Moline Fire Department rips apart cars to keep community safe

MOLINE, ILLINOIS  --  Firefighters do more than just respond to fires. They respond to medical emergencies, car accidents, and almost all 911 calls. The job requires a lot of training. In late May the Moline Fire Department trained 10 employees on auto extractions for a new certification.

"It`s just another tool for the tool box," Moline firefighter Reno Horton said.

The department is practicing for a worst case scenario situation with abandoned cars donated by QC Towing.

The crews are working in teams, trying to figure out how to remove trapped victims safely.

"This prepares them for anything they have to do," Training officer Jamie Hudson said.

"Every situation will have a different factor and kind of throw a curve ball at us," Horton said.

Hudson said that different types of cars have hidden hazards.

"The automobile industry is constantly changing," Hudson said. "There always making vehicles safer."

It's the cars marketed for their safety features that can cause the most trouble. Hudson said newer cars have more airbags, in different places, making it difficult for first responders to know if they will accidentally deploy one. He says that since more cars are being made with better safety features, there are less auto extractions.

"We probably do around 30 a year," Hudson said.

Crews also have limits to how much equipment they can bring onto their engine trucks, so training helps them learn every possible saving technique.

"We don`t want to run certain saws around spilled gas," Moline firefighter Justin Frederikson said. "That will create sparks and could cause the vehicle to catch fire."

The department practiced for 40 hours this week, learning every technique.

The department says the number one priority is to protect both the firefighters and victims during an accident.

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