Each year, more than 160 Spokane Valley firefighters complete annual and advanced extrication training at Pull & Save Auto Parts. In 2017, the training has focused on tool selection and use, airbags and lifting, modern vehicle components, cribbing and shoring (vehicle stabilization skills), reinforcing safety procedures at extrication incidents, providing firefighters with time and guidance to work with the variety of extrication tools, and more.
Russ Spalding, owner of Pull & Save Auto Parts, receives a plaque from Fire Chief Bryan Collins during the 2017 annual SVFD Recognition Awards event. The plaque recognizes the outstanding support given by Pull & Save to the Department’s extrication training program each year.
Thanks to owner Russ Spalding and the generous donation of vehicles and a training area at Pull & Save Auto Parts, SVFD 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.
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.
Advances in motor 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.