Texoma firefighters train to save lives

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DENISON, TX -- More than 100 firefighters and EMS officials across Texoma have brushed up on their skill, to make sure whenever there's an accident they'll be able to get a victim out of a car safely and quickly.

Saturday marked the first annual North Texas Fire Rescue Training Day.

Emergency responders representing 26 different Texoma departments, across four counties, in two states, settled in to practice prying cars open.

Firefighter Damon Stewart helped organize the training.

"We have 16 different cars out here. We have them set up in different types of mock accidents," Stewart said.

Stewart says when first responders arrive at an accident scene, they must react fast to rescue victims. But, there are several factors to consider before cutting vehicles open.

"Used to with the older vehicles you go up, you pretty much could cut at any point and make patient access, extricate the patient and move them on to the hospital," he said.

Stewart says today vehicles are designed to keep occupants safer. And with new technology the techniques must change.

"Nowadays, we have a lot of safety restraint systems that are built into the vehicles that are a hazard to the rescuer," Stewart said.

"We also have to learn how to identify airbag systems that are in the cars. And of course, hybrid vehicles with their electricity and those kinds of things that they've got to deal with there," trainer Kirby Wilson said.

The emergency responders worked through the different stations using the jaws of life several ways.

"The more cars you cut over your lifetime of being a fireman, the better you're going to get at what you need to do," Wilson said.

Organizers say this training builds continuity between all the local departments, so they're able to work more efficiently during an emergency.

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