Practicing rescue extrication techniques and learning more about each other went hand in hand Friday when Emergency Ambulance Service Inc. personnel and members of the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department got together for a joint training session at the lot across from the EASI offices on University Drive.
“They do rescue extrications just like we do, “ EASI’s Josh Bishop said. “Most vehicle accidents involve two vehicles and we want to make sure we’re on the same page in what needs to be done.”
In situations involving two vehicles, Bishop said fire and emergency services personnel frequently work to remove occupants from one vehicle while EASI personnel work on the other vehicle.
“We respond jointly to a lot of situations and assist each other frequently,” Fire Chief Shauwn Howell said. “Training like what they had gives us an opportunity to develop teamwork and the more we can train and work together, the better it is for the city.”
EASI Operations Manager John Badgley, who conducted the training class, said safety is the first priority when an extrication is conducted. When the word “stop” is used, Badgley said, everything stops.
That could occur, for example, if a piece of equipment moves, or the patient inside the vehicle moves, putting an arm or leg in the potential path of the equipment, Badgley said.
Bishop said that while only about 5 percent of the accidents in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County require the use of emergency equipment to remove people, EASI crews and fire and emergency services personnel respond, “just in case they’re needed.
“Sometimes they just have to sit there and wait on the coroner before they can recover the body,” he said.
Howell said another benefit of the joint training is so that both groups become familiar with the terminology that each uses.
“They might call a piece of equipment one thing and we might call it something else so it was helpful to share things like those terms,” Howell said.
Retired Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Eddie Parsley, who is now with the White Hall Volunteer Fire Department and is recognized as an expert on hybrid vehicles, also was on hand and had some tips about trying to cut into a hybrid.
“Stay away from the orange cables,” he said. “Do not cut the orange cables. They are usually away from the cut zones but they will carry anywhere between 48 and 600 volts.”
Both Badgley and Bishop said they would like to see a similar training session on a regular basis, an idea Howell said he would welcome.
“We both have different roles, “Howell said. “Theirs is more medical and ours is more fire but we all help each other out and it would make us all better at what we do.”