• Jacksonville firefighters learn new techniques to save car crash victims

    By: Elizabeth Pace, Action News Jax


    Jacksonville Fire Rescue firefighters were one of 13 teams competing in the National Extrication Competition that tests fire crews on their rescue missions on the streets.

    The annual competition is being held in Jacksonville this year, through the North America Vehicle Rescue Association.

    Teams from the across the state, including some from Canada and South America, gathered at the Fire Academy in Sandalwood on Friday morning.

    NAVRA created each scenario that is only revealed a few minutes before the team competes. It includes a real person acting as the patient inside of the damaged vehicle. The goal is to get them out as quick and safe as possible.

    Each vehicle used was donated and altered for the competition. They selected a car from each year to include a new set of training on each vehicle.

    “Basically when we get here, they’re testing us on our medical skills, our technical skills, use of equipment and from there it’s whatever they can throw at us and see what we can do,” JFRD Captain Chris Lewis said.

    As each team competes, other fire crews surround the area to watch different techniques. JFRD engineer Michael Matos said they are all training on new equipment a few days prior to the competition.

    “When you have a traumatic patient that’s trapped in a vehicle, every minute counts,” Matos said. “So if we can get a patient out five minutes quicker than before there’s a better chance of that patient surviving.”

    Matos is also the President of a non-profit organization Duval Wrecking Crew, which helps JFRD firefighters with these events. Based on this training, he said they have already created new training protocols to submit to JFRD.

    “What we learn here we can take back to the street,” Lewis said. “We train individuals with our fire department and it spreads your mindset on how to do your job better, faster, and safer.”

    The top three winners will advance to an international competition.

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