Good afternoon from the Jumpseat. Last week we had an interesting day of learning while at the local car crusher. We spent a morning reviewing stabilization, airbag uses, and basic principles of extrication. I must admit that this is an area of the fire service where I am a little lacking. It seems my training days don't seem to sync up with the auto extrication classes as I mostly ride the engine. Is that really an excuse not to continue an education in extrication?
Keeping with the theme of some blog posts lately it seems that today's firefighters need to be well rounded in their skill sets. Engine crews are performing extrications or truck crews are doing engine work, so everyone should have training in all aspects of the fire service. This can take years to build a knowledge base and can be even harder to maintain your skills to an acceptable level.
I am not an auto-ex instructor by no means, but the lesson that I took away from a morning at the crusher reminded me about details. Pay attention to the details!
From disconnecting battery terminals to the location of seat belt tensioners many great learning points were made as we sweat buckets. It only takes one small oversight to hurt you or the patients that you are trying to remove.
When removing a victim from an auto accident you sometimes only need a 1/8 of an inch to get them out. That is a small margin of need, but you can complicate this process by not paying close attention to the details. Someone once told me that the emergency is over when we arrive. Well, I do not know if that is true or not but I do know one thing: sometimes practicing the skills that you are the weakest in will pay huge dividends the next time you are called off your assigned unit to the rescue truck.
Pay attention to the details and remember to keep up with your training, even your weakest discipline.