Vehicle stabilization equipment enhances Fire Department capabilities

When a traffic accident occurs and a vehicle is overturned, Taylor firefighters are ready.

The Taylor Fire Department recently purchased new state of the art vehicle stabilization equipment to respond to accidents and other emergencies, said Battalion Chief Sam DiCicco.

DiCicco said the new system includes telescoping aluminum support struts and high pressure air lifting bags designed to lift large vehicles high enough to stabilize the auto and retrieve accident victims.

The equipment is used most often in traffic accidents when a vehicle is overturned or stuck in an embankment and not stable. Responders use the equipment to stabilize a vehicle in order to apply the Jaws of Life or just approach in order to help victims get out of the vehicle.

Last week, all Taylor fighters participated in a full week of training with the new equipment, designed to stabilize vehicles or trucks weighing up to 42,000 pounds.

The air bags are capable of moving up to 144,000 pounds – and they can move commercial and industrial equipment and are a great tool to use when a vehicle is on soft ground, as the stabilization is able to lift the weight.

DiCicco said the training went well.

“The new stabilization system is another resource, or tool, to aid in our ability to create a safe environment for victims in an emergency,” DiCicco said.

In the past Taylor firefighters have used a technique know as “cribbing” to stabilize vehicles, a practice they will continue to use where it is warranted. DiCicco said the new stabilization system will give them new alternatives depending on the situation.

“This new equipment will make it safer for the accident victim who needs to be carefully extracted from the vehicle and also safer for the responder who must approach the vehicle to attend to the patient and remove him/her from the vehicle,” DiCicco said.

DiCicco said the stabilization system can also be used in other ways like shoring up a load baring wall in an emergency.

“Due to the nature of its use, we hope we never have to use it, but the technology is there when we need it,” DiCicco said.

Taylor firefighters deploy a stabilization strut to prevent an overturned vehicle from moving. In the two-firefighter training operation, one is placing strut while the other applies a safety pin.

Taylor firefighters train as a team learn an important procedure that could come in handy in a real-life situation. One firefighter is cribbing an overturned vehicle as two teams stabilize the car with struts. The effort creates a safe environment so the vehicle cannot move in case the firefighters have to extract someone from the car.