Jaws of Life: Newton firefighters train to save lives

Newton Fire/EMS Department firefighters Steve Gay, left, and Colton Garcia take part in vehicle extraction training Tuesday morning at All Metal Recycling in Newton. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—Many people are familiar with the Jaws of Life, a type of rescue equipment first responders use to rescue people trapped in vehicles following an accident.

What people don’t know is what they themselves need to do in that situation and what they can expect.

“Other than just be patient, there’s going to be lots of pops and loud noises, all this cracking you hear,” said Newton Fire/EMS Department Acting Officer Colton Garcia while he and others in the department did vehicle extraction training Tuesday morning at All Metals Recycling in Newton.

They’ve been doing the training last week and this week.

“We want to move the car away from them to get them out so we have to cut metal away from them so we can get them out and be as easy on them as possible,” Garcia said.

It’s a process that uses spreaders and cutters to remove the car from the person instead of removing the person from the car, Garcia said.

During real-life situations, they’ll talk to the victims and let them know what’s going on.

“The best thing they can do is to stay calm,” Garcia said. “I know it’s a scary situation.”

The department’s B Shift was training Tuesday morning.

Garcia said he and another firefighter, Jared Bergner, were the instructors that day, teaching the others about what they learned in a class where they were taught techniques.

“We’re just trying to bring those techniques back and trying to get them to use them,” Garcia said.

They had planned to do the training Tuesday morning for a couple of hours.

Garcia said all shifts did training last week and were introduced to techniques, and all shifts were training this week, too. The guys on other shifts were instructing, as well.

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