First Responders Conduct Joint Training Exercise Involving Car Crash

A joint training exercise was held Monday at the Raymond C. Taylor Training Center in Jamestown.

A joint training exercise was held Monday at the Raymond C. Taylor Training Center in Jamestown.

The phrase “time is of the essence” seems a bit lacking for first responders at an accident scene.

When lives are on the line, every second counts.

Such was the case made Monday during a joint training exercise at the Raymond C. Taylor Training Center in Jamestown. The drill, which for the first time brought together Jamestown firefighters, Alstar EMS, Starflight and UPMC WCA Chautauqua in a training scenario, centered around a simulated car crash with multiple injuries reported.

Firefighters responded to the scene to extricate the victims — first played by dummies and later substituted with actors — with cutters and the “jaws of life,” while Alstar EMS performed initial medical care and helped transport the victims to a Starflight helicopter, which landed at the scene.

Amid the flurry of vehicles, uniforms and voices, the singular goal of freeing and treating the victims never seemed to waver, which, according to Andrew Finson, battalion chief of the Jamestown Fire Department, was exactly the point.

“The overall purpose (of this drill) is getting our agencies to work together,” Finson said. “We want everybody to get used to talking to each other over the radios and getting our guys to utilize our extrication and stabilization equipment with vehicle accidents.”

Finson said high-speed wrecks requiring the “jaws of life” are not that common in the area, but firefighters should be prepared nonetheless.

“We could use (the ‘jaws of life’) three times in a week or not even touch them for a year,” he said.

Bob Hawkins, assistant operations manager of Alstar EMS, similarly praised the training for its emphasis on teamwork among the agencies involved.

“We work with city fire a lot … but (this training allows) each (fire) battalion and (EMS) crew to get to work together,” he said. “Hopefully, this gives them a lot more specialized training.”

Upcoming iterations of the exercise, which will take place throughout the week and into next week, will involve medical staff at UPMC WCA Chautauqua receiving patients and going through their own emergency operations.

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