TAYLOR — When a traffic accident occurs and a vehicle is overturned, city firefighters are ready.
The Fire Department recently purchased the latest new vehicle stabilization equipment to respond to accidents and other emergencies, Battalion Chief Sam DiCicco said.
The new system includes telescoping aluminum support struts and high-pressure airlifting bags designed to lift large vehicles high enough to stabilize an automobile and retrieve accident victims.
The equipment is used most often in traffic accidents when a vehicle is overturned or stuck in an embankment and not stable. Responders use the equipment to stabilize a vehicle in order to apply the Jaws of Life, or simply to approach in order to help victims get out of the vehicle.
Last week, all city firefighters participated in a full week of training with the new equipment, designed to stabilize vehicles or trucks weighing up to 42,000 pounds.
The air bags are capable of moving up to 144,000 pounds, and they can move commercial and industrial equipment. Firefighters say they are a great tool to use when a vehicle is on soft ground, as the stabilization is able to lift the weight.
DiCicco said the training went well.
“The new stabilization system is another resource, or tool, to aid in our ability to create a safe environment for victims in an emergency,” he said.
In the past, Taylor firefighters have used a technique know as “cribbing” to stabilize vehicles, a practice they will continue to use where it is warranted. DiCicco said the new stabilization system will give them new alternatives, depending on the situation.
“This new equipment will make it safer for the accident victim who needs to be carefully extracted from the vehicle, and also safer for the responder who must approach the vehicle to attend to the patient and remove him/her from the vehicle,” DiCicco said.
DiCicco said the stabilization system also can be used in other ways, like shoring up a load-bearing wall in an emergency.
“Due to the nature of its use, we hope we never have to use it,” DiCicco said, “but the technology is there when we need it.”