This past Saturday was a beautiful, spring-like, day. A great day for being outside…and that’s just what your BVFD, along with the Johnson City and Spring Branch volunteer fire departments did! They spent over 3 hours in training both volunteers and paid firefighters in the use of various pieces of equipment used to extract individuals from wrecked vehicles. You may have noticed that there were two such vehicles in front of the Fire Station this weekend. They were obtained by Fire Chief Ron Sallman for use in the training exercise. Led by J.D. Harlow, a professional fire fighter with both the Spring Branch and Blanco VFDs, the group learned the techniques, safety factors and special tools used to extricate individuals from vehicles involved in serious accidents.
Beginning with the powered ‘scissors’ used to cut out windshields, the trainees learned the proper operation of the tool and techniques used to remove or cut the windshields and gain access into wrecked vehicles. Moving to the “Jaws of Life” and similar equipment, each fire fighter had the opportunity to safely practice operating the equipment on an actual vehicle by prying and cutting off the vehicle’s doors and roof, rolling back the dashboard (to free a crash victim’s legs, etc.) Each learned valuable lessons in extrication techniques.
Last, the group actually practiced removing a ‘dummy victim” (generously provided by the Johnson City EMS) from a wrecked and overturned vehicle. During this exercise, the trainees learned from both Johnson City and Blanco EMS professional emergency medical technicians how to safely extricate a victim(s) from a crashed vehicle. Further, each agency (Blanco VFD, EMS and Johnson City VFD and EMS) worked together on establishment of their on-scene command structure for responding to emergencies.-part of the National Incident Management System protocols.
The afternoon provided valuable training and hands-on experience for each department’s personnel. It also provided the BVFD the opportunity to coordinate and work with our mutual aid partners in both Johnson City and Spring Branch in a simulated emergency response environment. All would agree, it was one of the most valuable training experiences to date.
In closing, your BVFD is proud to announce that Stuart and Macy McElhaney (Stuart is a professional fire fighter with both Blanco and Spring Branch departments, and Macy is a former BVFD Board member) are proud new parents of a baby boy born last week; a potential BVFD volunteer recruit -- in 18 years! A Hearty Congratulations to them from the department!