STILLWATER, Okla. – Meridian Technology Center is helping area volunteer firefighters learn how to save lives.
Using state-appropriated volunteer firefighter funds, the school recently helped the Perkins Fire Department cover the cost of a 16-hour vehicle rescue technician training course that equipped attendees with the skills they need to rescue people from serious crashes.
More than 20 volunteer firefighters from across the state recently attended the two-day training. Communities who sent representatives included Perkins, Carney, the Iowa Tribe, Tonkawa, Shawnee and Enid.
The first day was held at the Perkins Fire Department and covered content such as understanding the vehicle rescue environment, new vehicle technology and patient care. The second day provided attendees with skills to size-up a scene, stabilize a vehicle, safe lifting and cribbing techniques to overturn a car or truck, and extrication techniques.
Perkins Fire Chief Joe Barta describes the course as one the most critical training firefighters have.
“When it comes to working automobile accidents, vehicle extrication is extremely hazardous, not only to the rescuer but to the victim as well,” he explained. “At that moment, you are the most important person in an accident victim’s life.”
Since there is not a lot of time when it comes to working with people who are critically injured, Barta indicated that rescuers need to be familiar with the layout of the car so they can safely stabilize the victim. This means they have to know where the airbags are located, where the battery is housed, and be familiar with the car’s wiring.
“If there’s a victim trapped in a car, you actually don’t remove the victim,” Barta explained. “You remove the car from around them. This might mean that you remove the top, take the doors off or even roll back the dash. The techniques used will vary on the situation. Rescuers have to work quickly and efficiently because lives are truly at stake.”
The second day of the training provided an opportunity for attendees to gain valuable hands-on experience with the extraction tools to learn the most efficient methods to clear the way for rescue. Gary Carnes, owner of Okie Motors in Stillwater, donated his business’s space and provided salvaged cars for the training as a form of community service.
Rena Hines, Director of Adult Training and Development at Meridian, coordinated the session and secured the state funds to offset the cost of training. Instructors from the Fire Services Training department at Oklahoma State University delivered the content.
“The effect of these classes has real impact,” Chief Barta concluded. “On a scale of one to 10, they rank about 15. They truly save lives.”