Wyoming Fire Academy buzzing with vehicle extrication training this weekend

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Fire Academy in Riverton is a busy place this weekend with a three-day, 24 hour-long, vehicle extrication class under way. Representatives from 13 different fire departments around the state are attending. The attendees include both full-time and volunteer firefighters, who each are called on to deal with the same challenges.

A driver texting while driving slammed into a tanker truck. Just one of many scenarios to be practiced Saturday. (Ernie Over photo)

A driver texting while driving slammed into a tanker truck. Just one of many scenarios to be practiced Saturday. (Ernie Over photo)

On Friday, while the participants were in an all-day classroom session, Riverton and Lander firefighters and Fire Academy staff were organizing 33 vehicles, mostly passenger cars, into various crash scenarios where passenger rescues could be practiced. The scenarios included two vehicles who crashed under a tanker truck while their drivers were texting, a vehicle that slammed into the fifth wheel of a refrigerated trailer unit and was trapped underneath, a power pole and transformer that crashed on top of a vehicle with electric wires strung about, a car that rear-ended stopped underneath a large flatbed truck and various other pileups.

“This is realistic training, how to assess hazards at the scene, mitigate those hazards and remove the patients from the vehicles,” said Extrication Trainer Bob Glassen from the Wheatland Fire Department.

“We want to stress to all firefighters to be aware of the area before they rush in to rescue the victims,” said WFA’s Ken Metzler. “If it involves an electric line, we want the line to be de-energized first and make it safe.” Metzler had high praise for several local businesses who make the training possible. He said the vehicles being used were provided by Breck Skaggs at Federal Auto Recycling, that Stallion Oil Field had supplied a loader being used to organize the car bodies into the various scenarios, High Plains Power for providing a power pole, transformer and electric lines and the Fremont County and Riverton Fire Districts for providing equipment and fire trucks.

Assisting in the set-up was RFD Assistant Chief Scott Walters, School Coordinator and Lander Chief Eric Siwik, Glassen and Metzler.

Photos by Ernie Over. Click to enlarge: