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Orwigsburg firefighters learn new rescue techniques

Eighteen volunteer firefighters from the Orwigsburg Fire Department took part in a specialized rescue training course given by P.L. Vulcan Fire Training Concepts, LLC. on Nov. 20.

The “Man versus Machinery” course covered various scenarios firefighters could face during rescue operations. After a two-hour classroom session, the volunteers spent the afternoon rotating through a series of hands-on training exercises.

Father and son Sean and Tim McClure learn how to safely remove a stuck ringduring an Orwigsburg Fire Department training session. (Janis McGowan)

Most people tend to think of firefighters as those charged with putting out fires, but many times these first responders are confronted with an entrapment issue. Many people are familiar with the “Jaws of Life,” a term used to refer to several types of piston-rod hydraulic tools used to pry open vehicles involved in accidents when a victim may be trapped. But rescue operations often call for more conventional methods.

The crews learned to consider other ideas when confronted with scenarios such as impalements, ring removal, hands stuck in equipment and other gruesome situations.

The volunteers practiced cutting and torching steel rods, removing hands from a meat grinder (thankfully only a rubber hand was used), and ring removal. Yes, firefighters do get calls for that.

Scott Rarick, a member of the department, said the department holds regular training for its volunteers including specialized work relating to fires along with automobile accidents, rescues and other non-fire related incidents.

Orwigsburg volunteer firefighters participate “hands on” in an extrication training program offered by P.L. Vulcan Training Concepts. From left are instructor Glenn Bullock, Derek Reichert, Gavin Leymeister and Rich Boyer. (Janis McGowan)

Rescues sometimes can be more difficult to manage than fires. There are instances that involve confined spaces, trench collapses, water rescues to name a few.

“There is so much more involved on the rescue side,” Rarick said. “We need to be prepared for anything.”

Rarick plans to schedule agricultural rescue training in the spring for his team.

“Since we live in such an agricultural community, we need to be trained for rescues on farms,” Rarick said. “Dealing with farm machinery, livestock and chemicals can be a challenge.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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