Emergency personnel train for extrication

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Amidst a collection of damaged cars, some of which were totaled in serious car accidents, emergency medical technician students with Albert Lea Medical Center learned about extrication tactics used in emergency response situations Tuesday.

&8220;The students get the experience of bad accidents without real victims and the fire department gets to practice to keep sharp on their skills,&8221; Scott Hanna, Albert Lea Fire Department captain, said.

Seven students and emergency response personnel from the police department, city and township fire departments and the ambulance gathered behind Allen&8217;s Tow&8217;N&8217;Travel for the hands-on training session.

The students were placed inside the cars with blankets over them while members of the city and township fire departments broke out the windows, removed the windshields with an electric saw and removed the roofs and doors using rescue tools such as the Jaws of Life.

&8220;The purpose of this is to give you a feeling of what people are going through,&8221; Hanna said to the students before they were placed in two separate cars; three in one, four in the other. &8220;If you can calmly say, &8216;It&8217;s OK,&8217; they&8217;ll believe you.&8221;

The cars were dismantled one at a time so each car full of students could watch the other.

Being inside the car helped Cherie Daniel, one of the EMT students, to understand what happens during an extrication from sounds to procedures.

&8220;They told us what they were doing every step of the way,&8221; Daniel said.

All parties involved benefited from the training, Hanna said. Allen&8217;s Tow&8217;N&8217;Travel supplied the location and cars for the training and EMT students and respondents were able to hone their skills. The exercise also allowed for cross-training with the ambulance EMTs and members of the police department and city and township fire departments.

Cross-training helps keep all members of Albert Lea&8217;s emergency response teams on one level, Hanna said. Getting to know one another also helps cut time on the scene.

&8220;Better training means better service,&8221; Hanna said.