WEST ALEXANDRIA — Weber’s Body & Frame, a member of the National Auto Body Council (NABC), recently hosted an event to show off the latest in vehicle extrication technology to first responders across the Preble County community — as a thank you for their service.
First responders from several of the county’s fire and rescue departments attended the training session, which was held Monday, Sept. 26.
“We thought, maybe, if we could get you some training that will help you be a little safer on the job and make you job a little easier would be helpful,” Dave Weber told those in attendance. “Thanks for coming.”
The event was sponsored by Reichard Chevrolet Buick and State Farm Insurance (Dave Biggs).
“First responders such as firemen require the most current vehicle information to be effective and save lives at the scene of an accident,” said Eric Weber, owner. “Free helps keep these individuals up to date, which is more important than ever given the rapid onslaught of advancements in vehicle design such as high-strength steels, advanced restraint systems, and multiple air bags. The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid vehicles also makes a class like this a necessity.”
Late model vehicles donated by local insurance companies were available for first responders to practice on, a true strength of the program since most fire departments don’t have access to such vehicles.
“This NABC-sponsored program is a perfect fit for our community and the excitement is building as the day of the program gets nearer,” added Eric Weber. “Local fire departments have indicated this kind of knowledge is much needed. We are honored to be able to deliver critical information to those who need it most. There’s been a lot of anticipation and price in our community so far, and we look forward to delivering it.”
Holmatro, an international rescue equipment manufacturer, presented the program displaying key products used to increase the speed at which occupants can be removed safely from damaged vehicles.
“It helps us to identify the different types of vehicles and where the airbags and the dangerous points actually are for us that we may encounter during an extrication,” West Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Shafer said.
Shafer said it’s important for the departments to train on what they do the most of.
“Obviously, in rural areas car cashes are extremely large,” he said. “We try to do extrication two to three times a year. With Weber’s doing this outreach program for the county, it’s nothing but a win-win for the entire county.”
Shafer said he has an extrication guide loaded into his phone for assistance.
“It gives me where my electric is and where the curtains are. There are guides out there and I think every fire chief in the county probably has one of these,” he said. “It’s how you learn. It so much easier because there are so many (vehicles) out there.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.