Students enrolled in the Public Safety and Justice program at Oswego County BOCES received a hands-on lesson recently as they performed a vehicle extrication in the parking lot on campus.
With the help of county fire coordinator Don Forbes — who brought a fire truck from the Mexico Volunteer Fire Department that was fully equipped with the tools required for the extrication – and under the guidance of instructors Mark Bender and Chuck Gabriel, students learned how to remove a person trapped inside a vehicle.
“Put yourself in the position of the patient,” Bender said. “They’re scared, talk to them. Comfort them and tell them what’s going on. These tools are loud, make sure they know you’re there to help.”
After learning about the potential hazards associated with a crash scene and reviewing the emergency response protocol, students had an opportunity to apply their classroom instruction to a mock crash scenario. Using a vehicle donated by Jay’s Auto Recovery, students stabilized the car and began to remove the windshield using an ax and a glass saw.
Each student cut away the outer rim of the windshield until it was completely detached.
With the windshield gone, it was time to learn how to remove the windows of the car without causing injury to the potential victims inside.
Students took a hammer and a glass window punch to break the windows, while Gabriel and Bender reinforced safety throughout the lesson.
“Make sure you always have a brace or a stopper so your knuckles don’t go through the glass,” Gabriel said. “You want to hit the window with the tool, not your fist.”
In addition to using some traditional hand tools, students had the opportunity to use a hydraulic cutter and spreader to dismantle the steel frame of the vehicle, allowing for full access to a potential victim.
The hands-on learning experience is one of the many activities Public Safety and Justice students participate in throughout the school year.
Students also repel down the training wall at the Scriba Volunteer Fire Station, observe a police canine demonstration, explore a Mercy Flight helicopter, extinguish a fire at the training center and participate in other learning activities.