In Roscoe, a telephone pole crushes the roof of a vehicle, trapping the driver inside. Firefighters from all over the region have minutes to get the passenger out safely before judges critique their work.
Crunch Time Vehicle Extrication Learning Symposium. This three day event takes eight rescue teams from Illinois and Wisconsin, and trains their new personnel to more efficiently help victims in dangerous situations.
"Who's going to benefit the most is the communities they serve. They're going to be better prepared, better trained." -says Crunch Time Vehicle Extrication Learning Symposium Chairperson Lt. Mike Huffman.
Teams have 20 minutes to assess the situation and free passengers. They're judged on knowledge of their tools, how well they work together, and how safely they retrieved their patients. These are skills that one long time firefighter says are better learned early on.
"If they're brand new that's the best time, before they've developed any mistakes. If you get somebody who has been at it for a while, they've developed mistakes, you have to debrief them, re brief them, re-educate them, and that's usually the hardest part. It's hard to get rid of old, bad habits." -says Hurst Jaws of Life National Training Specialist and Midwestern Regional Manager Larry Anderson.
Hurst Jaws of Life supplied some of the equipment firefighters used Sunday, along with other equipment vendors giving rookies experience working with hydraulic rescue tools like spreaders, rams, and cutters. Each team takes two turns, one in a limited pit, where they can only use hand-tools, and the other in an unlimited pit where hydraulic equipment can be utilized. One participant says a crucial skill is needed for both scenarios.
"Communication is probably one of the biggest things we have to work on, on a continuous basis." -says Batavia firefighter Chris Davison.
The weekend's training exercises were held at the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District's Station # 3. North Park FPD won the competition overall, with Southern Kane County in second, and the Town of Madison Fire Department in third.
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