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Blackfoot firemen and volunteers had an extra night of training Thursday as they practiced extracting potential patients from wrecks.
"We're practicing taking the car away from the patient," said Blackfoot fire chief Kevin Gray. "We do not want to compromise the patient at all."
Salesman Scott Slader from the Oregon company, Santiam, was explaining the use of the new extraction tools offered by his company. For example, using the simul-pump, firemen can run two tools at once.
The tools weigh about 35 to 45 pounds each which is "lighter than the tools we have now," said fire volunteer Kay Gardner.
"We need to upgrade," said Gray. "Cars are made of different materials, like borane and steel. "[The fire department's] equipment doesn't have the strength to cut the new metals," he said.
"We are going to apply for grants to help us purchase upgraded equipment," Gray said. "Our equipment is 20 years old and we definitely need new improvements."
The firemen tore apart two cars and one school bus. One car and the bus were turned on their sides.
Reed Miles from the Miles Bus Company in Blackfoot donated that vehicle.
"The bus was out of service and in our boneyard," Miles said. "We're glad to do it. The better- trained they [the firemen] are, the safer we are.
"School buses are so well constructed that, if the bus is in an accident, it's usually a fender bender," he said. "The car comes out smashed.
"We sometimes turn a bus on its side so the bus drivers can experience the width of the bus," said Miles. "A bus is eight feet wide from side to side. The bus drivers must pick up the students to help them to the exit door when the bus is on its side.
"Buses also have rounded roof corners," he said. "If a bus turns over, the kids will smoothly roll with the bus and not get caught in any corner."
The Blackfoot Fire Department, local volunteers and Rockford firemen receive medical training on the first Thursday of each month and fire training on the third Wednesday of each month.
"We have good people," Gray said. "They come out on their own time just to learn. It says a lot about them and their character."