Atoka Fire Department please visit their website at www.munford.com/firehome.html and for more information about the Fayette County Technical Rescue Team please visit their website at www.technicalrescueteam.com or visit their Facebook page.