While taking a training course on how to safely remove trapped traffic accident victims Wednesday, members of the Brazil City Fire Department were dispatched to not one traffic accident, but two.
Rescue Training Inc. (RTI) Heavy Rescue Instructor Tom Champion started the class around 9 a.m., with a safety briefing. The firefighters, who finished classroom instruction Tuesday at the Brazil firehouse, were then divided into two teams and they quickly set out to participate in various traffic accident simulations involving trapped victims.
"It's imperative all emergency response departments keep up on their training for the safety of everyone involved at an accident scene," Champion told The Brazil Times. "This is all about learning safety and teamwork."
Around 10:30 a.m., the two groups of firemen stopped what they were doing to listen to their emergency radios. Initially 911 dispatchers dispatched two local volunteer fire departments to a traffic accident initially reported in the area of County Road 1200 North and State Road 59. Although their jurisdiction stops at CR 1100 N, they stood ready to assist if needed.
When the address of the accident was changed to area near CR 1100 N, on duty firefighters grabbed their equipment and ran to the nearby fire engine, while others continued training.
"This is what we do. It's part of our job," BCFD Fire Chief Jim Smith said after returning from the accident scene where two accident victims had to be extricated from their vehicles. "This is also why we petitioned to have this training class at Craig Park. As a department, we could remain on duty while training out here and still be ready to go when needed."
With RTI based in Clay County and Champion making himself available to local departments for training classes, Smith said the extrication program was a great asset.
"(Champion's class) is a great hands on program," Smith said.
Champion was equally impressed with the Brazil firefighters.
"What really impressed me most, was when they returned, they came back with mental notes of how to do things better and safer the next time," Champion said. "That proves to me they were listening in class."
After a short break for lunch, the two teams returned to training and took on more complex simulations such as securing vehicles on inclines and securing and lifting vehicles from trapped victims.
Less than an hour later, the department was dispatched to another traffic accident on United States 40, near the intersection of Murphy Avenue.
However, the accident involved only property damage and firefighters quickly returned to start extrication training again.
"What are the odds?" Champion said while shaking his head and laughing. "But, this is the life of a firefighter."