BEND, OR -- Bend Fire has new tools for firefighters to better respond to serious construction accidents and car crashes. A 12-person crew trained Tuesday with a hand-held metal band-saw and other tools purchased with money from a nonprofit foundation. "This is our Rescue Team; these are our specialized trained folks in rescue, extrication, confined space, swift water, all those things. These guys do it all," says Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe.
In one scenario, they worked to free a mannequin from a piece of rebar at a construction site. They also tried to save a dummy trapped in a car, impaled by debris. "These kinds of scenarios are not that common, but they’re really significant and they’re really hard to deal with unless you have the right tools. So, these are entrapments in cars that might not be resolved with the Jaws of Life." He says if someone becomes impaled by debris during a car crash, "The Jaws of Life aren’t going to do anything. We need to be able to keep that piece in the person when we go to the hospital so it can be removed surgically. But, we’ve got to be able to get them out of the car with that intact."
The tools are so new, firefighters were taking them out of their packaging to use at Tuesday's training. Howe says the Rescue Team will now take the newly-gained knowledge back to their individual fire stations, "So, when we show up, it doesn’t matter if they’re here or if somebody else is on duty, they’re going to be able to handle it."