Fire training a reminder to be safe on the road

by BETH ALTENA

TOYS OF THE TRADE—Firefighters use the Jaws of Life to open the side of a car. Among tips firefighters learned was to be careful to put the Jaws against the solid components of the vehicle. If they only engage the body of the car, the door is torn apart but the structure remains unaffected.

BREAKING GLASS—Before breaking a vehicle’s window, firefighters would have placed a blanket over any victim likely to be sprayed by the debris.

Courtland Township Fire Chief Micky Davis used a training practice as a chance to remind the public that cars are not a mobile shield of armor and to always be vigilant about safety while driving. On Thursday, May 26, Courtland and Montcalm firefighters used a car donated to the department to practice techniques to release people trapped in cars. The practice took place in the parking lot of Courtland Township Hall, 7450 14 Mile Road (M-57).

Davis described to the other firefighters the importance of disconnecting the car’s battery during a rescue. He said making sure the airbags don’t deploy during the extraction is important. He advised putting a blanket over victims before breaking glass or if they are in a position to be injured by the rescue process. Davis was especially happy to work with a new cutting tool with the flexibility to turn in tight places. That piece of equipment normally costs $4,000 new, but the department was able to obtain a demo for considerably less.

Another new piece of equipment for the department is a new electronic light system that can be activated either from the fire station or the Rockford Ambulance substation located next door. When a call for service comes in, firefighters or paramedics are able to activate a sign board on the road, warning drivers that rescue vehicles are entering the roadway. According to Davis, it is another safety factor for the first responders and was purchased and installed by the Kent County Road Commission.

After the demolition, which included opening all four doors, breaking all the windows and taking the roof off the car, Davis had it displayed in front of the township’s sign with the message “Your Safety First.” Davis said he also plans to have a message warning drivers not to text while behind the wheel. He said texting while driving has become a major problem in recent years.

 

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