New England Emergency Services Center hosts training session

Every two years firefighters are required to renew their training certification.

New England volunteer firefighters extract a windshield out of a dummy car during a training session. The firefighters went through an educational training session to become recertified with the tools and procedures. PHOTO BY KEVIN SCHAEFER | For The Herald
New England volunteer firefighters extract a windshield out of a dummy car during a training session. The firefighters went through an educational training session to become recertified with the tools and procedures.
PHOTO BY KEVIN SCHAEFER | For The Herald

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Every two years firefighters are required to renew their training certification. On Saturday, Jan. 17 firefighters from the area gathered at the New England Emergency Services Center to take part in a one day class, going over training techniques and new equipment.

Though a few who had never been certified previously had to attend some training the Friday evening before, the majority of the training was done from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the next day.

The training was done through the North Dakota Fire Association and instructors came down from Dickinson to do the recertification. The volunteers were trained on nearly every aspect of a fire rescue.

“What we train on is basically from the time we show up on a scene, for safety reasons how to park trucks, how to protect yourself, how to use the tools, how to lay them out so we’re ready to use them at a scene,” said Joe Kathrein, New England fire chief.

Kathrein said that they also had extensive training on the tools they use.

The group trained from the bottom to the top. Everything from hand tools, common saws and electric power tools, all the way up to the different types of hydraulic tools, otherwise known as the jaws of life.

The jaws of life actual refers to any hydraulic tool, and the New England Fire Department uses two different types. The first one is a cutting tool. The second one has the same capability but different levels of ability. The spreaders can be used to pry parts apart that are inside the car, like if someone’s leg is trapped under a crushed dashboard. The spreaders can also be used to tear metal apart.

“We trained on different techniques on how to cut cars open to get people out,” Kathrein said.

The fire chief also said they use their own men as ‘victims’ in the cars to help others train for a rescue.

The cars they use for training were donated by East End Auto out of Dickinson and Kathrein said they supply the dummy cars for many of the rural fire departments in the area. After the cars have been used they are returned so then can be crushed.

Some of the new training Kathrein has seen in the last few years includes understanding how electric cars are built, and how to properly rescue people from them.

“They have extreme voltage, and if you cut in the wrong spot you could electrocute yourself,” Kathrein said.

To help with safety when working with these new electric and hybrid cars an app was developed that firefighters and rescue crews can utilize while on the scene.

“There’s actually apps for your phones where you can look up the car when you get on the scene,” Kathrein said.

One such app is called Electric Vehicle Safety Training by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The app features a wide range of helpful tips and procedures that can make the difference between cutting the right wire, or the wrong wire. According to the NFPA website, nfpa.org, the app introduces you to the different types of hybrid and electric vehicles, the basic concepts and systems. It also covers identification methods, immobilization processes, disabling and extrication operations. The app also goes over fires, submersions, charging station incidents and high voltage battery damage.

According to Kathrein, there were 15 people in attendance. Three of those attendees came up from the Reeder Fire Department.

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