Colorado River Training Committee

Published by The Bee News

March 25, 2023

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On March 25th Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Dept, Bullhead City Fire Dept, and Mohave Valley Fire Dept worked together to share knowledge, expertise and equipment training on extrication. These are the vital methods of rescuing occupants that are involved in a vehicle accident. As automobiles evolve, so do the equipment and methods that emergency responders need to use to save lives. One of the recent changes has been to fully electric “jaws of life” which previously was powered via hydraulics. Secondly, with the advent of electric vehicles new cut locations and methods have to be learned to safely extricate occupants.
A&G Towing & Storage, Inc. donated over 20 non-drivable vehicles to enable this multi-department unified training. Kevin Malaro, General Manager of A&G Towing + Locksmith, said ” We do this for our community, we want to help. We’re dropping off two cars today and a little over 20 over the last 2 week.” “We work very closely with the Fire Departments and Police departments on the roads and highways, anything we can do to help is something we will always be interested in doing”. “Isaac Reyes is my driver today bringing these two vehicles and also loading up the scraps from previously cut vehicles from the yard”, he concluded.
Jason Howard of the Fort Mohave Mesa Fire Department and brain child of this project, helped coordinate the effort and solidify these community partners. “We have a 15 minute safety briefing, 70 minutes of cutting, then we are also doing phase 2 of may-day training followed by a ten minute de-brief”, said Jason Howard.”

Jason Howard, Fort Mohave Fire Dept, shaking hands with A&G Towing + Locksmith driver Isaac Reyes

We look forward to seeing future training exercises as these local heroes continue to find creative ways to keep our community along the Colorado River safe.

Here is the transcript to our interview with 

 Hi, my name’s Robert Schmid. I’m an engineer paramedic for long this fire department. I’m member of the Colorado River Fire Training team. So today we’re going over some, some unified training with the local fire districts. We tried to pick something fun to kind of break the ice with, so expectations something, everybody enjoys doing it.

Is this the first training that you guys started doing? Yeah, this is the first one. So, you know, about a month ago. You know, the department heads kind of got together and, you know, we’re kind of doing the same training over three different departments and, you know, with today’s economic climate and stuff like that, we’re, we’re trying to figure out, okay, where, where can we save money here and still be just as effective?

So yeah, we got all three departments together decided to pick something, you know, that, that everybody is. Has, has a degree of passion about extrication is always a fun deal for us. So, you know, we got everybody out and over the last three or four days we’ve been cycling all the stations through and, and covering each other and getting out and cuts of cars and.

How often do you guys work together as a team? Like with multiple departments, is the very, oh, so it’s all time outside of Bullhead Fire mm-hmm. , you know my department and, and Mohave Valley, like, we have a very rarely can, we can’t get a second alarm with just our own apparatus. So we have to rely on each other on the line.

You know, Bullhead calls us in quite a bit for ems. We call in Bullhead quite a bit for fire. You know, we, we all work Tandemly most of us, you know, at, at some point or another have worked together between organizations and, you know, we all know each other. We all get along great. So, you know, this was kind of a no-brainer.

Mm-hmm. , you know, and, and kind of the next step and, and, and we getting everything on the same level. So great opportunity for us. Everybody so far has been real receptive to it and, and has had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully this is the first of many, many unified training opportunities that we do.

And as the Colorado River training team, you know, all of us from all the departments are getting together and just trying to figure out, you know, where our training shore falls are and, and how we can incorporate everybody in and, and just work towards that common goal, which obviously is, is, you know, keeping the taxpayer safe as possible.

Right. What’s been the most recent change in training or, or a new way of doing something that, that you guys are kind of learning on together? There’s new ways daily, especially with extrication. I mean, you know, look at, look at the popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles over the last few years, you know, and, and we’re.

We’re not seeing the old, you know, 72 Lincoln Continental that is built like a battleship. A lot of these cars, they’re, they’re designed to crumple. Which poses a lot more problems for us cuz now we gotta be a little bit more in a baby upon how crumpled uncrumple it and, and get the, get the occupants out as safe as possible.

As quick as possible. Yeah. You know, cause we have that golden hour for, for trauma. Right. So the irony too is you’re, you guys are switching from hydraulic to electric on your actual Yes. Lifesaving jaws. Yeah. And, and that just goes to show you how great battery technology has gotten over there. Right.

15 years ago, 18 years ago when I’d gotten started in the fire service, the biggest thing was can we take two hydraulic cables and integrate it into one? Now it’s getting away from hydraulic lines altogether and, and incorporating battery technology and being wireless. It must be a little bit easier to maneuver and get in and out.

Absolutely. Yeah. A lot less tripping hazards. Yeah. We. Less possibility of cutting lines. Right. You know, and, and that has happened. Mm-hmm. . But it, it just, it, it frees us up to be a lot more fluid with our movements, a lot more energy efficient and not necessarily moving how the tool dictates and, you know, it’s allows, it’s allowed us to get a little bit more artistic with.

With our approach on it as well. Right. Because these things are like a canvas, you know? Yeah. One way isn’t gonna work, right. For, for the next one, even if it’s the same type of collisions. Yeah. So we gotta be thinking on the fly with, which is kind of the nice thing with this unified train is you’re hearing so many different perspectives.

So many need different people. Oh, ab such experiences and life experiences doing this, that they’re bringing all this to the table and picking from the best parts. Right. And sharing that, you know, or a member of our department isn’t gonna have the same experience as a member, as a member of a neighboring department.

So, To give that all, all that knowledge and all that information in, in, in one central location and to pass that on to, to, you know, everybody. I mean that’s, that’s the fire service in the nutshell. Yeah. You know, it is. We still do a lot of training and a lot of storytelling at the kitchen table and that gets off.


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