Heavy Vehicle Extrication Evolution Covers Fire Apparatus

By Chris McLoone

It’s not often that we practice saving one of our own after a vehicle accident involving an apparatus. Yet, just irecently we read reports about an Atlanta fire apparatus leaving the road and hitting a pole in an inceident that involved firefighter extrication.

At this year’s Heavy Vehicle Extrication HOT class, instructors were given the opportunity to use a retired apparatus to demonstrate extrication techniques involving fire apparatus. Not only are the vehicles different, but so are the emotions of firefighters involved in teh extrication process. Not unlike, RIT, rescuing one of our own increases the complexity of any rescue scenario.

The approach to fire apparatus extrication is the same as the rest of the class–you cannot approach a heavy vehicle the same way you do a passenger automobile. There are inherently differences. And in an apparatus, there are unique challenges like the reinforced structure around the cab.

Additionally, another challenge is that we don’t often have apparatus to train on, and when we do, it’s an older truck will be older and lacking current safety features.

The plan for the evolution was to force the door, remove the door, clam shell the roof, and roll the dash—something this group of instructors has never done before on an apparatus. Before the evolution, Eric Mohr, an instructor for the class said, “I am an officer on an engine, and I sure hope that A-post is difficult to cut.”

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