Firemen practise rescuing

Firefighters from Willowbank, Lookout Point, Mosgiel and St Kilda stations take part in a training exercise cutting ''patients'' from vehicles in a simulated motor vehicle accident beside the Carisbrook site in Dunedin. Photo by Linda RobertsonCars are a lot tougher to cut through than they used to be.

Dunedin firefighters found that out during a training exercise at yesterday at the Carisbrook site.

Crash scenes were simulated yesterday, with fire officers posing as crash victims. Officers then used rescue equipment to cut the victims from the wreckage, a skill many of the officers do not get a lot of time practising.

''Some of our personnel are in roles where they will rarely get the opportunity to use the rescue tenders,'' Willowbank Station Officer Mark Leonard said.

''It's great be able to practise in a controlled environment, and provide them with direct feedback.''

The days begin with a lecture, where they learn to deal with the changes in modern car technology.

''Cars these days are a lot more reinforced, especially on the sides, making them far harder to cut through,'' Station Officer Mark Townsend said.

''They are also equipped with airbags, which can be a real hazard for us.''

The exercises, which are run annually, will continue until next Monday, giving all of Dunedin's 170 fire officers a chance to practise their skills.

''This is by far the most effective way for us to practise without actually doing it,'' Mr Leonard said.

 -by Leni Ma'Ia'I

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