MEDFORD, Ore. – On Thursday, Medford fire crews gathered in an outdoor classroom for training at the wreckage lot behind Star Auto Body.
“We’ve got a vehicle on its side upside down. We’ve got two vehicles on top of each other and we’ve also got a larger vehicle; we’ve got a bus that’s on top of a single vehicle,” explains Training Chief Jason Blount.
On Thursday, Medford fire crews worked with crashed vehicles, some turned on their tops and even a school bus tipped on its side.
“We need to be able to stabilize the entire scene,” says Blount. “We need to be able to stabilize the car. and then stabilize the patient, before we can pull or rip the car apart out from the patient, to get them out as quickly and safely to the hospital.”
Firefighters aren’t going full speed in this exercise; they’re taking their time and studying each step of the process. This preparation keeps them on point for future calls – calls that firefighter Peterson says come few and far between.
“We go through it a couple times a year, of having major accidents with multiple patients with a car on its side, or upside down, you could have 5 or 6 or 7 go in a year,” he says.
Even though accidents like these are somewhat rare, this practice gives the firefighters a chance to fine tune their rescue skills without distractions.
“It’s nice to come out here and practice when its sunny, it’s light out in the afternoon, it’s not 3 in the morning, the car’s on its side and people screaming…you need to know what your doing so its super beneficial to come out here,” Peterson says.
The material they mastered on Thursday was all review information; the firefighters just repeat techniques using the tools on the rescue rig. Medford fire crews say they plan to practice in full speed at a later date.