Members of county fire departments and other emergency personnel participated in a training course on Saturday sponsored by the Switzerland County Emergency Management Agency.
Agency Director Tom Moore said that the training, held behind the Switzerland County Highway Department building on McCreary’s Ridge on a cold, windy day, was designed to give emergency workers training in how to safely extricate people from vehicles that had been involved in accidents. Moore secured the services of trainer Mike Sieverding, who has 32 years of experience in fire service, and who currently serves as a captain with the Columbus, Indiana Fire Department, to conduct the training.
“In the case of an auto accident, and the car is flipped over and there’s a victim in it, how we work to safely extricate the victim from the vehicle,” Moore said as firefighters worked under Sieverding’s instruction on one of the vehicles that had been placed overturned for the training. “We need to be able to stabilize that vehicle before we can make entry to the patient; because if that vehicle isn’t stabilized and the victim has a neck injury or a back injury, you don’t want that car moving all around and everything with everyone trying to cut the doors or get the roof cut off. We’ll stabilize it first so we can eventually start cutting, getting the doors or roof off in order to get the patient out.”
Moore said that the training is something that all fire departments and other emergency services groups go through, and it usually is held quarterly to keep everyone up to date, depending on the size of the department and how many runs the department has.
“Here, if we can do this twice or maybe three times a year, that would be excellent,” Moore said. “The hands on is more educational for everybody, because they’re actually doing – their going through the motions of it. Sometimes classrooms and lectures can be boring sometimes; so to be able to get them out here and actually physically doing what they’re doing, it’s very valuable.”
Moore said that if Sieverding’s schedule and his EMA budget allows it, he tries to bring the training to the departments as much as possible.
“For some of the smaller departments, it’s hard to set up training like this, because of the finances and the budgets, but as EMA, that’s what I’m trying to do – I’m trying to help out the fire departments,” Moore said.
He said that all of the fire departments in the county were invited to participate, along with Switzerland County Emergency Response. At Saturday’s training, members of the Moorefield, East Enterprise, and Posey Township departments were represented, as well as SCER.
Moore said that the entire exercise came together with a lot of help from various entities.
“I’d like to thank Smith Towing and Brian Covington for donating the vehicles,” Moore said. “They donated all of the vehicles that we’ll be working with; along with the members of the different departments.”
At the training, Sieverding led the students through the use of all types of tools and other things, such as 4x4s, that are used to help people get out of wrecked vehicles safely.
“There’s such a wide variety of tools for extrication,” Moore said. “From the hydraulic tools that you see over there; to stabilizer jacks to Halligan bars to rope and wooden cribbing, and there’s also cribbing that’s plastic. We tried to put the vehicles in all different positions so they know where they would be in situations.”
The firefighters and emergency personnel continued the training throughout the rest of Saturday, coping with the cold weather while dealing with the various emergency scenarios that were posed to them; but it was all done with a goal in mind of keeping county residents and other motorists as safe as possible in an emergency situation.