Firefighters Practice Techniques

NEW KNOXVILLE — The New Knoxville/Washington Township Fire Department won top honors in the extrication competition they hosted on Saturday, pulling two Rescue Randy mock victims from the back seat of an SUV after removing the doors using the jaws of life.

New Knoxville hosted Minster, Buckland, New Bremen and other area departments as part of the annual contest that coincides with the Firemen’s Picnic. All the teams used different strategies, some leaving a man back by the battery unit powering the extrication equipment, others using more muscle to pry at the doors.

The rules included a clause that if proper safety gear fell off a team would have to stop and re-secure equipment before they could proceed.

“Its a lot of fun, especially when two teams really get going at it,” New Knoxville Fire Chief Scott Schroer said.

The quickest time for getting doors off a car was accomplished by New Knoxville Two team, which took the doors off in 1 minute and 20.1 seconds.

For the SUV with the added challenge of rescuing the victim in the final round, New Knoxville One team took the first place with 2 minutes, 10.68 seconds, compared to the second New Knoxville team hitting the mark at 2 minutes, 39 seconds.

Schroer credited the win not to continuous practice, which they rarely get in New Knoxville, but to outstanding initial training achieved by sending recruits every year to a Dayton rescue school.

“They do extensive extrication training,” Schroer said. “The whole department is trained by experts from around the country.”

Though the last extrication their department completed was a year ago at the last competition, Schroer said he was confident any volunteer in his department, no matter who is called out, can do the kind of quality extrication showcased in the competition.

He did have one caveat — he said no one would ever complete a real world extrication in 1:20. In reality, when the fire department shows up at the scene of an accident, there are always circumstances that require them to be flexible and enterprising on the scene. There are always circumstances that slow down the process. Many times, the car is crushed in a way that makes a difficult cut or has landed in a ditch at an angle that creates problems.

“A minute 20 here would be three and a half minutes in the field,” Schroer said. “Needless to say, a minute 20 is a good time.”

Announcers reminded spectators that all the teams that had removed the doors had accomplished it well within what’s called the golden window of emergency services, able to get medical treatment to a victim quickly enough to give them the best possible chance of survival.