UNION, NJ – Union firefighters used new, state-of-the-art rescue/extrication equipment on Monday morning to demonstrate how the equipment is used in emergencies where individuals may be trapped in a vehicle.  The demonstration, which took place at the Union Fire Department’s training facility, simulated the scene of a serious accident requiring the swift rescue of individuals from a Hyundai Veloster.

“We are proud to introduce some of the newest equipment and best technology that has come out in rescue equipment,” said Fire Chief Tom Byrne.  “Getting to a patient quickly and efficiently, removing them from the vehicle and getting them to a hospital is the ultimate goal of vehicle extrication.”

Chief Byrne said in order to accomplish that and to obtain the best possible outcome for the victim, firefighters need cutting-edge tools and training.   Technology in vehicles has increased in recent years and contemporary vehicles are manufactured with ultra-high strength steel and boron-infused steel to protect drivers and passengers.

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The previous equipment used by firefighters was heavy and not as strong.  Chief Byrne said, “this new Holmatro equipment is 30% lighter and three times more powerful than its predecessor, allowing responders to work more efficiently.”

Captain Anthony Schmidtberg narrated the demonstration and explained what firefighters look for upon arrival at an accident scene.  “Vehicle extrications are very dynamic.  Firefighters need to take in the entire scene, a 360-degree view, to assess if fluids are leaking, the type of vehicle, the condition of the victims.” 

After the demo vehicle was stabilized with blocks to prevent it from moving, the firefighters worked to gain access any way they can (in order to begin initial patient care).  The windows in the vehicle were broken in a controlled manner, battery cables were cut to disengage the air bags, the front and rear doors were cut off and the post between the doors was cut.  The roof was then removed.

“As you can see, it’s a very fluid scene,” said Captain Schmidtberg.  “A lot of people are working, but they are all working together.”

The entire process, from start to finish, took approximately 10 minutes.  “This is what you want and expect in a fire service.  You want a highly efficient, well-trained, rapid response team, accomplishing the job quickly, with the right tools for the ultimate outcome:  the best of patient care,” said Chief Byrne. 

The equipment and technical training was provided by the ESI Corporation, said Chief Byrne, who also acknowledged the BASF Corporation for their donation of the motor vehicles used in connection with the training exercises and demonstration of the new equipment.

“In emergency situations every second lost is the difference between life and death,” said Mayor Manuel Figueiredo. “We are proud to be able to support the Fire Department and outfit them with the latest in lifesaving technology.”