Extrication Course at Minot Fire School - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Extrication Course at Minot Fire School

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"Due to the increased traffic in the City of Minot and around Minot, everywhere in the state really, there has been a significant increase in traffic accidents," says Minot Rural Fire Department Chief, Rex Weltikol. "Our calls have more than tripled."

Today, fire fighters respond to everything from structure fires, to medical emergencies and car accidents.  At the 60th Annual North Dakota State Fire School, fire departments from across the state are learning new techniques for vehicle extrication, the process of removing a vehicle from around a person who's been in an accident.

"With the skills we've learned today, protecting the victim is the number one priority," says Jamie Reese, West Dunn Fire District. "Getting them out as fast as you can is the second priority, but keeping the scene from getting worse is what the instructors have really preached today."

As technology and vehicle production advances, so too must the means of saving people when accidents happen.  North Dakota Fire fighters got hands on with multiple tools used for extrication in Saturday's class.  Hacksaws, sawzalls, and hydraulic tools like the jaws of life are the go-to means of removal after injury-accidents.  Instructors talked about the steps to take, what tools should be used on what parts of the vehicle, and how outside elements impact an extrication.

"A lot of people take their coats off, wear just their sweatshirts while driving," says Dave Sapp, West Fargo Fire. "They're exposed to the elements the whole time.  We have our gear on, but they're exposed. We have to try to cover them, keep them warm, and get them on within that Golden Hour. That's what you want, that's your goal."

The Golden Hour, the time a fire fighters' pager goes off, to the time a victim is receiving care. It's an unwritten time-frame that all Emergency Responders try to follow when dealing with traumatic events.

"It's definitely a rewarding feeling when you can get them in that Golden Hour and get them back to a care facility or into the helicopter," says Reese. "But it's a pretty good honor to serve the community."

From house fires to car accidents, Fire fighters know the importance of having the skills to respond to any situation, but they hope they never have to, and say it's up to each individual to help keep their community safe.


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