Nova Scotia

P.E.I. firefighters get tips on removing people from crashed cars from N.S. peers

Firefighters on Prince Edward Island got the chance to learn some vehicle extrication techniques from their Nova Scotia counterparts over the weekend. 

Three teams of six firefighters each visited the North River Fire Department in Cornwall, P.E.I., on Saturday to take part in a friendly competition to gauge how quickly they could extract a simulated victim from a vehicle involved in a mock crash.  

More important than the friendly rivalry, though, was passing along extrication techniques to Island first responders to prepare for actual events.

“Every day somewhere in Atlantic Canada there’s a motor vehicle accident that some fire department is getting a person out of,” said Eugene Justason, the Team Halifax incident commander for the training scenario. “Our goal is to get the information out so everyone can see what we’re doing.”

Eugene Justason, a firefighter in Halifax, says the aim of the scenarios is to mimic what firefighters might encounter in real life. (Victoria Walton/CBC)

Saturday’s event was held in partnership with the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee, which sets standards and certifies first responders in vehicle extrication.

One scenario had a power pole on the roof of a car, trapping the driver inside. Another involved a vehicle that crashed and flipped on its side against a concrete barrier. 

A firefighter played the role of a driver in distress. Each team’s goal was to extract the person in about 20 minutes.

In an actual crash situation, the goal is to get the person out of the vehicle and to hospital within an hour, Justason said. 

Jennifer Bell, deputy chief with the Town of Pictou's fire department, played the victim trapped inside an overturned vehicle during one of the training scenarios.
Jennifer Bell, Pictou’s deputy fire chief, portrayed a driver trapped inside an overturned vehicle. (Victoria Walton/CBC)

Jennifer Bell, the deputy fire chief for the Town of Pictou, played the role of the person trapped in the car on its side.

She was given some ailments suffered in the mock crash to tell the teams attempting to extract her from the vehicle, all variables that firefighters might encounter in the field. 

“I [had] the sincere pleasure of being trained by the judges in my early fire service career, and I put so much faith knowing that those are the gentlemen and the ladies that train all of the personnel that you see here,” Bell said. 

“I have all the faith in the world. This is exactly why I want to do it because I know that these folks here are some of the best-trained people in [Nova Scotia] and it’s a pleasure to be here to show it off.”

Firefighter vehicle extrication training at the North River Fire Department
One of the training scenarios involved a power pole that fell on top of a car, trapping the driver inside. (Victoria Walton/CBC)

North River firefighters requested to host Saturday’s training and competition. Many first responders from other departments and agencies dropped by to watch and learn. 

Troy Stoddard, a firefighter with the Woods Harbour-Shag Harbour department on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, said he’s learned a lot of techniques from larger fire departments over the years. 

The hope is to pass that knowledge along to colleagues in P.E.I. and to get them involved in future competitions.  

“It’s just a firefighter thing,” Stoddard said. “It’s always competition. You always want to try to outdo the other guy.

“In the end … it’s about learning, it’s not about winning anything. We’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve learned a lot.” 

See also  New bridge reconnects N.S. community after four years

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button