First responders who are often on the scene of an accident before anyone else need to act quickly in these moments, but safety is always paramount during these challenging situations. With donated vehicles from State Farm and towing support from All City Towing, CARSTAR Eau Claire South was able to host the Eau Claire Fire and Rescue team, the Township Fire Department and Industrial Safety to their facilities to take part in the National Auto Body Council First Responder Emergency Extrication program (F.R.E.E.™).
Knowing specifically where and how to efficiently cut, pry and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders. Keeping first responders up to date on the latest new technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication program (F.R.E.E.™) helps first responders stay abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles are all covered in the program. The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid and electric vehicles and the many safety concerns surrounding these vehicles makes this program a necessity. Alternative fuel systems present different challenges when first responders arrive at the scene of an accident. Electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles have fuel systems that pose dangers for first responders if need arises to cut or pry the vehicle for rescue. “As collision repairers, we have to stay up-to-date on vehicle advancements and understand how to work with these modern vehicles once damage has been done,” says Tony Kempen, owner, CARSTAR Eau Claire South. “Specific tools may need to be used or systems may need to be disabled in order to safely extricate.” Brent Soland, from Genesis Rescue Systems,led the training event and explained techniques for extricating in these advanced vehicles. “We are happy to host our local departments as they undergo this important training,” continues Kempen. “Our local fire departments are first at the scene majority of the times, so we will gladly help them however we can to help keep our communities safe.” For more information on CARSTAR or joining the franchise family, visit CARSTARFranchise.com.