Developing skills to save lives: First responders take part in "Jaws of Life" training

DELAFIELD (WITI) -- When a car accident happens, getting out quickly can be the difference between life and death. The "Jaws of Life" are put to use by first responders on scene of incidents in which individuals become trapped in their vehicles following a crash. This weekend, firefighters and first responders took part in a two-day "Jaws of Life" extrication training event -- meant to help them save lives.

First responders are called out to car crashes on a frequent basis. They must quickly analyze the mangled debris to determine the steps needed to rescue those who may need medical treatment.

"We have like 10 minutes from the time we get to the scene to get the patient out if it`s a critical," Brad Klawes with Tichigan Fire Company said.

Time is of the essence, and getting the victim out quickly is a must.

"Get them to medical help as soon as possible," Gerry Fleisher with 5 Alarm Fire & Safety Equipment said.

About 80 firefighters from 10 counties learned key skills at the 5 Alarm Fire & Safety Equipment's Hurst Jaws of Life Extrication Training event this weekend.

"We teach them the basics, the intermediates and the advanced techniques of auto extrication. We have a full range of equipment. The primary use is our Jaws of Life equipment. We have the standard hydraulic 5000 PSI tools. We've also got that brand new eDRAULIC tools -- battery operated tools that have been in the fire service for probably about the last three years," Fleisher said.

Fleisher says it's vital that emergency workers' knowledge is fresh and up to speed on current technology.

"Cars are made with stronger material, stronger steel. You got to have the tools to cut that and the know how to cut that. The other things too -- with the hybrid cars you need to know where to cut and where you can`t cut. You can have an airbag deploy and injure a patient or injure firefighters or get electrocuted," Fleisher said.

That's why continuous, rigorous training is necessary.

"We know what to do, when to do it, how to do it very efficiently and very quickly," Klawes said.

For about 70 percent of the class, it was their first time taking this training course.

The firefighters say they'll pass the training on to others at their respective departments.