Free training on new cars
by Lisa Tome
A local body shop played host to about 50 firefighters Thursday night for a FREE training class.
In this instance, Free means First Responder Extrication Exercise training.
Firefighters face all sorts of dangers when responding to a crash scene. Harrington Mita on Rising Sun's West Main Street worked to alleviate some of those dangers when they hosted the training on Thursday night. Firefighters from four companies - Rising Sun, Water Witch of Port Deposit, Singerly of Elkton, and Union of Oxford, Pa. participated.
Craig Camacho, vice president of marketing and customer relations for Harrington Mita explained that the program is provided through the National Auto Body Council.
"We realize firefighters don't have the resources to have up to the minute technology," said Camacho. "State Farm gave us $35,000 in salvage vehicles," said Camacho. Those vehicles provided some potential new dangers firefighters may encounter while working to free trapped motorists.
Airbag canisters, hybrid vehicles, curtain airbags, and other new safety features are designed to protect those in a vehicle, but can be a danger to first responders. The training also included vehicle anatomy lessons. There were four different accident scenarios provided with the training. Some were designed for new firefighters. Others were for those with years of experience.
Holmatro provided some tools and training.
Firefighters also used their own apparatus.
"This is something that works due to community partners. These are modern era cars. And we have different departments doing joint training. This is a great opportunity to work together and the rookies are learning basics and techniques," said Captain Josh Williams from Community Fire Company of Rising Sun.
Rising Sun's fire chief agreed. "This is for our personnel to learn new technology. We're grateful for the training," said Chief Donald Wehry.
Lt. Willie Ryan represented Singerly Fire Company. "We brought five (firefighters). This experience with the hybrids is valuable. This is an experience for all of us to learn about newer vehicles," said Ryan.
Bob Kiebler, who is a firefighter and works for Harrington Mita, coordinated the multi company training.
The training included dinner provided by Harrington Mita and Bottom of the Hill Bar and Grill, classroom learning and hands-on training. Banks Towing donated transportation of the vehicles on which the firefighters trained.
"It's community outreach. It could be anyone of us at anytime in an accident. This taught them to extricate faster and safer," added Camacho.
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