More than 160 Spokane Valley firefighters have been busy completing their annual extrication training refresher course this week at Pull & Save Auto Parts. The training is focused on improving vehicle stabilization skills, reinforcing safety procedures, and providing time and guidance to work with the extrication tools for all firefighters.
SVFD firefighters respond to motor vehicle collisions on a daily basis, providing emergency medical care to patients, securing the safety of the collision scene and, in some cases (31 in 2016), extricating drivers and passengers who are trapped inside vehicles.
Three SVFD crews (Engine 4, Engine 6 and Rescue 8) are currently equipped to respond to an “extrication” scene with a higher level of training and an array of extrication equipment – often called “the jaws of life.” This equipment is a set of tools including spreaders, cutters, rams and other specialized equipment. The tools are extremely powerful, some developing over 150,000 pounds of force. Every firefighter receives annual training in the use of this equipment and crew members who are assigned to engines carrying the extrication equipment receive advanced training several times each year.
Thanks to the generous donation of vehicles and a training area at Pull & Save Auto Parts, the Department is able to provide the quality and quantity of extrication training currently available. In 2017, we will cut up about 150 vehicles during our quarterly training at Pull & Save. The cost to tow a car to another location and haul it off when we are done is $100 per car. The provision of cars and training on-site at Pull & Save add up to a savings for SVFD of at least $15,000, in 2017 alone.
Advances in vehicle design including new steel alloys, pressurized gas airbag systems and others, cause SVFD to regularly update training and equipment. SVFD’s talented extrication instruction team works continuously to plan and provide ongoing training opportunities each year. This team includes Firefighter Matt Brodsky, Captain Jeff Fraser (Paramedic), Captain John Leavell (Paramedic), Firefighter and team lead Steve Presta and Firefighter Ben Riddle.