Local firefighters turn training into some friendly competition


ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — In the aftermath of automobile accidents, firefighters work to make sure that no one is stuck in a vehicle.

It’s an important part of the job, but one that’s difficult to prepare for since no two situations are alike.

First responders need a lot of practice to get them ready to handle an emergency.

Firefighters raced to rescue a mannequin from a crashed car during the seventh annual Crunchtime Vehicle Extrication Symposium.

The event was hosted by the Harlem Roscoe Fire Department.

Chief Don Shoevlin says the purpose is hands on training.

“We require that they’re all newer firefighters. So we’re not having the old veterans in here if you will,” said Shoevlin. “Our goal with this whole symposium is to teach the newer firefighters. It’s an entry-level training program.”

The symposium started with a classroom session, where participants learned about the tools and techniques required in an extrication scenario. Then, they got to work.

“It all comes together and ends today with this friendly competition,” Shoevlin said.

Eight teams from around the Stateline competed in the challenge.

The idea is to simulate an actual car wreck.

“We put them in a little more of a high-adrenaline area to try to teach them and give them experience and try to teach them a little bit of speed and why it’s needed to get somebody out of a vehicle,” Shoevlin said.

Each team completes two extrication scenarios, testing how quickly they think on their feet, and how well they know their tools.

“If the power tool doesn’t work, they feel comfortable going to a hand tool,” Shoevlin said. “Or they know if a power tool isn’t going to be the right choice for the situation. They have the knowledge to use a hand tool.”

After the weekend, Harlem-Roscoe Firefighter Tyler Young says he is more prepared for the real thing.

“I feel a lot better to do a real extrication now after experiencing what Crunch Time got to do for me,” said Young. “I think this is going to help when we actually get on the streets.”

The symposium was open for the public to watch.

Chief Shoevlin says the top three teams are recognized following the challenge.


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